The Sailor is a bronze sculpture standing 7 metres tall that has been overlooking the sea from San Vincenzo harbour since 2010. The only sculpture of that stature in a European port. Made by Giampaolo Talani according to the wishes of the town, it has become a symbol, much loved and visited, of the Val di Cornia and of the desire to look toward the future. This is its little story told by The Sailor himself.
The first smell was the sea. It entered my nostrils, subtle and bold, wrapping itself over my first wail and swallowed in my first breath of life; sticking itself solitary and viscous in my mind forever. This sea is unique in its coastal beauty that follows the water’s edge in broad reach and on the wind, as well as the reefs from Livorno to Grosseto, greeting Elba, and where San Vincenzo stands. The first colour was gold, but it was sand, golden sand and sand like gold. It stuck fast between my toes, on my chest, my back and then everywhere it was poured by the hot belly lying on the beach. The grains immediately perforated every pore of my skin, letting them all inside, breading my soul that had just come into the world with me. Forever. This sand, unique in its glittering colour and hot even in the absence of the sun, is a mysterious pack of vibrant light of an expert painter.
I was born not under a cabbage but under a blue and white striped parasol. I came from the sea, this sea. My father, a strong, edgy yet gentle crab, quickly stuck the umbrella there as shelter for the sudden labour pains of my mother, a pink starfish so delicate and pale, but in that moment her points were contorted and a fiery red with birthing pains. That’s how I was born, in San Vincenzo, between the water’s edge, the breakers and the wind that always blow here, lightly or so ruthlessly that it dries your eyes. The salt and the sun dilute your thoughts and expel them slowly as water from your ears, turning them into hopes for the future.
They call me “The sailor” because I survey the waves, which like endless jazz music, repeat over and over but never the same from this seaport and like life arrive at my feet. My heart isn’t made from bronze but from that first smell attached to my mind and from that first colour gripped to my soul. I have an unquenchable thirst for the future, for the beautiful foam that brings sand crabs and starfish. Yours, The Sailor of San Vincenzo.