A simple gesture of a girl with a gentle soul was all that was needed. Anna was a sweet, ten-year-old girl. That morning she heard the words she’s never wanted to hear. “Dearest, there’s no alternative. We’ll have to move to your sister’s in Florida.” “I don’t want to leave!” thought Anna, upset. She ran out of the house, crying, and ended up in Piazza della Chiesa. Every night, before going to sleep, her dad told her the story of the bird in the piazza: for the locals of Santa Maria whoever touched it would come home again. All the bird needed to feel was the touch of Anna’s lovely fingers who, jumping as high as she could, barely managed to reach the bas relief, begging him, “Please help me. Mummy and Daddy want to go to America! Let me come back here to my friends!” The bird immediately took flight. “At last! It was time someone decided to make a proper wish. Walled up in Santa Maria a Monte for 1,500 years! Now it’s my turn to travel. Anna, don't be sad. Enjoy America!”
Not once during his flight did he turn around to say goodbye to that village that had created him, so certain was he about his decision. Paris, he decided. He visited the Eiffel Tower and met the sweetest of doves on the pyramid of the Louvre! But on the eye of his third year, he was taken over by a sort of restlessness that made him resemble a bee – flying from one flower to another. The more he wanted to forget it, the more he remembered it: S. Maria a Monte! He remembered when, back in the Middle Ages, founded as a feud of the bishops of Lucca, it was one of the most secure castles in Tuscany, equipped as it was with three walls and a spiral plan. He thought about when the place had been saved by the tunnels that, forming an actual underground city, allowed the townsfolk to act against their enemies. Or the melodies that Vincenzo Galilei, Galileo’s father, played on his lute around the narrow streets. “I even heard Giosuè voice his odes!” he thought, referring to the three years in which poet Carducci lived in S. Maria a Monte. How many changes he’d seen: the Carducci house, which had become a museum, had held the exhibition Tender Giant, which Antonio Possenti had painted, inspired by the poet’s sonnets. The Fortress, the highest point in town, had been converted into an Archeological Park, with the Town Museum next door: 2,000 years of history including Etruscan relics, remains of the old church and pieces of Florentine fortress building.
He decided to be strong and began to beat his wings energetically toward S. Maria a Monte. “There’s home!” he exclaimed as soon as he saw it, drapped across the hill. “Curled up like a cat on a sofa!” As he drew close he couldn’t believe his eyes. “Anna!” he cried. He’d recognised her immediately. Now she was grown up, carrying a basket of flowers on her head. “The Procession of the Basket in honour of the patron saint, Blessed Diana!” It was Easter Monday! His heart brimming with joy, a tear dropped onto Anna’s face.