It’s not about me, but them. I’ve always lived here, penetrating the hills with my red blood, feeling the trees growing around me, and the birds flying nearby.
They are the men, the Sassetta natives of surly disposition, who built this stone gem as a nest on a spur of rock; they are people of the forest, well-suited for hunts and brutal in war, wild, crude.
I, however, am the Red Marble of Sassetta, and this is my story.
I am red.
Rose-hued, with hints of orange, off-white elements or grainy bits of grey, but red all the same. I cross these lands like a vein through which life flows, the undying essence of the Land. Water sources and springs hot and cool have always flown through me, restoring the health of residents; I’ve always watched men bleed, their blood the same color as me; I see them lighting fires for the coal pits, with their ashen faces and hands. I see little red lights dotting the forest, children playing, chickens, laughs and silences, bread baked in makeshift ovens, unsatisfying sleeps on beds of shrubs, patience, slow-burning fires, pungent smells, bluish smoke and, finally, coal: there I see them look at me with light-soaked eyes, as if they see in me their own sparks; there, I feel them excavate me, touching me lovingly or with vigorous force so that my cold, hard flesh will come alive. I, under their hands, will be transformed by ideas; by sculptors, artists from every part of the world.
This is, based on everything I’ve seen of them, what I love the most.
Sassetta is a land of saints and
warriors, of sacred and profane, of
the holy spirit and of blood.
Saint Roch stopped here with his dog; Santa Lorìca has been depicted in the October tapestries, prizes for the seasonal palii competitions; Saint Andrew is the church’s namesake. These saints are all part of the local history, yet they haven’t ever been idolized, because, as we know, Sassetta locals are baptized in the broth of dry chestnuts.
Enrico Lombardi wrote of Sassetta, “a true nest for birds of prey, lived in by men who’ve been marked by struggle and left even coarser by the place’s brutality, by the dense forests surrounding it and by the safety of their castle, a proud and bloodthirsty people.”
And I, despite the fact that I’m made of stone—or perhaps because of it—I am proud.
All stone and fog, with a heart of rock moistened by water and a coat of green trees. Beautiful.
No one arrives here by chance: people come to Sassetta by their own desire. I’ve been around here forever, and I know.
I’m here with my primitive look, grasped by the belly of the hills, and in my ornamental moments, I complement the buildings: I’m here giving a domestic element to the place, like a utensil, and I’m here in my most majestic form, which is art.
Among the small, scrambled houses, one after the other, you find me
everywhere: I am the woman that blooms from the tree; the seed that sprouds; I’m
the tree and the egg; I’m the night; I’m the dragon and the legend.
I am all of it here, variable and yet eternal, and I expect to be here thousands more years. Come see me.
But don’t do it by chance. Do it out of your own desire.