#26 Linosa – Departure

What should I write about Linosa… Perhaps the most authentic one, the best to stand against mass tourism, welcoming tourists instead of robbing them in such an impersonal way as it happens in so many other places.

In Linosa it is difficult to arrive, you can’t find a more remote island in Italy. Therefore who comes here does it with total awareness and a fully open spirit, ready to discover an island that is not just beautiful landscapes or crystal-clear sea, but most of all unforgettable people.

And me, I met so many wonderful people in those that were supposed to be three days and eventually became eight because of Mistral. Everything started with Claudia, Giovanni and Francesca of Terraferma Diving, one of the best diving centers I’ve known, a diving center that is also the cultural center of Linosa – which is even more awesome considering that hardly ever in Italy diving rhymes with culture. A cultural center where welcoming is the first rule, and the second is sharing: the pillars of the Mediterranean spirit. I don’t know how to thank you guys, and by the way this is not the right place to do it.

The diving center is called Terraferma because the friendship among its members was born on the set of Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese’s film that was shot a handful of years ago right here in Linosa, a masterpiece. And who did I meet and interview? Of course Emanuele Crialese himself, a sweet man, full of poetry and sensitivity. It was a great privilege and a great source of inspiration to meet you, Emanuele. Thank you too for opening up and understanding it all straight away.

Then an amazing man and an impressive professional, Claudio Palmisano, a photographer who for six months a year lives here in a house he turned into a small photo studio. Among a thousand other things, Claudio studied a method to create underwater panoramic photographic compositions that render the grandiosity of Linosa underwater landscapes. In a world where post-production mostly takes away the picture from reality, in a quest for sensationalism, Claudio works in the opposite way: post-production serves to approach reality in the best possible way. And these seascapes are the obvious evidence. I beg you to take a look at them, following this link. Your sushi, your pizza, your fun, Claudio: unforgettable indeed…

Then there was Michele, who apart from kneading the bread for the only bakery every night, brought the cows back to Linosa with great passion. Here, 25 years ago, there were more than 500 cows; until stupid European laws, distant and careless of isolated and remote realities such as this, imposed their elimination. But Michele is trying again for personal use of course. Two anecdotes: cows eat cactus leaves, which here are used to delimit the land, and ricotta is made using sea water.

And finally Piero Zambuto, a sculptor who draws inspiration from the immense energy of Linosa, who also opened to us the doors of his world, made of research of the perfect shape, between female nude and poetry of stone and wood.

Now heading to Ortigia, first of the two atypical islands (the other one is Gallipoli), 150 miles away with the creepy silhouette of the least Mediterranean island, Malta, in between. But the spirit of Linosa will stay in my mind for so long still…


Posted on: 25.Jul.2018 Leave a comment

#11 Ischia – Departure

What should I say about Ischia… I leave bewitched by its people, its accent, its Bay of Cartaromana, its rough mountain and its agricultural land terracing still quite cultivated, mostly with grapes.

An incredible welcome it was, designed by the deus ex machina Luciana Morgera!
Thank you very much to Simone Verde for being the perfect guide with wisdom and kindness and for taking me through the traffic, alas, of the 70000 souls and 6 municipalities of the island.
To Nino from Ischia Corbaro Park, overflowing of energy and passion for its goats and guests who he cuddles with his delicious cuisine (to me he offered a couple of glasses of white wine and a goat ricotta tart at 10 in the morning!).
To the precious sisters Francesca Jantò Castagna and Martina Jantò Castagna, champions of reception and passion for Ischia from the top of the Paradise Relais Villa Jantò – Ischia, a true paradise created from the rubble of the 21st August, 2017 earthquake.
Thank you, Luciana Cervera, from the old and delicious Taverna Antonio Ischia, for the food, the wine, and the stories.
And then to the legendary, unreachable, unforgettable Cenzino Di Meglio (and to Laura, his future wife, who cooked me a proper and exquisite “Coniglio all’ischitana”), whose name is actually Pietro, whose good spirits with that campanian accent have bewitched me. And who moved me explaining me all about the Festa A Mare Negli Scogli Di Sant’anna, of which he is the artistic director. He is also the artistic director of the Teatro Polifunzionale Ischia, a reality deserving the deepest respect for the tenacity with which it was conceived and for the quality of the experimental projects that it carries on, necessary to defeat the talk/reality show shitty “culture” that sedate the youngest – and not only – generations. And thanks also to Enzo and Luigi from the theatre, who told me the details with so much light in their eyes.
And thanks very much to Francesco Buono from the Lega Navale Isola d’Ischia for the hospitality in the absurd and charming port of Ischia, a former volcanic lake suffering from high water like Venice, and for the chat inside a former wine bottling room.
Thank you too, one more time, Dario Della Vecchia for the most appreciated hospitality at Hotel Villa Maria*** – Ischia.
And finally Pasquale RaicaldoMiro Iacono and all those I’ve surely forgotten!

And now we turn the page, in this silent dawn, and the bow is pointed to Ventotene!


Posted on: 18.May.2018   Leave a comment