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Vissi d'Arte by Dantès

Full Photo Gallery Eng

Complete Photographic Exhibition - RESERVED environment - Forbidden to spread and share


Vissi d’Arte

80 photographs by Tuscan photographer Dantès
(Dante Luci)

Quality of Fine Art prints – black and white, large format, on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta 325 gsm paper mounted on 60×42 panels.

Exhibited for the first time in Lucca, at the San Micheletto complex from 2 to 26 March 2023, during the 12 days of the exhibition, it recorded the presence of 1,038 visitors as well as that of important personalities of art, culture and politics, and received unanimous acclaim from critics and the press.

The essence of the exhibition.

Borrowing from Maestro Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca” the title of one of his most beautiful arias, Dantès undertook a long and evocative black and white photographic journey in the province of Lucca, in search of arts and professions involving great people, Undisputed masters of their art.

It is their eyes and their gaze that leave their mark on the viewer, it is the frenzy of their hands – often deliberately immortalized in motion by the photographer’s camera – that dominates many of the shots, candid and light hands, as opposed to those experienced and sculpted by the time, but all united by the perfection of a gesture performed thousands of times.

And here the photographic reportage becomes an intimate and silent dialogue between the photographer and the Maestro, a black and white anthropological story from which one emerges emotionally enriched, so direct and engaging is it.

Dantès’ shots allow you to immerse yourself in real, authentic and detailed environments, to come face to face with stages and squares, laboratories and workshops, workshops and factories, fields and docks; all photographs taken strictly without the aid of flashes, supplementary lights, panels and assistants. Nude, alive, tangible photography.

Dantès once again demonstrates his ability to portray subjects and landscapes that have always been before our eyes, but showing them to us with a completely personal vision, as if they were a discovery from new points of view.

Words are not always able to tell, so it is the images that tell.
He claimed Henry Cartier Bresson that taking a photograph means aligning the head, eye and heart and that it must contain the humanity of the moment.
With this series of images Dantés expresses his desire to discover, the pleasure of telling stories, the desire to excite.
The di lui is a journey into a fascinating, enchanting world, that of artists and interpreters who create art, and of craftsmen who very often add an aesthetic value to their creations, a value that transcends their simple use.
When a craftsman goes beyond the simple creation of an object and creativity and vision take over his craft, the product of his work becomes a real work of art.
Also present in this exciting collection are farmers, breeders, fishermen who have made an art of cultivating the land, sheep farming and fishing.
In this narrative through images, the protagonists are women and men, with concentrated faces, participatory expressions, dynamic and appropriate postures and movements, hands with their fine and precise gestures that express passion, transport, dedication, enthusiasm with which they devote themselves to their businesses, some of which are in danger of disappearing.
Dantés silently introduced himself into theatres, workshops, laboratories immortalizing women and men who know how to create from nothing with care and attention and perhaps there is nothing in the world that can give greater satisfaction.
Care, attention, inspiration that we find in Dantés’ photographs, black and white images that enhance the essentiality, authenticity, truthfulness of the story.
Raffaele Domenici

Free entry

All the photos are accompanied by detailed captions on the photographed artist, his work and some curiosities.
It will also be possible to deepen the artistic-cultural information, free of charge, with your smartphone device, with the audio guide, which can be activated by reading the QR Code that accompanies each exhibited work.
The use of headphones is recommended so as not to disturb other visitors.

The Art of Dance
Frida Vanini – dancer – born in 1993

Frida is an all-round artist alternating painting, her great passion, with dance. The photo of her portrays her in the splendid setting of Villa Reale in Marlia (Lu) with the corps de ballet “Les Ethérés”:
The extreme impulse to want to convey and express feeling, story, spiritual evolution, has given life to this expression of dance with the help of suggestive, ethereal or colored lights, which crown and accompany the “journeys through time and space” of these dancers, who have the task not only of performing well-organized choreographies, but of making the air that surrounds them speak, of transmitting messages reaching people’s hearts, until they touch their souls.

The Art of Music
-Beatrice Venezi – Conductor – class of ’90
-StrOrchestra of Lucca

Beatrice Venezi is a conductor, pianist and composer from Lucca. She is one of the few women to conduct world-class orchestras and performers in theaters around the world. You graduated in piano in Siena in 2010, attending some masterclasses in piano interpretation and later in orchestral conducting at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan.

Rehearsals with the musical and cultural association – EstrOrchestra of Lucca for the symphonic opera concert of the charity evening in favor of the new Parkinson Lucca association on 18/06/2022.
It is the energy and passion of these young people that distinguish the group.

The Art of Music
Giuseppe Marino Bertolani – Composer born in 1939

Giuseppe Marino da Massarosa, has been a composer for a lifetime. He studied piano, clarinet and composition at the conservatory first in Lucca and then in Florence.
He writes classical music intended for duets, quartets, orchestras and bands in general. Some of his music has also been performed abroad. Giuseppe confided in me that in the 60s/70s, to make ends meet, he also wrote light music and dance pieces for the bands and musicians who performed in many clubs in Versilia.
The Art of Music
Fabio Piagentini – Luthier – born in ’78

Fabio Piagentini is a luthier with an artisan workshop within the walls of the city of Lucca, in the historic center. He has been carrying out this profession since the beginning of the new millennium, after having attended the international school for luthiers in Cremona.
From his hands come out violas, cellos and above all violins.
For his precious instruments he personally chooses the raw material (spruce from Val di Fiemme and maple from the Balkans)
The making of a violin takes about a month and a half of work, a viola or a cello even three months.
The Art of Music
Enrico Barsanti – Organ builder – class of ’81

Enrico is an organ builder from Bagni di Lucca, i.e. a repairer and tuner of these splendid instruments. Graduated from the conservatory in organ and composition, for about ten years he has been touring Italy but also abroad to repair and tune the most prestigious organs. In the photos, the monumental organ dating back to the year 1602, located in the Pieve di S. Michele di Corsanico. This wonderful instrument destined for the Church of San Francesco in Lucca cost 380 gold scudi at the time (comparing the value of the gold to the current valuation, it cost about 42,000 Euros). Subsequently, it was then purchased at a public auction by the town of Corsanico in 1885 and paid only 1,015 lire. As one would say “a good deal”.
Mazzei Mario – Piano tuner
class of ’51

Mario has been a piano tuner and restorer in Lucca since 1978. He had the honor of bringing back to life a “melodic piano with needles-Racca” that belonged to Giovanni Pascoli and was listened to with these by the great Maestro Giacomo Puccini. This instrument is still kept in the Pascoli museum in Castelvecchio (Barga). Its restoration took about a year of work.
Mario’s workshop, as well as his house, is a mine of self-constructed wonders. The photo portrays him wrapped in the “hammers” of the pianos that he himself creates, perfects and uses for repairs.

The Art of Music
Luciano Filippi – In Art Gildo dei Fantardi
Storytellers – class of ’47

Treccani and Wikipedia have also dedicated a quote to Gildo. We are talking about Gildo dei Fantardi, aka Luciano Filippi, who in 2022 celebrated his fifty-five year career.
Storyteller, minstrel, songwriter and actor from Lucca, he has been on the scene since 1967, when he began to interpret popular songs, accompanied on the accordion by Gaetano Craparo. Then a lot of cabaret, participation in television and radio broadcasts, some small parts in various films and much more.

The Art of Music
Alessio Grilli – Repairer of wind instruments
class of ’79

Alessio is a wind and brass instrument repairer with an artisan workshop in Capezzano. After a diploma from the Lucca Conservatory and a glorious past as a trumpeter, where he boasts collaborations with musicians and bands of national importance, since 2005, after attending a specific training school in Udine, he has dedicated himself completely to the repair of these instruments. The repair of instruments such as those in the photos usually requires about four or five hours of work, but obviously it all depends on the type of intervention required.
Alessio recalls that the repair of a “bass tuba” required about twenty hours of work.
The Art of the Beard
Andrea Cottone – Barber – class of ’89

After an apprenticeship in Italy and abroad, for about ten years, Andrea has been practicing in Lucca with one of the most established and characteristic barbershops in Tuscany:
BisB, The barber is back.
The hair and beard cutting techniques and the mastery in sharpening the ancient razors on natural stones are two of the craftsmanship in the hands of Andrea who uses only fixed blade razors forged by master craftsmen in the 1800s and 1900s. Furthermore, the razor is chosen based on the client’s beard and skin. These are the conditions for performing a tailored shave.
The Art of Tailoring
Vittoriano Bertozzi – Tailor – class of ’33

“Il Bertozzi”, as his friends call him, has been a tailor since 1955 in Lucca.
He learns the trade at the Istituto degli Artigianelli in Lucca. A difficult childhood but a lot of determination, until he became a good and successful tailor with a high-class clientele.
He initially opened a tailor’s shop in the central Via Fillungo of Lucca and then moved, from 1988, to the San Concordio district.
The sympathy and elegance of this man, but above all the story of his childhood, conquered me going straight to the heart.
A gentleman from another era!
The Art of Leather
Jenny Giusti born in 1976 and Alessandro Capone born in 1978 – Leather goods

Ale and Jenny have turned a passion into an art.
With their artisan workshop in the historic center of Lucca, they create high-quality footwear and leather goods for both local and non-regional and even foreign customers.
Alessandro, after a past as a model and finalist in one of the first editions of “Big Brother”, taking advantage of what he learned from a friend and partner in the creation of orthopedic shoes (where precision and quality must be absolute), set up on his own, designing and creating a new line of unique and extraordinary quality fashionable footwear.
The Art of the Hat
Tiziana Micheli – Hatter – born in 1972

He has been doing this job for about twenty-eight years, at the “Mida” hat factory in Ponte a Moriano (Lucca) owned by the father of another partner.
The production of hats and caps is artisanal and they are exported all over Europe. The raw material, cotton, linen, hemp and wool comes almost entirely from Prato, the famous Tuscan city of textiles.
They recently launched a new line of hats made from burlap sacks that originally contained coffee from Brazil. The curious situation was that during the transformation of the sack into a hat, a few coffee beans could still be found trapped in some hidden corner.
The Art of Time
Francesco Marsili – Watchmaker – class of ’55

Known by everyone in Lucca as “Lancetta”, he is an old-fashioned watchmaker with a shop in the historic center, in the glamorous Via Fillungo.
He learned the trade in 1967, at the age of only twelve, starting to frequent the workshops of Lucca’s master watchmakers.
He knows every detail of every watch he is shown, from the oldest to the most modern: he is a mine of information.
Repairing an ancient and precious ceramic watch, like the one in the photo, can also require several days of work.
The Art of Silverware
Angelo Ramacciotti – Silversmith – born in 1972

Angelo Ramacciotti is a silversmith with a workshop at the foot of the cathedral of San Martino in Lucca.
The workshop has existed since 1791. Angelo has been learning and practicing this ancient and precious art since the beginning of the new millennium with his uncles Nello and Cesare Giovacchini from Lucca. The extraordinary thing about these craftsmen is that on many occasions they directly design the commissioned work, creating designs and models from scratch.
The creation of three particular silver ampoules, intended to contain the holy oils, required a work of about six months.
The Art of Fusion
Giovanna Bianucci – Trainer – born in 1956

The art of molding is a natural aid to the work of sculptors, but also of foundries, potters and marble workshops. Giovanna, who is the most appreciated interpreter of it in Pietrasanta, trained both as a sculptor and as a collaborator in other marble laboratories in the area. After a long collaboration, from 1978 to 1996, with the sculptor Roberta Giovannini and after an experience in Singapore for the restoration of the historical monuments of the French government of the “Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus”, he currently collaborates with the Versiliese Artistic Foundry of Pietrasanta , (where I photographed it).
You have participated in many solo sculpture exhibitions.
The Art of Fusion
Adolfo Agolini – Foundry modeller – born in 1952

The town of Pietrasanta (Lu) is considered “Little Athens” following the concentration of foundries and marble laboratories that produce the works of many international artists and where the watchword is still manual skill today. Adolfo is the owner of the Mariani foundry, where he has been making crafts for over sixty-five years, from the idea to the shape, from production to conservation. In the photos, the assembly of a statue by Fernando Botero.
The foundry collaborates with artists of the caliber of: Fernando Botero, Gustavo Aceves, Giuliano Vangi, Kirsten Ortwed, Bjoern Noergaard, Karen La Monte, Dashi Namdakov, Milo Manara, Igor Mitoraj, Daphne Dubarry, Peter Brandes etc
The Art of Sculpture
Francesco Federici class of ’40

Angelo Federici born in 1966 – Sculptors of marble
If Pietrasanta is also called “The Little Athens” the reason must be sought in artists and craftsmen such as Francesco and his son Angelo.
Angelo has been practicing this trade since 1982 while his father since 1956.
Their workshop is one of the few where chisel, mallet and file are still used. A job like the one in the photo requires about 4 four months of work with about seven hundred dedicated hours.
The raw material is Carrara, Seravezza and Vagli (Lu) marble; the latter is distinguished from the others by a greater hardness and a more intense white. The clientele is national and international, mostly in the United States.
The Mosaic Art
Chiara Santillo – Mosaicist – born in 1978

Chiara has been working for over fifteen years at “Poli Mosaici”, one of the most appreciated mosaic artists in Italy and Tuscany and precisely in the art city of Pietrasanta. The mosaic of the photo, which is only a part of the definitive one, intended for the “Saint Paul Greek Orthodox Church” of Irvine in California. When completed it will measure 8×3 metres.
A special feature:
The pieces of the mosaics which are vitreous enamels, coming from the Venetian furnaces, are pre-assembled on the tables, subsequently joined in a special room that allows an overview. At the end they are again broken down into fractions, placed in special crates and shipped across the ocean, where the staff of the artistic workshop that made them will be waiting for them, for the final assembly in the chosen place.
The Art of Painting
Giampaolo Bianchi – Painter – born in 1947

Self-taught painter from Lucca, Giampaolo, to this day, has dedicated sixty-one years of his life to painting. He is known and appreciated both in Italy and abroad, with exhibitions in France, Spain, Asia, Bahrain, United States, etc. He has created works for prestigious exhibitions and galleries, contributing to writing important pages of Italian and Tuscan art in particular.
He met and shared cultural exchanges with painters such as Gottuso, Vespignani, Cantatore, Cassinari, Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni and, at the Contini Gallery in Venice, he exhibited with Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalì.
In 1980 he created the First Plate Limoges of
The Art of Comics
Simone Bianchi – Cartoonist and illustrator born in 1972

After attending art school and later the academy of fine arts, Simone has been dedicating himself for about thirty-five years to his great passion, illustration and painting, also boasting a past as an art teacher.
He is internationally known for his work in American comics. Master of contemporary Comic Art, he stands out for his rich and detailed pictorial style. In the United States he collaborated first with DC Comics and then exclusively with Marvel for more than a decade, creating several books and covers of famous titles, including Wolverine, X-Men, Thor, Thanos, Spider Man and Star Wars. He currently collaborates with Netflix.
The Art of Comics
David Bigotti – designer and cartoonist

class of ’76
Known as “Bigo”, David is a designer from Lucca. He attended the art school in Lucca and then graduated in industrial design at the Faculty of Architecture in Florence. He works as a designer of mega yachts for a shipyard in Viareggio, also carving out an important space for himself in the world of comics. “Il Bosone”, is his workhorse .. He has created posters for various events boasting participation also in the “Lucca Comics & Games”.

The Art of Photography
Lucio Ghilardi – Photographer – born in the 1960s

Lucio is considered a great photographer and historical memory of the city of Lucca. He inherits the business from his father Eugenio whom he has supported since 1982. His photographs, together with those of his father, have told over 90 years of life in Lucca, and some of him have become icons and symbols of the city itself all over the world. He has created extraordinary books, exhibitions and activities, showcasing not only great technical skills but also great sensitivity and availability towards others. His great passion for nature and animals in general led him to create, in 2018, a singular reportage: “The walls and its animals” offering a completely new glimpse of how many animals, next to us, live on the walls of Lucca.

The Art of Plaster
Simone Fiori – Figurine maker – class of ’76

He has been carrying out this profession in Bagni di Lucca since 1996, having inherited it from his father Pierangelo. But also grandfather Fedele and great-grandfather Carmelo had been figurine makers since 1879.
To be ready, painted and aged, a figurine is held in the hand forty to fifty times, on average.
A curiosity:
The first figurine makers who brought their products to America aroused much curiosity, especially among children who, seeing the colored nativity scene figurines, shouted to their mothers: “Mom looks”. The sellers, knowing little of the language, interpreted those words as “Mammalucco” referring to their profession. For this reason, this is also how the figurine makers of Bagni di Lucca are called.
The Art of Carnival
Marzia Etna – tank driver – class of ’60

Marzia has been involved in the Viareggio papier-mâché world since the mid-eighties, in what is considered, together with Venice, the most famous carnival in Italy.
One of the few women who works in the world of carnival, artistically the longest-lived of her, about thirty-six years of career with numerous prizes won.
So attached to this job that in 1995, she would never have dreamed of missing that edition of the carnival, despite being at the end of her pregnancy. In fact, on February 14th she gives birth to Matteo, practically in the middle of the Versilian carnival and he could not have been born under a better omen: he will be the creator of the themes that have inspired the floats made in recent years and which have obtained numerous awards and prizes.
The Art of Coal
Luigi Massei born in 1933 Arturo Massei born in 1963

Charcoal burners
Luigi began this work in Pescaglia, after the war, in the footsteps of his great-grandfather. Now he has taught it to his son Arturo and his nephew Fabio. In the full-page photo you can see the three charcoal kilns, in the three main phases:
preparation of the charcoal pit by arranging the wood;
covering the timber with grass and earth and subsequent kindling;
the “decarbonatura” when, having removed the earth, the coal is recovered.
This is one of the oldest trades that has characterized the history of the entire Serchio valley over the past centuries. In the past, coal was used to drive motors, make high-temperature fires for working iron, and also fueled home stoves for cooking.
The Art of Iron
Carlo Galgani – Blacksmith – class of ’38

Known as “the blacksmith of Codogna”, he is the last in a long line of blacksmiths that dates back to the 1500s. He learned and put into practice the trade practiced by his father and grandfather at the age of only eight. In his workshop everything is generated by the driving force of water: from the air that blows into the forges, to the electricity destined for the few lights that illuminate the environment, up to the hammers that generate their disruptive force, only thanks to complicated mechanisms created by himself.
The iron that Carlo works to make agricultural tools, knives and various accessories is mostly recycled from industry waste: car leaf springs, train track scraps, etc.
The Art of Farrier
Leonardo Masini – Blacksmith – class of ’87

Leonardo has been carrying out this activity for about ten years, after having attended the military farriery school in Grosseto. Every horse has its shoes, and identifying and fitting the right ones hot or cold requires a lot of experience and professionalism. This work involves a great physical effort, having to be bent over the legs of these wonderful animals for hours; moreover, he must recognize their moods, their gaits and their “perpendicularities” to create a shoe that takes into account the individual conformation of the animal.
In the photo Leonardo practices his profession in Tassignano, at a private equestrian center.
The Art of Sport
Roberto Lencioni – Bicycle repairman – class of ’59

Roberto Lencioni from Segromigno, known in the cycling chronicles as Carube, is one of the few great mechanics who have made the history of world cycling, a great technician capable even of recording, from the car window, the bikes running during a race. He is currently considered one of the world’s leading experts in vintage bikes, the so-called “Heroic Bikes”, with contacts from all over the world. He played in world-class teams and was a mechanic for great champions: Cipollini, Fondriest, Visentini, Martinelli, Maertens, Argentin, Gotti, Bertoglio, Vandi, Ballerini, Basso, Bitossi and many others, some of whom also won the championships of the world.
The Art of Weaving
Gino Mei – class of ’30 Pierluigi Mei – class of ’69 Corbellai

Gino is known by all as “the corbellaio di Ruota”. He learned the trade in the 1950s from a craftsman from nearby Buti (Pi) and then passed it on to his son Pierluigi who still supports him in this particular art of weaving. They make baskets for wood, for mushrooms, for guarding and for many other needs.
The wood used is chestnut that Gino and Pierluigi prepare through a complex process: The wood is left in water to obtain elasticity, then passed into a special oven where, due to the steam produced, greater workability is obtained and finally it is divided into thin sheets through a process called “schiappatura”.
From these plates we start the construction of the corbellum or the basket.
The Art of Weaving
Mei Gino – Corbellaio – born in the 1930s

Gino’s wonderful smile, especially appreciated in the photo with his faithful little dog Ivan, hides a little anecdote:
During the photographic shooting, while explaining to me the various steps of making the corbello, having arrived at the so-called “schiappatura”, that is, the subdivision of the wood into sheets and plates, he points to his mouth and points out his incisors, worn by scaling and in an anomalous way, to then explain to me that this was due to the fact that many years ago, as there was not yet a specific tool for this job, the splitting of the chestnut laminates was done with the mouth, using precisely those teeth.
The Art of Weaving
Roberto Forgiarini – born in 1943 – Impagliatore

Roberto has been making straw chairs in Guamo, with extraordinary skill, since 1978, after a past as a carpenter and after having learned the technique from an elderly lady from a nearby province.
To upholster a chair, like the one in the photo, Roberto takes about three to four hours and uses a particular type of straw from the Fucecchio Marshes (Fi), called “Sarello”
His workshop is a concentration of marvels; hung on the walls are information useful for his work, memories of the past, newspaper articles, which he particularly cares about, but above all tools and utensils for his work. Photographing her was like stepping into the past.
The Art of the Earth
Bertolini House – Giuncugnano – 2022

In the upper Garfagnana it is not difficult to find corn to dry in the warm autumn sun. We are in the municipality of Giuncugnano, located at an altitude of 880 meters above sea level, it is the highest in the province of Lucca. Its territory is characterized by large chestnut woods and wide valleys used both for grazing livestock and for small crops of maize and spelled. In the photo, the view of the ridge of the Apuan Alps, a mountain range located in north-western Tuscany, photographed from the terrace of the home of Bertolini Marino and Lunardi Silvana where, the latter told me, it is common to find wheat, corn , walnuts, chestnuts and other products of the earth, exactly as it has been done for many generations.
The Art of the Earth
Bertolini Renato – Farmer – born in 1945

The cousins Delma and Renato from the age of seven, following in the footsteps of their ancestors, are attentive connoisseurs of the land they cultivate and have inhabited for a lifetime. We are in Magliano in the municipality of Sillano Giuncugnano (Lu) in the upper Garfagnana where spelled is an institution.
Garfagnana spelled (organic by nature) is produced by the local population and is grown on small plots, in an altitude range between 300 and 1,000 m. above sea level, without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides: given the high rusticity of the plant, traditionally cultivated, it is in fact an organic product as it is not attacked by parasites.
In the upper Garfagnana it is not difficult to find corn to dry on the terraces, in the warm autumn sun. We are at the home of Bertolini Marino and Lunardi Silvana.
The Art of the Earth
Delma Danti – Peasant – born in ’33

Delma has been a farmer from an early age. We are in Magliano in the municipality of Sillano Giuncugnano (Lu) in the upper Garfagnana where spelled is an institution.
The threshing of spelled is done with special machines, but in small, less accessible corners, the hand of man is still required.
In the photo, a small field of about 5,000 square meters will yield about 6/7 quintals of fine spelled from Garfagnana.
On the day of the photographic shooting, I collected the sad testimony of a farmer whose wild boars completely devoured the crop of an entire field of spelled in just one night.

L’Arte della Terra
Meri Pieri – Contadina – classe ’37

Meri, conosciuta a Barga (Lu) come “Meri dei Troni” è una donna straordinaria: dinamica, forte, allegra, disponibile, innamorata della sua terra e dei suoi animali ottenendo in cambio di tanta devozione, i lori preziosi frutti.
Fa la contadina sin dalla tenera età e si sposa a 17 anni.  
Si alza alle prime luci dell’alba e con la sua “Ape”, dopo averla caricata all’inverosimile di balle di fieno, raggiunge la terra che possiede da una vita e dove vi coltiva farro, uva, noci, castagne, fieno per i sui animali, ortaggi dell’orto e quant’altro la terra può offrire.
The Art of the Earth
Maria Maffei – Tray maker – born in 1929

A life spent in Pariana “traying” the chestnuts after beating and before grinding which consists, in short, of eliminating the “ventulacchio” and all the other impurities with surprising skill, with strokes and twists of the “tray”.
She started doing it when she was only thirteen years old. Skill passed down from mother to daughter for generations. At the time, this work was considered purely feminine for the simple reason that, as already mentioned, patience and a lot of skill were needed to do it.
Maria, in an hour, was able to clean 50 kg of chestnuts. The pay in the 1970s was 1,000 lire a day. She continued this work until the end of the 90s.
A curiosity:
Maria, in addition to the chestnuts, which was a seasonal job, carried with a special basket positioned on her head and which weighed up to 50 kg, the straw from the fields of Pariana to the Cartapaglia paper mills of Villa Basilica which were located in the valley 5 Km. Like her there were many other women who did this hard and heavy work.
The paper mills paid these women 1 lira for every kilogram of straw, and they managed to make a maximum of three trips in a working day.
The Art of the Earth
Udilio Cordoni – Miller – born in 1945

Known by all as “Udilio the miller”, he mainly grinds chestnuts from his forests, as did his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was born in his mill: the “Mill of cold Pariana”, whose driving force, to turn the millstones, is still fed by that of water. With satisfaction, Udilio recounts that the millstone that he still uses for the chestnut flour, made of a particular stone, has a long history of exchanges, favors and barters and dates back as far as the 1700s. The production of the flour is the classic one with the drying of the chestnuts in the metato, with their cleaning through the classic “trays” and with the milling using stone millstones.
The Art of Bread
Michela Panzani born in 1978 Alessandra Panzani born in 1975 Panettieri

Longoio is a small fraction of the municipality of Bagni di Lucca. Eighty-one souls, fresh air and above all good bread, that of the sisters Michela and Alessandra who in 2017, after losing their jobs, got involved, taking over the oven and initially supporting the old baker.
The production, as you can see from the photos, is totally handmade, with strictly wood cooking. When everyone is asleep, they work and at the first light of dawn, with their van, they deliver bread and focaccia to restaurants, shops and markets in the area. Only then do you go to sleep.
The Art of Buccellato
Marino Taddeucci – Pastry chef – born in 1984

The ancient Taddeucci pastry shop in Lucca is a real institution. Founded by Iacopo Taddeucci in 1881, with Marino we are in the fifth generation of pastry chefs who have handed down the original recipe of the typical Lucca sweet, the “buccellato”, where the mother yeast has been kept alive for 137 years, passing from father to son and obtaining numerous awards, the most particular was that of the famous gastronome and critic of the New York Times, Mimi Sheraton, who included it in the book, “1000 foods to eat before you die”
Marino is also known as “Il bomber del buccellato” for having played as a footballer for several years, in the local professional team.
The Art of the Tordello
Monica Chiostri – puff pastry – born in 1982

Sfoglina is historically seen as the woman who, using a rolling pin and a pastry board, “rolls out the dough” rigorously by hand. Monica is one of them. With surprising skill and mastery, she makes the wonderful “Tordelli lucchesi” every morning, rigorously handmade, and served at the ancient restaurant in Lucca “La buca di S.Antonio” where she works and where she learned the trade.
The Art of the Tordello
Giuliano Pacini – Chef – born in 1942

Giuliano is the chef and co-owner with Franco Barbieri of the characteristic and ancient restaurant La Buca di S.Antonio, in the historic center of Lucca. He has been doing this job since the age of 11, where he alternated school with cooking, being able above all to count on the teaching of qualified Tuscan chefs and cooks including Mario Tartaglino, chef of Maestro Giacomo Puccini.
A curiosity:
Giuliano told me that the tordello from Lucca, now a dish with strictly quality products, such as meat, eggs, bread and spices, was actually born with not very noble cuts of meat, but above all leftovers that the peasants of Lucca had in their houses, so as not to waste anything.

The Art of Tobacco – Le Cigararia of Lucca
Valentina Pieraccini born in ’84
Erika Capocchi born in 1978
Maila Casali born in 1973

Valentina, Erika and Maila are three of the forty “cigarette makers” of the tobacco factory in Lucca, who are entrusted with the production and packaging of the highest-end Tuscan cigars such as the Original Toscano, the Selected Original Toscano, the Presidente, the Millenium and the Moro. For the latter, the most valuable of the Lucca production, a non-precut half leaf of American Kentucky is used.

Today, as in the past, the skill of the cigar maker lies in choosing the right amount of filling and in rolling the cigar with skill: if there were still air in the band or if the filling were in excess, the cigar would not roll.

The Art of Weaving – The Weavers of Castelnuovo
Sabrina Albergoni born in ’96
Angela Verdigi born in 1967

Angela and Sabrina are two of the many women who work on the loom, at the Antica Valserchio in Castelnuovo Garfagnana, with particular techniques recovered from the ancient textile art typical of the Lucca area. Skilled artisan hands, similar to those of a harp player, skilfully work on the loom to create each garment impeccably with extreme attention to detail. The company represents one of the spearheads in the Italian artisan panorama and an example for the international high fashion system. Different ranges of orthogonal fabrics are produced with 4 different weaving technologies: hand, shuttle, heald and jacquard, all intended for the person and the home of the luxury market on the international scene.

The Art of Wine
Gino Carmignani “Fuso” – Viticulturist
class of ’48

Gino is a character! His harvest is pure poetry, like his wine and the farmhouse he manages, located among the rows of his vineyard.
If he were a painter he would be a “Visionary” because he has his own personal and original interpretation of viticulture that goes beyond any scheme. “Slowfood” defines his way of interpreting it as “one of the most sincere and suggestive visions of the wine world that can happen to meet these days”.
Gino is rooted in the Montecarlo area as much as viticulture.

The Art of the Earth
Olive growers of Compitese – Oct.2021

The province of Lucca, already in ancient times, was rich in olive groves, the toponymy confirms this, there are places whose name has a clear reference to the olive tree, such as “Ulettori” on the hill of Pieve a Elici, “Ulivella” near Camaiore, “Oliveto” near Arliano, “Olivetecci” near Varno. The olive groves were grown on stepped knolls torn from the hill, as in the photo: immersed in the typical Tuscan landscape, among the classic cypress trees of Castelvecchio di Compito, in the Capannori area, on the slopes of Monte Serra.
The olive tree and oil have always represented not only an economic support but also a lifestyle and social customs, especially in Lucca.
The oil produced in the province of Lucca is among the best and most appreciated in the world.

The Art of the Camellia
Walter Pacchini – gardener – class of ’69

Walter is the gardener and keeper of the wonderful “Camellietum” of the Borgo delle Camelie di Pieve di Compito, in the Capannori area which houses all the cultivars that made the history of the Camellias in 19th century Tuscany: around 1000 specimens. Managed and cared for by the cultural center of Compitese, which also makes use of scientific operators and botanists, in 2016 it obtained the prestigious recognition of “International Camellia Garden Of Excellence”. In Italy this recognition has been attributed to only 2 gardens and in the world they can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
A curiosity:
His trusted assistant “Lettuce” is a mestizo foundling, found abandoned in 2020 in a box, along with 2 other little sisters. Everyone has found a name and a home but Lettuce has found, in addition to the love of Walter and the boys from the cultural center, a wonderful flower garden.
To stay on the subject of her, her two sisters have been called Rucola and Chard

The Art of the Camellia – The Tea
Sachiko Chino and the Camellia tea ritual

Sachiko was born in Nagano, Japan to a family with deep ties to traditional Japanese culture. She currently lives in Tuscany and has often been a guest of many cultural events including, one of the most important, the camellia festival in the Capannorese. The photo of her portrays her in the noble art of the “ritual of Camellia Tea”, in the garden of the Camellias of Compitese. The grace of the gestures made for the preparation of the drink, obtained with camellia leaves, is an extraordinary event that enchants the public, creating a relaxing but at the same time intense atmosphere.

The Art of Beekeeping
Giulio Mancini – Beekeeper – class of ’45

Giulio has been passionately carrying out this activity for over 50 years and has always considered bees to be the most precious asset for man and for humanity, establishing a relationship based on trust and love, managing to inspect the hives, almost always without the use of protections, limiting the use of smoke, to calm them down, to the essentials. The hives of him are placed in pristine fields, far from sources of pollution and if these are in excellent health they will consequently bring well-being for us, for nature and for the environment. Giulio has understood this for years.
A curiosity:
During filming Giulio made me wear light clothes because dark colors are seen by bees as a threat and while I was taking pictures, he made me move away because there was a very angry bee and this he had deduced from the type of buzz that this produced, a much higher frequency than the sisters. He then explained to me that in 50 years he is able to perceive all the moods of his hives and understand when he has to wear the protections and when he can do without them.

The Art of Shepherding
Giorgi Sauro – Shepherd – born in 1954

Sauro, from Castelvecchio di Compito, has been a shepherd since the age of six. In the summer he gets up at 5.00, milks and at 7.30 he takes the flocks to pasture and then brings them back to the fold at 21.00 for the second milking. He never dines before 11pm.
When I asked Sauro if his father and possibly his grandfather also did this job, Sauro replied with a shy smile:
“I don’t have the proof, but in my family it is said that most likely one of the shepherds who honored the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem was a Giorgi, my ancestor”.
Recently his flocks were attacked by a pack of wolves who killed twelve heads. Since 2018, the raids have begun in the Castelvecchio marshes and Sauro has suffered as many as seve
The Art of Shepherding
Ivonne Pellegrini – Breeder – born in ’68

Ivonne, together with her husband, runs a farm/dairy in Piazza al Serchio in the upper Garfagnana. They own about forty cows that see them busy throughout the day, first in milking, then in the daily production of ricotta, cheese, mozzarella and various derivatives destined for agricultural markets and shops selling typical local products.
Milking usually takes place mechanically, but it may happen that in order to deal with some technical inconvenience it is also necessary to proceed by hand. Ivonne is also very good at this of her and Priscilla (her cow) seems to like the delicate touch of her hands.

The Art of Shepherding
Ilie Abucurii – Farmer – born in ’84

Ilie is a farmer and shepherd of Romanian origin who moved to the upper Garfagnana with his family for agriculture and pastoral work.
In the photo he looks after three weeks old kids who cannot be breastfed by their mother due to lack of milk.
The goats are called Sun, (the one with the spots) and Moon.
The mother who never loses sight of them is called Vanilla.
A curiosity:
Vanilla the mother, aware of the problems related to breastfeeding, has always frowned upon Ilie’s presence so much so that sometimes it is she who looks for him.

The Art of Shepherding
Ilie Abucurii – Farmer – born in ’84

Ilie is a farmer and shepherd of Romanian origin who moved to the upper Garfagnana with his family for agriculture and pastoral work.
In the photo he looks after three weeks old kids who cannot be breastfed by their mother due to lack of milk.
The goats are called Sun, (the one with the spots) and Moon.
The mother who never loses sight of them is called Vanilla.
A curiosity:
Vanilla the mother, aware of the problems related to breastfeeding, has always frowned upon Ilie’s presence so much so that sometimes it is she who looks for him.
The Art of Fishing
Joseph Seck – Fisherman – class of ’79
Joseph comes from Senegal. He is a regular and contract fisherman, embarked on a fishing vessel in the port of Viareggio.
He has been doing this job here in Italy for about five years, together with his other compatriots. For them he is not a work stopgap; Joseph, as well as the others, were born fishermen on the splendid Senegalese coasts overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, in front of the Cape Verde Islands. On Saturday mornings, when he isn’t fishing, they dedicate him to manually repairing the nets.
He told me that in Senegal the fishing sector is in a very strong crisis following the fishing practices used by Chinese and European boats, which fish there on the basis of the agreement in force between Brussels and Dakar. For many young people, immigration to Europe is the only alternative for a dignified life.