Sunday morning, sunny and blue: a new experience in Acitrezza through the streets of the village and life stories of the oldest Sicilian shipyard of axes masters
On a splendid winter’s day, the sun shines in Sicily as if it wanted to announce a new meeting, and so, we decide to go out for new discoveries by participating in a guided tour in one of the most famous fishing villages in Sicilian history: Acitrezza, famous for the achievements of the characters of “I Malavoglia” by Giovanni Verga.
To tell us the story of how Acitrezza has become what it is today, not only thanks to Padron ‘Ntoni but also thanks to Luchino Visconti who invested everything he had to complete the realization of the movie “La Terra Trema” – to mention some – is Grazia, an exceptional guide who manages to capture the attention of the onlookers, despite the fact that the group is really large.
Imagine listening to her while she tells the story of the small village: in front of you the sea, flat calm given the splendid spring day, and the immense Faraglioni, a small archipelago born from the intense volcanic activity about half a million years ago; some fishermen returning from their tour started at dawn in the hope of returning home with some good fish to cook for Sunday lunch.
Walking through the streets of Acitrezza, we arrive at the Bastioncello, an ancient fortress that guarded the body of water in front of the Faraglioni, unknown to many but which can still be found today by walking through the streets of the town.
Continuing the walk, we come across the Casa del Nespolo, a museum dedicated to the memory of the novel I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga. And while our guide continues to delight us with her story, our attention is diverted by a group of elderly people from the village, who around a table at the foot of the stairs, delights in playing Briscola, as if nothing else around them existed.
But we continue to wander and returning to the shipyard, the starting point of the guided tour, we are given a great opportunity, to get to know a well-known pincisanti, a name used to identify those involved in the decoration of boats, making them full of traditions thanks to an alternation of symbols rich in sacred and profane.
The morning flows quickly and here we come to the last stage of the tour, the one most steeped in history and memory, thanks to the meeting with the Rodolico family, with Salvatore and his two sons, to make a long journey through the stories of – five generations and two hundred and ten years of history– as 81 years old Salvatore himself says, head of the family of the oldest shipyard of axes in Sicily, who with great passion has built over the years fishing boats and boats for every need.
Salvatore, accompanied in the story by his son Giovanni, penultimate master of the Rodolico family, talks about how, going through moments of joy but also of immense difficulty, they are still tied to their land and have decided to continue an ancient craft by becoming the spokesman for many generations who today have instead decided to give up. And it is also thanks to the work of many, above all of the associations and of all those who support the Rodolico family, that today the shipyard is having the opportunity to continue to exist thanks to the setting up of a small museum and the organization of guided tours for young and old, who are given the opportunity to experience the work of a lifetime through dedicated workshops.
The passion with which Salvatore tells his story is a succession of emotions that touch the heart! And there is a moment most of all that moves those present, including us. After weaving the praises of his sons, thanking them for following in his footsteps, he stops for a moment and with teary eyes says that all this would not have been possible if he had not had the woman he loves for over 60 years beside him.
Before leaving, fascinated by everything we have seen and by the story of the Rodolico family, let’s take a last look at the imposing Faraglioni, the calm sea, the Sunday strollers, listening to the noises all around and breathing in the healthy air of this splendid Sicilian morning.
Let’s go home with a heart full of emotions!
We are ready for a new experience … and you?