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Saturday 19 June 2021

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The Fisherman of Dreams: the memory of Giulianova's sailors in a book

Author of the content

By Dom Serafini

Despite his forensic successes, Marco Maria Ferrari feels first of all a sailor, secondly a painter and finally a lawyer. His passion for the sea comes from his father Pietro (Pierino), a teacher of Italian, Greek and Latin at the Liceo Classico in Teramo even before Marco learned to swim in the sea of ​​his native Giulianova, in Abruzzo.

            After about 63 years from the first excursions on the rocks of the port to collect mussels, the 70-year-old lawyer has decided to bring together his memories as an "honorary" sailor in an autobiographical-fictional book published by Edizioni Il Viandante di Pescara-Chieti and entitled "Il Pescatore of Dreams ”, an expression his father used when he talked to him about mythology.

            The 219-page book is illustrated by 42 photos of sailors taken in Giulianova from 1934 to 1940, plus a photo at the end of the book that portrays the author in his father's arms on the south pier (under construction) in 1955. sea ​​intersect with those of the kitchen and in particular of bread. At one point Marco writes, “If memory had a sense, it would be called olfaction”.

            A good part of the book is dedicated to fishing with "caliscendi", a local expression to indicate what in Italian are called "fishing scales", and south of Abruzzo the "trabocchi", that is nets tied to the corners of two branches of trees crossed and connected to a pole that makes them go down into the sea.

            But for the lawyer the caliscendi are not only memory, but also a current reality since for years he has been fighting against the bureaucracy to obtain permission to build one. "When everything seems ready, here comes the request of another body, in addition to the five already satisfied, requesting a new document ...", says Ferrari, who is well prepared to face any court, but in difficulty in front of the bureaucratic machine Italian.

            Among the many fishing tools, Ferrari also describes the "seine" (net pulled from the beach, now prohibited), the "lancette" (fishing boats with cutting sail - from trabaccolo in dialect - which allowed to sail against the wind) and the “lampare”, boats equipped with gas lamps (to attract blue fish).

            Among the various stories, the author also recalls how the fishermen rounded off their meager earnings by fishing, with caliscendi, the female eels of Comacchio (in transit from the river Po and directed to lay their eggs at the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean) , which during the journey were transformed into capitoni, sold during the Christmas period. “All this, unfortunately, has been over for years. The capitoni did not descend further south and the old caliscendi perched on the pier waited in vain for the step that had always represented the salvation of many fishing families ”, writes Ferrari.

            The author also explains why women always wore black: "Whenever [their men went] out to sea, they weren't sure to go home."

            The lawyer then points out that the memories are also pleasant and "still accompany me when I sail [with the sailboat] to Croatia, Greece and everywhere in the Mediterranean".

            A final note concerns the cover which, the author explains, “represents an old torn photo that slowly sinks into a clear sea… symbolizes the invisible thread that keeps us all connected with the memory of those who preceded us. Roberto [one of the characters in the book] says that his father Flaviano, a poor sailor who worked hard to support his family and also worked on Sundays, found time to build a special toy for his children. Two wooden boats colored like hands, with sails and he and his brother played with them on the beach envied by the other children, while Flaviano watched them and dreamed that one day they would become owners of a real hand. Poor men who lived a hard and dangerous life, unknown and forgotten, but their feelings are always alive and eternal because they participate in the essence of human nature ”.

Marco Maria Ferrari
In the photo taken in Giulianova, the author Marco Maria Ferrari (right) with the reviewer.

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