When I contacted Sarah, I thought to write an article related to some of the important artists that Livorno has produced in its history, especially writers and poets. In my e-mail I mentioned several important writers that unfortunately now are dead, and I attacked officially our local government because, in my personal opinion, it doesn’t do enough to keep alive the memory of these artists; letting also die the messages of their works.
After a long discussion with myself I decided to change the subject of my attack, because in Livorno there are even some young artists that deserve to be known and are completely abandoned by the same local government… in my opinion they are really heroes!
One of these young artists is the writer Giacomo Guantini, he is a Political Science graduate at the University of Pisa; during his experience as a student, he dedicated a lot of time to writing and painting, he had also a room in the typical building of Livorno called the Casini d’Ardenza in which many important painters have theirs ateliers. Giacomo wrote about his experience as a painter in his first book La Terza Strada (“The third street”). In addition to the activity as a painter he also wrote many stories and poems winning also some local writing competitions.
After the University he decided to open a wine-shop called “La Confraternita del Chianti” that is the Italian version of the title of the famous John Fante novel known as “The Brotherhood of the Grape”. In the meantime he continues to write also because his shop is not so crowded. He needed four years to realize his first book “La Terza Strada”, using a very curious language apparently chaotic and without a balanced syntax structure, he condenses many experiences of his life mixing reality and imagination. The result would deserve to be translated because it is full of descriptive capacity and fantastic visions. The second book is Elevatevi Tutti (“Raise all” in English) and is a very funny story about a missing man with many outlandish characters around him. The dialogues in this book are in the typical slang of Livornese people and the entire story is pervaded by the humour that every Livornese has innate inside. The third (and last for the moment) novel is entitled “Aldo, Una Vita Davvero” (“Aldo, a life really”) and is the biography of an important old Livornese painter (Aldo Mazzi), that Giacomo met during his experience in the Casini d’Ardenza. The story crosses the entire post-Second World War period, recounting the misery and the poverty of that period, but also underlining the Livornese genuineness, the simplicity of the people, always with irony that especially in this book achieves an unimaginable level. The story continues up to the present day always with the typical irreverent and bitter-sweet style of Giacomo Guantini. Unfortunately his books are not translated into English, but I personally think that they should be because Giacomo is a real talent that Livorno and in general all the publishing world should exploit. If these translations are never done, this is a reason more to learn Italian.
Giacomo Guantini's books are published by Edizioni Il Foglio