14 Apr Folco
“The first time I came to Corniglia was 16 years ago, I thought it looked like Asterix’s village. I gave my blues CD to the owner of the Pirun restaurant. I’d say he liked it, judging from these walls. From that day onward I kept coming back — I’ve played in this venue at least 200 times. And I’ve also played in the village on Santa Maria’s terrace overlooking the sea.
I wrote a piece about Corniglia, called Macaria, the opposite of Maccaja, which is the atmospheric phenomenon that, even for the Italian singer Paolo Conte, can happen only here in Liguria.
You know, I'm a metropolitan kind of guy. I was born and raised in Milan, I enjoy being anonymous and I'm addicted to disappearing into the crowd.
But the sense of community and the enhancement of personal identity that a place like this gives you is priceless. It’s what enables the creation of anecdotes and stories.
The stories of characters like Ettore Costa, the sculptor who lived in a shack outside the village, can just be set in places like these. One day he built himself a boat and sailed away. He said he was going towards the Pillars of Hercules and the whole village was on Santa Maria’s terrace to bid him farewell.
One of my best memories is also set on Santa Maria’s terrace. I was there with Pepe, it was an electrically charged day, much like today. On the horizon you could see the lightning storms approaching, it was the first time in my life that I had seen them and I was astonished. At one point Pepe looked at me and said:, “Hey, what’s up with your hair?” He said my hair would stand straight up and then fall again, depending on the lightning. I couldn’t see for myself because Pepe’s bald but I trusted his word. The first time I came to the Cinque Terre I went to Manarola. From Punta Bonfiglio, I could see this little village perched on the hilltop. “What’s that?” I asked my friend who was with me. “Oh, that’s my favorite village, my little secret,” he replied. We made it to Corniglia the next day. I was impressed with how people always greeted each other on the only lane in the village. Even if they met each other 4 times a day, they’d say hello each time. “Ciao Mario.” “Uè ciao Francè.”
It seemed like a wonderful form of human resistance.
At the beginning, nobody greeted me. Then I began to learn the names of people and to greet them by nickname or first name. They looked at me strange at first, but then — slowly — that’s how I was accepted by the community and how I began to be Folco for real, as perhaps from nowhere else in the world.
I’m a metropolitan kind of guy, but it’s only here that I truly feel at home.”