“When I was a kid from time to time they would tell me, ‘Guido, run down to the cellar and get the yellow stuff on the shelf.’ I’d run up and down the stairs to the cellar a few times getting all of the different components to build bombs. Then we’d go to Santa Maria’s terrace where we’d look down to see the schools of sea bream or mullet, and then we’d launch the bomb. 

Everything was about calculating the right fuse length, if it was too short you would kill the seagulls instead of fish and if it was too long it wouldn’t explode at all.

Sometimes we’d catch a half a ton of fish at a time.
In my family we only eat what we produce. 

I fish and farm. I have a small fishing boat in Manarola, a fiberglass gozzo that’s 5 meters long. From October to March, I fish. I have a Japanese trammel net and I focus on a kind of fishing that the bigger boats can’t do, in places that are inaccessible for them. I specialize in bream, mullet, rhombus and cuttlefish. I fish for my own personal consumption and if it ends up being anything more than that I sell it to families in Manarola. Whenever I have extra fish I send a message to a WhatsApp group and then it’s “first come, first served.” I know there are likely more productive tools that I could use, but I’m not the technological type and I don’t want to steal time from my activities to be stuck in front of my cell phone. 

I started as a poacher, just like everyone else here, before the national park opened. Now I sell grapes and I produce a large amount of vegetables. In the evenings I’m tired, but I feel I shouldn’t be — today’s life is much less exhausting than that of a few generations ago. Take Guarino, for example. Every day he drove tons of pine logs up and down from San Bernardino to the train station. “How much do you earn?” I asked him one day. He started laughing, “Earn? I eat, that’s what I earn. The daily meal.” He died at 82 and this place hasn’t been the same since.

Today I have five acres of land. Ask around here in the Cinque Terre, nobody has that much land. Over time, I’ve automated as much as possible. My son is a farmer and in recent years he has contributed a lot. My dream is to open a transformation point for our products. The goal isn’t making money, it’s giving meaning to what we do and sense to our daily tiredness, which is nothing compared to what it used to be.

Sometimes when I'm tired I sit on a log, on the path to San Bernardino. And when I sit down I still can see Guarino.

Do you see this necklace? I had my jeweler friend make it in his memory.
Sometimes I cry on that log, I guess it’s because I’m too tired.”