Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

As we started getting acquainted we promised you that our ‘Letter’ would touch topics of various nature, old and new stories of our town, of our people. Just like the one we’re talking about today.

The summer heat induces us to rest, doing nothing, it creates boredom. What to do? How can we pass the time? This used to happen when people didn’t have the financial and mechanical means to go to the sea and to the mountain.

So during the summertime, after the toughest field chores were finished, we would pass the time entertaining ourselves with jokes and pranks, laughing behind the backs of the most foolish, fueling rumors that could become ‘urban myths’.

In the Eighties news spread that gold had been found in the Pesa river. GOLD! Fantastic!

A gold fever began in Chianti, just like in the Klondike! People rushed to the river by the dozens, equipped with sieves and pans, with their feet in the water and their pants tucked up like a fisherman’s, they felt like novice Scrooge McDucks, emulators of Charlie Chaplin, as adventurous as Jack London.

It is well known that some Italian rivers and torrents host not nuggets but flakes of gold, coming from the sediments of glaciers in the Alps. Maybe tributaries of the Po river like the Dora Baltea and the Dora Riparia take their names from the presence of gold. Or maybe not? The same is true for some Apennine rivers and torrents.

It might be worth investigating the rivers’ depths.

To make the agony of this possibility even greater, in the town of Lucarelli, a big jar full of sand and gold flakes was on show in a small shop, put there by a man who claimed to have “fished” it out of the Pesa river, near Monterinaldi.

Why should we keep growing zucchini if we have gold beneath our feet? The skeptic and the gullible alike went wild with discussions all summer long, and beyond.

It turned out that the lucky “fisherman” was a Florentine, owner of two goldsmith shops. This is the story as we know it. If anyone knows more, please come forward.

What I would like to add is that, we might not have gold in our rivers, but we have golden and ruby-red grapes hanging in our vineyards, and this is our treasure.

Miriam Serni Casalini e Dario Cecchini