- 17,99 €
“A very interesting account of the incredibly hard life of a peasant and his family living under the mezzadria system . . . A thoroughly worthwhile book” (Italy Magazine).
Growing up under Mussolini’s Fascist regime on a farm near Florence, Pietro Pinti and his family lived under conditions of extreme poverty, as sharecroppers to generally unscrupulous landowners. But during World War II, when millions in towns and cities suffered untold hardships, the hardy Tuscan peasants were well equipped to face the rigors of the era: war or no war, work on the land went on, and Pietro describes month by month a typical year in their lives: how they made wine and olive oil, planted and harvested the wheat by hand, made baskets and ladders from chestnut wood-skills now lost.
With sly wit and salty wisdom, Pietro—a natural storyteller who played the trumpet, wrote poetry, and grew famous for his tales of peasants, knights, and brigands—recreates in colorful detail a world and peasant culture that is fast disappearing. Jenny Bawtree, an Englishwoman long settled in Tuscany, was so fascinated by Pietro's stories that she helped shape them into this autobiography, full of color and humor, hardship and nostalgia.
“This small, cherishable book is as close to living history as one gets . . . The heart of the book, though, is Pinti’s month-by-month description of how it was to live . . . The stories are full of humanity and sly wisdom.” —Booklist
“Black and white photos, maps and illustrations, plus a glossary of Italian terms that were relevant to the life of a peasant render a more thorough understanding of a compelling life that is neither glamorous nor romanticized.” —Publishers Weekly
The Tuscan countryside has inspired and been celebrated by many famous writers and artists, but here it is explored"not by a foreign intellectual but by a Tuscan peasant"; as such, readers are given a real and honest view of the region and life in it. Written in refreshingly simple language (made smooth by Bawtree, a former teacher who now runs a riding academy), the volume provides a glimpse into Pinti's life, from his birth in 1927 (he was mother's 12th child) through his schooling during the Fascist regime and World War II. He describes his life working as a contadino (farmer of low social status)--complete with pleasing anecdotes of days of celebration and feasting; from there he explains post-war Tuscan peasant life, which he left in order to earn pay as a"builder's mate." Black and white photos, maps and illustrations, plus a glossary of Italian terms (such as casa colonica, a sharecropper's house) that were relevant to the life of a peasant render a more thorough understanding of a compelling life that is neither glamorous nor romanticized.