Along the Apennine ridge in central Italy, in the heart of the Monti Sibillini National Park, lies a place that has been the subject of ancient and mysterious myths and legends due to its eternal charm and strategic position, a place that the great Italian explorer Fosco Maraini, in the 1930s, described as the closest place to Tibet that can be found in Europe.
The genesis of the Castelluccio plateau, located 1350 metres above sea level, dates back about 1 million years, when massive tectonic movements caused a depression that first turned into a lake that, after drying up, created the plateau flanked by the peak of Mount Vettore (2456 m), the highest of the Sibillini Mountains. At 1,452 metres, the village was one of the highest inhabited centres in the entire Apennines until 2016, when two devastating earthquakes completely destroyed it, bringing the population and the local economy, based essentially on sheep farming, lentil cultivation and tourism, to its knees. Today Castelluccio no longer exists, razed to the ground by the earthquake and subsequent demolitions: a ghost village that only the resilience of the local population keeps alive. With this work, I want to reflect on the relationship between human beings and nature in a magical place that is disappearing but that for centuries ensured a tough but symbiotic relationship between the land and its inhabitants.
What emerges is the transience and fragility of human life compared to the immense power of nature, which instead bases its life and 'evolution' on events considered catastrophic for human beings. Unfortunately, we live in a historical period in which the human being, limiting his vision to a futile anthropocentrism, has deluded himself into thinking that it is possible to dominate nature and reverse the imbalance that genetically characterises his relationship with it. An attitude that only exacerbates the dramatic consequences of the flow of events in geological history. There is an ancient Chinese poem that, in its simple but eternal verses, contains a truth that today seems forgotten, or at least only remembered in conjunction with natural events that are catastrophic for us: "The birds have disappeared in the sky and now even the last cloud has flown away. I sit with the mountain, until only the mountain remains'.