top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt

Musical Valleys

For the last 5 years I have had the honour and extreme pleasure of living in #Italy. In the region known as Tuscany. To be more precise lets zoom in a little, I live in #Maremma. Maremma is an area in the southwest of #Tuscany a unique and unspoilt area with regards to all aspects. The landscape of this area is often referred to as the wild Tuscany I suppose the same could be said of the people too. In the past this was a feudal area with villages at loggerheads with neighbouring villages. Today things have become far less confrontational instead of the bow and sword the local football pitch has become the new arena in which to reenact medieval grudges . The village of  #Saturnia has a history dating back as far as 450BC. Boasting such great occupants such as the Etruscans and Roman empires. Nowadays each year sees new and international invaders arrive in their hordes. The reasons for such a influx of tourism is that Saturnia is blessed and renowned worldwide for its natural thermal waters famed for their therapeutic effects. For me living close by is like finding utopia, yes really! Having previously lived in a medium sized city in central England the differences between the two are incomparable. Instead of the hustle and bustle of daily life things here move at a far more civilised pace. Cordial greetings are exchanged in the streets and shops with a general air of calm. Having lived here for some years now I have observed many things the Italians have great passion for, be it football, politics, health or fashion but non more than food and music. As for the food passion the best way I can describe it would be that the main topic of conversation over the lunch table would be “ what's for Dinner” ? However an equal obsession to the food passion has to be their love for music.

The area of Maremma and marked in red circle Saturnia

#Music plays a pivotal roll within the basic structure of Italy. Be it in large cities or the smallest of villages. The participants start at a young age, attending music classes. Musical instruments are assigned and accepted willingly and once accepted these tools of music remain with their guardian for life. Each village tends to have its own band, encompassing a wide range of instruments from trumpets and French horns to small flutes and violins. As with the varied instruments the people too are just as diverse, with bankers, bakers, butchers, shop owners and school teachers making up but some of the numbers. In fact it is common place within our village with 10 shops for 9 of them to be closed when music practice is occurring. Again the importance of music far outweighs that of commerce. You may ask “what is all this for”? That's easy, after all that practice and fine tuning the band similar to a peacock loves nothing better than strutting their stuff. Adoring their band colours instruments polished and ready they perform to the attentive onlookers. Whether it be marching through the streets or strategically seated in the piazza the renditions flow. Haunting sounds of Glen Miller or theme music from the various Bond movies even one of my favourites Vivaldi can be heard echoing around every corner.  In Saturnia during the summer months music festivals are common place. International performers attend and perform alongside the young and old members of the band exchanging advice and tips essential for the budding Mozart's and Louis Armstrong's.

The main piaza of Saturnia

The bands of every city, town, village or hamlet play a essential part of everyday living in Italy forming a cohesion for its respective inhabitants. A camaraderie a sense of community and wellbeing. Traditions as a whole are fundamental and vital to unique identities that possibly are lacking in many of our worlds cities and countries.. So may the deeply entrenched musical traditions of Italy continue to entertain us. Viva Italia.

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page