Massimo Piani, a marine biology student, said he’d been coming to the
traversing green sea, an outcropping of rock in the Monte
Cortileilo off the coast of Sicily, for nine years. Now, he said,
he felt like a monk, coming here each year to get lost in the sea,
attempting to intercede in nature, to see if he could restore it.
“We’re the first generation that’s had no inheritance,” he said.
“It’s marvelous, the nectar of Nature. It’s the greatest reward for
the effort we put in to search for meaning,” he said. “You walk to find
this. The ocean is really not real. We walk to discover and to know
it. But the sea is ours.”
Ms. Kufour, 35, is a restaurant manager, recently divorced and working on
an Italian movie that’s based on an Islamic woman’s pilgrimage to the
Cinque Terre on top of Mount Etna.
She has also recently come to some terms with her own near death
“The sea is safe and hospitable,” she said. “It’s great to come here
and share the communion with nature. That’s the beauty of the Cinque Terre.
Our shared commitment.”
This arrangement was evident everywhere: in the monks who have set up
shelters for people on its rocky slopes, in the circle of girls in two
flashy, extravagant white dresses that wove past crowds of men and
girls in halter tops and leather trousers, or in the makeshift tent camps,
stuffed with women curled up in beds with pillows covered with
grandma’s skirts, and barrels of cheese made by grandmothers and
grandfathers, and pans of roasted meats prepared by grandmothers.
All the time, the manfolk drove up to the island: “I’ve been coming
here for 40 years and I have never seen such a sea party,” said Mr.
Cantinari, a sales manager for a private equity firm who called
the anchovy to eat “the mother of all fishes.” “There is such a loving
dissonance. The filleting is so touching. You know that nothing is
paid for the dishes on the sea. Everything is left out to thank