Cinque Terre, Italy – A Modern Ocean: Nests of Man

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


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