Saturday, July 28, 2007

Piece 1

My name is Puccio Speroni and I was born in Florence (Italy) many years ago. Puccio is an unusual name also in Italy. It was in use in the late medioeval Tuscany when it was common to shorten the names: Maso instead of Tommaso (Thomas), Lapo instead of Jacopo (Jacob), Vanni instead of Giovanni (John), Cola instead of Niccola (Nicklaus) and many others. Moreover, it was rather common to use as a name the shorten of the nickname. A typical example is the name of the great Florentine painter Masaccio (1401-1428), it comes from Tommasaccio which is a pejorative of Tommaso (something like ”bad Tommaso”) and finally ”Puccio” which is the term of endearment of Filippuccio, that is ”gracious Philip”, of course, what else.

My family name ”Speroni”, which in english means ”spurs”, originally comes from Genoa. One of the first Speroni recorded was captain of a Genoese ship that took part in the Lepanto battle (Oct. 7, 1571), but apart from myself, the other really famous Speroni is Sperone Speroni (1500-1588), humanist, dramatist and philosopher. End of the etymological parenthesis on my name.

I am coming from an ex-aristocratic-intellectual-middle class family and I was born more or less during World War II. I have to say that I had a completely neutral position during the conflict since I received sweeths from both the Germans and the Americans when, first the ones and then the others, occupied the upper floor of our house in the country side. My childhood after the war has been rather boring. I had two brothers, but one was three years older and he didn't want to play with me and the other, who was nearly 6 years younger was, therefore, completely useless for my needs. In Florence my family and me were living in a strange house, which was placed at the end of a nearly 100 meters long garden. At the other end of the garden there was the house which faced the road and where, on the ground floor, my grand-mother (from my father's side) and her spinster sister were living.

The strangeness of my house consists in the fact that it was more high then large. And had all the windows facing our garden. The plan on the ground floor was like a spare bracket having, on the left wing, the kitchen and the, so call, boys room or telephone's room. In the center: the dining room, the stairs and the sitting room, and, on the right wing, my father's studio, my mother’s room and a toilette. On the first floor a terrace was the roof of the left wing and on the center, from the left, there was the bathroom, my younger brother's room (where all the family members had to pass if they had to use the bathroom), the stairs and my parents room. On the second floor we had a common room for my older brother and myself, the stairs and the wardrobes room or maid's room when there was one. It was a big, uncomfortable, peaceful, strange house and I loved it, but nothing compared with the garden. That was my kingdom, not on the ground but on the trees.

There was no money for baying sophisticated toys at that time and, moreover, at that time there were no toys to be bought, so children had to develop their fantasy and the trees of my garden were for me an inexhaustible source of imagination, but........but I was always on my own. Only when I was a little older I was allowed to go out from my enchanted garden.

At that time Florence was empty, not of people, but cars. If one was passing, everybody stopped walking and were taken aback looking at it. The streets, but mostly the squares were the perfect places where the kids met and played together without distinction of race, religion or social belonging and the parents were not worried because there was no danger. The only possible candidates to hold the position of public menaces were the old, shaky, squeaking and noisy trams.

End of Piece 1