Villages scattered through the valleys, the silence of the mountains, accompanied by breath-taking landscapes, the rhythms of a bygone life and bizarre local stories. Climbing the road from Pontremoli to Zeri, in the upper Lunigiana, where chestnut forests slowly give way to beech woods as you go higher, you have the sensation of entering a mysterious land, where even the regional identity, quite strong elsewhere, becomes increasingly less so. What’s more, the village, as maintained by the oldest inhabitants here, does not exist.
It is a collective name, that would not be out of place as a title in the collective works of the Wu Ming writers. It is actually a series of small localities, each with its own story, that together makes up a sort of dislocated municipality that has always kept its native character, due to its inaccessible geographical position, nestling in three valleys (Giordana, Rossano, Adelano) and surrounded by Liguria and Emilia. “Zeri eats its own bread and dresses in its own skin”, it was once said, to underline its autarchical economic situation. Grain, chestnut flour, and livestock breeding. Except for a bit of tourism, it hasn’t changed much since then.