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Tonnara Diary' (Istituto Luce). Ancient traditions of seaside villages


Wednesday 20 december 2017

At the Istituto Luce in Rome, they are completing a fascinating documentary on the historic tuna fisheries of Sicily and Sardinia, and their villages.

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Tonnara Diary' (Istituto Luce). Ancient traditions of seaside villages

Tuna fishing has very primitive origins and the tradition linked to the world of bluefin tuna and its relentless hunting has its roots in Mesopotamia and coastal cities throughout the Middle East. The strong gregariousness of this fish, its gathering in large shoals in coastal areas, where the water was shallower, thus facilitating spawning, also made it easier to catch them and base their meat (in reality, tuna, like pork, is the most important fish in the world) on the fish; tuna, like pork, is not thrown away) not only a thriving economy but also a culture, a history and a tradition that still permeates the ports of those villages where the Tonnara was the only source of survival (and subsequently of income) for these populations.

From the time of Homer and Pliny, there are tales of tuna fishing in Sicily, and with the passing of the tuna spread throughout the Mediterranean as far as the Strait of Gibraltar, the point from which tuna entered the Mare Nostrum between April and May laden with eggs. The first real economic systems and control of large areas of sea, real rituals and traditions, and the figure of the Rais, who coordinated all the different phases of tuna fishing, were born.


Tuna fishermen enjoying the sun (and the pension) near the Tonnara di Bonagia (Valderice, Trapani)

An ancient and wild world, the eternal struggle between man and nature, stories of men and the sea that deserve to be told.

The Luce Institute is now completing the editing of the 70-minute documentary 'Diario di Tonnara' in Rome, which will take part in the main national and international film competitions, hopefully in the second half of 2018. The feature film is a fascinating journey through the places and memories of Trapani's most famous tuna fisheries, rediscovering traditions, stories of men and boats. Diario di Tonnara', which sees Giovanni Zoppeddu behind the camera, is inspired by the book of the same name by Ninni Ravazza ('Diario di Tonnara', Magenes Editore, Milan, 2005), who lends the film's voice to the listener's ears, accompanying him on this journey through enchanted places and villages in Sicily and Sardinia: Marzamemi, San Vito lo Capo, Scopello, Bonagia and Carloforte (in Sardinia).


ex Stabilimento Florio delle Tonnare delle Isole di Favignana e di Formica (Trapani)

The director, Giovanni Zoppeddu, has deliberately avoided resorting to the often folkloric images of the mattanza, the final phase of fishing, focusing instead on the cultural and anthropological aspect of tuna fishing. The “team” that worked on the feature film is composed of Claudio Marceddu (director of photography), Maria Chiara Sanna (cameraman), Stefano Civitenga (sound engineer), Luca Onorati (editor), Maura Cosenza and Angelo Musciagna (production for Istituto Luce), Marco Cabitza (location manager), Simone Murru (stagehand).

The film will be released in 2019.

In 2019 'Diario di Tonnara' will be finally distributed in dvd inside a box set together with the book by Ninni Ravazza. We just have to wait to enjoy a piece of fascinating history and maritime tradition whose flavour is still trapped in the fishing nets left to dry in the harbours of these seaside villages.

ph. riserva-vendicari.it, archeologiaindustriale.net and panoramio.com

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