SAN MARINO Little land of Liberty

15/03/2015 |


Little land of Liberty

Master of a vanishing tradition, Aldo Volpini lovingly fashions a bas-relief head from native stone. For more than 1.600 years Sammarinesi quarried their mountain for buildings and statuary. Than the demand for living space put an end to the industry. St. Marinus, himself, say the Sammarinesi, was a stonecutter from Dalmatia who fled to Monte Titano to escape the persecution of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

 ….San Marino’s original industry was stone-cutting, the craft of St. Marinus himself. Today, stone is no longer cut from the terraced and densely populated mountaintop. There is no room for further quarrying. But one man, Aldo Volpini, still carves the local limestone with tools used by two generation of sculptors before him (above). He and his wife run a souvenir store near the top of Titano. His studio is nearby.

Signor Volpini had no formal training in art, only a desire to create. I saw in his studio a touching statue of the sorrowing Mary with the body of Christ in her arms. It is a sad and beautiful work, and shows how strong Volpini’s drive to be a sculptor must be.

To practice his art, he must steal time from his more lucrative souvenir shop, typical of the 120 that line San Marino’s streets…

 By Donna Hamilton Shor

Da articolo stampa “National Geographic” agosto 1967