Montale’s Chair

November 4th, 1966 was a very normal school day, I believe I was in eighth or ninth grade (I’m not sure, I never liked school much). That morning my mother came to wake me up and told me that the Arno had overflowed. We lived in the hills – it was farmland at the time – and the stone walls surrounding the streets had collapsed from the rain. The cars were stuck and we had to walk all the way to Piazza Michelangelo to see what happened. It was a crazy situation. So, the next day, equipped with rubber boots, we went to help as much as possible.

My grandmother was living in Milan, married to the poet Eugenio Montale. But she also had an apartment in Florence, with a cellar full of their things, and they asked us to go and recover what could be saved. We went to town with a farmer and we picked up some furniture with a tractor and a trailer: crates of muddy books and I wouldn’t know what else. Months later, Montale came to pick up his stuff but he left some things out: bundles of old books that we kept and an armchair, the one I’m sitting on right now.

Martino Marangoni, 1 July 2016