Shortlisted for: Costa Biography Award
Julia Blackburn and her husband moved to a house in the mountains of northern Italy in 1999. A series of events brought her close to the old people of the village who began to tell her stories that made the landscape come alive.
Until recently most of them had been mezzadri, half-people who were trapped in an archaic feudal system and owned by a local padrone who demanded his share of all they had even a pretty wife or daughter.
They were eager to talk about the old way of life and how everything changed with the eruption of the Second World War. Write it down for us, they said, because otherwise it will all be lost.
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