Simon Rackham

Visiting Castiglione Della Pescaia

by Simon Rackham

Released 2012
Released 2012
Music (for piano, four hands) composed to celebrate places in the Tuscan seaside town of Castiglione Della Pescaia and environs.
Visiting Castiglione della Pescaia was written in the summer of 2012 for piano (four hands). It’s a collection of pieces portraying various aspects of the small town of Castiglione della Pescaia (a former fishing village in the province of Grosseto, Tuscany), and its environs; a place rich in history and legend. Some of the places visited are famous locations but others are hardly known even to the locals. 1. The Red House, (also known as Casa Ximenes, after its architect) is one of the most obvious places, a lone building in the middle of the marshes. 2. Castello di Maus, is a ruin on top of a hill overlooking Pian d’Alma. 3. The Romitorio di Santa Petronilla, is the remains of a convent well hidden in the woods. 4. Tirli, is a small village in the hills with few people and many restaurants. 5. Val Beretta, contains many ancient Etruscan tombs. 6. Castellaccio di Prile, is the ruins of a medieval village overlooking what used to be lake ‘Prile’. 7. Buriano, is a small village perched on a hill. 8. San Guglielmo di Malavalle, is the Patron saint of Castiglione della Pescaia, (believed by some to be the 10th Duke of Aquitaine; but the history of that as a ‘fact’ is still being debated. His legend is depicted in many churches in the area, and many ‘relics’ are also displayed). It is the longest piece and is divided into two sections. The first part; ‘Chivalry’, (a four part canon) represents the young man, carefree and full of vigor. The second part, ‘Spirituality’ shows the hermit saint and the contemplative life. 9. Isola Clodia, once an island in lake ‘Prile’ still has the remains of an abbey, that itself was built upon the remains of a Roman villa. 10. Requires little explanation, except to say that the beaches along the coast are lined with fabulous pine woods. 11. Italo Calvino, (1923 – 1985) had a house at Roccamare and is buried in the cemetery of Castiglione. 12. Punta Ala, is a harbour a little up the coast. Italo Balbo changed the name to Punta Ala from Punta Troia. 13. Isidoro Falchi, (1838 – 1914) was a doctor and amateur archaeologist famous for discovering the Etruscan remains at Vetulonia. 14. The bell tower of the church of San Giovanni Battista (St. John the Baptist) is a landmark in the Castiglione della Pescaia skyline. Interesting for its circular architecture, and featuring in (probably) millions of holiday snaps and postcards. There are many other places of historical importance or beauty in the area, so my choice is by no means exhaustive. The deeper one digs the more one finds; especially in that land where every stone seems steeped in history. © Simon Rackham 2012