ciao Aracà

an Italian Heritage Tale

"When things change, even if they change for the better, something is lost."
Daniel Chisholm


Here are two short trailers for you to enjoy plus the award winning short film Nati.



Alessio is in his early eighties and lives on his own since his wife died about 10 years ago. He is a very knowledgeable farmer who spent time educating himself and working all his life on his extensive farm land. At times he did contract work by pruning trees for others including the trees lining the avenues in Albenga. He has always been a very agile man and continues to be even now into his eighties. Alessio's only son lives with his family in a town by the coast about 1 hour away from Aracá, and can only visit once a week to see his father.


In his early nineties, Nati, who is a head strong character, has lived all his adult life as an optimistic single man and always worked very hard. He, like most people in the Aracá hamlet, has never had an extended holiday. In the years gone by he cared for his hundreds of olive trees as well as keeping livestock, and growing wheat, chestnuts, cherries and vegetables. Now-a-days he spends his time on his olives, vegetable garden and his passion for flowers which he keeps in pots alongside the patio of his house. When he was young, he looked after his sick mother for several years before she died.


Luca, is a university graduate in his late thirties, with two young children, who decided to change direction and enter farming. He grows olives and grapes on his grandparents' land and a few years ago started a small wine-making enterprise. He also sells extra virgin olive oil and is the president of the oil producing cooperative in the village of Ranzo to which the hamlet of Aracà belongs.


Ivano is seventy years old and lives alone in a large house in Aracà from where he manages his olive groves. Before retiring he was a concrete finisher, and in this capacity worked all over Italy, and even spent some time in the Middle East. His wife lives with their two adult children about an hour away near the coast where she is dedicated to caring for her old and sick parents. She comes to Aracà on weekends to help Ivano with the household.


Vanda and Augusto are in their mid seventies and both are kind, generous people, and very hard working (which is the ethos for Aracà residents). In their early years they both worked for the Post Office in the morning, and then spent the rest of the day, and evening, cultivating their land. Now, after retirement, they help their only daughter Wilma with her agricultural enterprise. They own several olive groves the produce of which goes to Wilma's company. They also have extensive vineyards and vegetable gardens and sell vegetables to the market.


Wilma is Vanda and Augusto's daughter, is married to Ezio, a lecturer at a technical college in Albenga, who helps Wilma in his lecture-free time. They produce organic extra virgin olive oil and they press the olives in their own mill. They have two small children.


Fanny is in her late eighties and a widow. She used to help her husband grow olives, grapes and vegetables as well as breed livestock. Now she keeps her own vegetable garden and looks after her handful of chickens. During the time of pruning and harvesting she gives a hand to her son and daughter who care for the lands as best they can, after finishing their own work.


Pier-Luigi is both an entrepreneur and visionary, now in his early sixties. He belongs neither to the older generation in Aracà, nor to the young set, and has adapted well to the massive change that has hit the farming community in this area of Liguria. He successfully ran several businesses before retiring, and then returned to his family lands to start another successful career as a vintner and producer of extra virgin olive oil. Igi has two children who live and work in a town by the sea, although his son spends a lot of time working in his father's wine production.


As generations come and go
Their arts, their customs, ebb and flow;
Fate, fortune, sweep strong powers away,
And feeble, of themselves, decay.

William Wordsworth, Memorials of a tour in Scotland 1831, XV The Highland Broach.

For centuries Aracà has been a multi-generational hamlet bustling with life and full of energy. However during recent decades their farming became less profitable as globalisation created new suppliers and the younger generations moved to towns and cities while the older generations dwindled as time took its toll.

Its inhabitants now are composed half of an aging and diminishing Italian community and half of a growing number of foreigners from Germany, Holland and UK who have holiday homes.

Notwithstanding these existential challenges to themselves and their identity, Aracà's inhabitants meet the daily struggle with dignity and a bravely positive outlook. Some members of the younger generation are exploring ways to reform their agricultural practices to meet the new challenges of life in the countryside in this transformed world, but the outcome of their experiment is far from certain.

"Ciao Aracà" tells the thoughtful and moving confrontation with time, change, loss and hope related by the members of this small community struggling to adapt to increasing loneliness and to changing economic conditions caused by globalisation and rural flight. Contemplating the past, and witnessing the present, we are inextricably drawn towards the future and what that might hold.

This is a wonderful experience for lovers of Italy, those drawn to the rural life, those who enjoy beautiful landscape and engaging character-portrays and those interested in seeing how people grapple with the forces of change in modern society.



I am always delighted to hear opinions and suggestions about my films so should you wish to get in touch please don't hesitate to drop me a line.



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