NaxosLegge: from Tolkien to Mennea, up to Elsa Morante. Here are all the protagonists of the 4th week


By John

The fantasy genre in high school with TolkienNaxos and the literary tourism in the footsteps of writers, stories of “invisible” women with the novel dedicated to Emilia Luti, semi-unknown until now, “editor” of Alessandro Manzoni. And then the memory of a great athlete from the South, the Olympic champion – and multiple graduate – Pietro Mennea, who died prematurely at the age of 61 in 2013, which will be told to high school students; the Sicilian roots of the writer Elsa Morante (his biological father was from Santa Margherita di Belice; and the portrait of a great intellectual, Giovanni Testori, writer, journalist, art and literary critic, poet, playwright and theater director. These are the main events of the fourth and final week of the 13th edition of NaxosLegge, festival of narratives, reading and books directed by Fulvia Toscano.

Father of fantasy fiction and Anglo-Saxon epic literature, JRR Tolkien – author of the famous “Lord of the Rings” trilogy – Wednesday 27 September, 11 am, arrives at the Caminiti high school in Giardini Naxos in collaboration with Cepell (Centre for books and reading of the MIC, Ministry of Culture) to explore with the students themes and characters, linguistic apparatuses and mythological contexts that nourish the whole literary work by Tolkien, which marks the 50th anniversary of his death. Participates in the debate Oronzo Cilli, one of the author’s leading experts, member of the British Tolkien Society and curator of the exhibition being set up in Rome, organized by the MIC (Ministry of Culture) and which will be inaugurated next November. Speakers: Angelo Cappello and Luciano Lanna (Cepell), Stello Vadalà (director of the Messina Provincial School Office) and Manuela Raneri, director of the institute.

In the afternoon, combined with the “International Tourism Day” which is celebrated on 27 September, Naxoslegge moves to the Naxos Park (4pm) for a seminar dedicated to literary tourism, a project long cherished by Toscano to propose travel itineraries in the footsteps of writers and places where their works are set. Numerous guests and just as many testimonies from realities already “operational” or in progress: the Giovanni Capecchi University (TULE Center – Literary Tourism of Perugia), and Filippo Grasso (UniME) for the Scrittori dello Strait project; the Il Palindromo publishing house with the series, directed by Salvatore Ferlita, which promotes literary paths; the Gesualdo Bufalino Park in Comiso told by the mayor Maria Rita Schembari; Adolfo Morganti will talk about the one dedicated to Giuseppe Tucci, in the Marche; Daniela Mena will illustrate the literary map she created in collaboration with Cepell; while Roberto Bruccoleri will speak for the Writers’ Road, coordinated by the journalist Felice Cavallaro.

The human and sporting adventure of the Olympic champion Pietro Mennea, a sprinter from Puglia who died prematurely ten years ago, will be at the center of a meeting at school on September 28th; while in the afternoon, at 6pm (Lido di Naxos), with Emanuela Fontanaauthor of “The Corrector” (Mondadori), we will talk about Manzoni’s nanny, the young Florentine Emilia Luti who – in the role of “ante-litteram” editor – worked for four years with the Milanese writer, refining with him the language of “The Betrothed”, a revision strategic in the direction of a living and spoken language. At 4pm, still on Manzoni, the students meet Roberto Bizzocchi author of “Popular novel. How Manzoni made Italy” (The third).

Friday 29th (Lido di Naxos, 5pm) the protagonist will be Elsa Morantewith the book “Elsa, the story begins here” (Navarra Editore) which investigates the Sicilian roots of the writer, the first woman to win the Strega Prize in 1957 with “Arcturus Island” but also the author of numerous novels, including “Lies and spells”, the first, which will be addressed by Margherita Cacioppo, Marinella Fiume and Margherita Rimi moderated by Dora Marchese. In the morning, at the Caminiti high school (11 am) screening of the film on Don Pino Puglisi and meeting with the director Lorenzo Daniele. To follow the “Legality and/is Beauty” award assigned to Our Father Center in Brancaccio it’s at Sabrina Bellinowith a courageous testimony of extortion reporting.

Saturday 30 September back to Mume in Messina, h. 5.30pm, with “Testori privateer”, by Alessandro Gnocchi (The ship of Theseus) to talk about an intellectual (1923-1993) who today we would define as “multitasking”. Writer, painter, poet and playwright, Testori is investigated by Gnocchi – culture editor of “Il Giornale” but also a great scholar of the works of Giovannino Guareschiauthor of the “Don Camillo and Peppone” saga – as a columnist and free voice of Italian journalism between the Seventies and Eighties.

Finally, for the little ones, Naxoslegge offers two laboratories: the first, with the actress Maria Pia Rizzois dedicated to “The little Prince” by A. De Saint – Exupery (Wednesday 27 September); the second is a creative reading workshop with the writer Davide Brulloauthor of the story “The Wolf of Alexander the Great” (Sunday 1 October). More information at

Naxoslegge 2023 is created with the support ofDepartment of Cultural Heritage and Sicilian Identity, of the Naxos Taormina Archaeological Parkof theUniversity of Messina Cospecs DAMSof theErsu he was born in Cepell (Centre for Books and Culture, MIC institute).