August 10 is celebrated in Italy and by Italians throughout the world as the night of the shooting stars. This film by the Taviani brothers is one of my old time favorites. This night is famous because you can see a host of shooting stars in the night sky and of course, as we all know, you make a wish when you see one.
Historically, the night of the shooting stars is supposed to commemorate the tears of San Lorenzo who met his end on this day in the III century.
The movie set in Tuscany brings to mind Tuscan wine and “una voglia pazza di essere in Italia” (great desire) to be in Italy watching them this evening. Even if I’m not going anywhere, if I see a star I too can wish it on saying “Stella, mia bella stella, desidero che…”, and waiting for the event to happen sometime this year.
I’ve never seen as many shooting stars as when I have been sailing and anchored out at sea. I’m sure the mountains and camping provide an equally spectacular view but I don’t have much experience in the latter. In any event, wherever you are this evening, think of the stars.
The first time I saw this movie was when I lived in Tuscany. Back then, I drank a lot of Morellino di Scansano as did all the Florentines I knew. It was the go-to-wine in Tuscany for all occasions. This fresh red is perfect for summer foods but its’ versatility allows it to be drunk throughout the year. It seems like the right fit to celebrate San Lorenzo to me.
Morellino is made predominantly from Sangiovese but 15% of other varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Ciliegiolo can be included. Morellino is made in the Maremma area of Tuscany, a memorable place to visit.
August 10 is officially known in Italy as la notte di San Lorenzo or the Night of the Shooting Stars. This is because, apparently, tonight if there were clear skies, one could see many shooting stars. I always thought this was very poetic but somewhat of a myth. Until I went sailing in the Mediterranean some years ago on August 10. I saw tens of shooting stars and it was indeed magical. I have no idea why this is the case, from a scientific point of view, but effectively everyone in Italy looks to the sky on this evening to make a wish on a shooting star.
There is also a very famous movie called the Night of the Shooting Stars by the Taviani Brothers. I love that movie and most that have to do with World War II.
Recently I had the pleasure of translating for Giovanni Taviani, the daughter of one of the brothers, at an event hosted by I-Italy in New York. She runs a great documentary film festival in Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily. Salina is a magical place and Giovanna, a fascinating woman.
Salina is the island where Il Postino was filmed, that wonderful film with Philippe Noiret and Massimo Troisi about Pablo Neruda. Salina also has the best granitas, especially the one made from Almond milk or latte delle mandorle. I went sailing around those islands and am a very big fan despite having encountered 100 knot winds….yes 100 knots.
I wish I could go to the festival that starts on September 12 but I think it may have to wait until next year. Giovanna’s own film was very interesting and I hope she gets to show it to a wider audience in the United States. I’ll be looking up at the sky tonight. Remember you can make a wish on every star you see, as many times as you want. Sounds like a good deal to me.