Bocca d’Arno, a Muse for Gabriele D’Annunzio
Bocca d’Arno, in Marina di Pisa, is the final outlet of the long Tuscan river Arno, which reaches the sea after a journey of 240 kilometers. Poet Gabriele D’Annunzio described it as a
a lake of salt […] seen through stilted huts, and through enormous nets hanging from poles and struts arranged like crosses (G. D’Annunzio, “Halcyon”, 1902).
The nets he mentions are from the so-called “retoni”, wooden structures that dot the landscape in this area of the Tyrrhenian coast, embraced by the magnificent Apuan Alps in the background. “They are hanging nets. Some / hang like balance scales from antennas / supporting tall, jutting-out bridges / where men keep watch, ready to roll up the rope” (G. D’Annunzio, “Bocca d’Arno”, July 6, 1899).
The day after composing these verses, the poet from Pescara wrote to his friend Giuseppe Treves: “I spent the last few days in deep quiet, lying on a boat in the sun. You don’t know these places: they are divine. The Arno’s estuary is so purely pleasing that for me it is beyond comparison even with the mouth of a beloved woman. I wish I could stay here and sing. I have such a strong desire to sing that lyrics gush spontaneously from my soul like foam from waves.”
With such an endorsement, how could we resist?