The La Casa dei Pesci – “Fish Homes” project is the realisation of a dream, the dream of Paolo Fanciulli, a fisherman from the Maremma region of Tuscany.
Paolo’s dream is to create a sustainable space between nature and fisheries, between nature and beautiful art, between security and usability; his dream is to create all this at sea, and to bring everyone to ‘look into the sea’ and discover that there is so much nature and beauty that would normally overlooked – because it is invisible – and because the mare nostrum is plundered daily by illegal fishing, polluted by toxic wastes and detergents.
The “Fish Home” project has grown out of long years of battling by independent fishermen, against the encroachment of industrial fishing that destroys fish stocks, and even worse, systematically destroys benthic flora and fauna, leaving the seabed looking like a desert.
It has evolved with the certainty that along the 8,000 km of Italian coastline, it will always be impossible to enforce the law with any kind of thorough control; the only solution, therefore, is the placement of large cement blocks placed under the sea to physically stop the huge weighted nets from dragging the seabed.
150 of these blocks have already been placed in the sea and over the past five years, nature has taken over, the fish and marine life has returned and Paolo Fanciulli has created an area where illegal fishing is no longer possible.
Paolo Fanciulli now wants to expand the protected zone and the donation of 100 large blocks of marble from the Michelangelo marble quarries at Carrara has given him the chance to re-build the natural ravines that provide shelter for fish, enriching the La Casa dei Pesci – ‘fish homes’
Some of these blocks of marble have already been sculpted in Barga during last summer with the Roman sculptor, Massimo Catalani (full article with many images here) and what is effectively an underwater sculpture park is just about ready to be installed under the sea with the aim of attracting large numbers of tourists to ‘see under the surface of the sea’ and create a new consciousness for sustainable sea development, capable of countering the spread of concrete building along the coast.
Quando Paolo mi ha invitato a partecipare come scultore a questo progetto ho subito detto si. Che un pescatore creda nella bellezza come veicolo di redenzione mi ha commosso e da subito mi sono tuffato nel lavoro senza misurare, senza contare questo o quello. Il primo redento sono io: sono uscito dalla nevrosi del lavoro quotidiano per perdermi nella natura mia preferita, quella del mare, ma la natura è la natura di tutti. I luoghi e le persone sono inscindibili e possiamo ritrovarci soltanto andando a fare visita agli alberi, agli animali, ai pesci. – Massimo Catalani – Roma, 3 marzo 2013
painter and photographer - started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996