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La Casa dei Pesci – from Barga to Talamone

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.

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The social art project, La Casa dei Pesci, which is so captivated visitors to Barga during the summer of 2014,  (articles here and here) ,  moved into its final stages as the last pieces in the jigsaw were lowered into the Mediterranean Sea three years ago today.

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.

”Per comprendere il senso del progetto – spiega Lucio Sabbadini, presidente del Comitato la Casa dei Pesci – bisogna fare un passo indietro, al 2006, quando la Regione ha posizionato a mare dissuasori contro la pesca a strascico illegale dal Chiarone a Piombino. Nel tratto da Talamone a Bocca d’Ombrone il Consorzio dei piccoli pescatori dell’Argentario ottenne il permesso di intensificare il numero di dissuasori , triplicandolo. Ne furono posizionati 150, rendendo praticamente impossibile la pesca a strascico illegale nella zona. Dal risultato ottenuto a Talamone e’ nata l’idea di estendere il progetto al resto della costa, dall’Argentario a Punt’Ala, con la scelta sostenibile di utilizzare cio’ che gia’ esiste in natura: il marmo, al posto dei blocchi in cemento. Cosi’, nel 2012, e’ nata l’associazione la Casa dei Pesci onlus, che sta raccogliendo fondi, anche dai privati, per finanziare la messa in mare dei dissuasori. Ci siamo mossi in tutta Italia e all’estero ottenendo il sostegno economico di tanti cittadini. Sono nostri sostenitori, ad esempio, i gruppi di acquisto solidale”.

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 by Franco Barattini, presidente of 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 now been sculpted and what is effectively an underwater sculpture park is in the process of being lowered into the water 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.

Three of those blocks of marble were transported into Piazza Angelio in Barga Vecchia during the summer of 2104 (articles here and here) and the Roman sculptor, Massimo Catalani worked away chiselling into the marble.

What started out as a single project gradually metamorphosed into a social event with other artists and passers picking up hammers and chisels and lending a hand at chiselling into the hard marble surface.

This morning these blocks were lowered into the Mediterranean Sea just offshore of Talamone.

#lacasadeipesci #talamone #barga #massimocatalani

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