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    To know where you’re going you have to know where you’re from    

Serafini Island is the smallest village of the Municipality of Monticelli d'Ongina, in the province of Piacenza, characterized by the particular division in the middle between the administrative border of the regions of Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.

This small detail actually hides a great history linked to the strong landscape changes of the Great River, the Po, which has always characterized the island as a place in continuous evolution.

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Landscape evolution of Serafini Island



"The Serafini Island of my memories is a fair and industrious village of the Municipality of Monticelli d'Ongina. At the time the rural economy prevailed, composed of different farms, with different sizes, which gave work to numerous family groups. In addition to the production of fodder for livestock feed (meat and milk), the most common crops were cereals (wheat, maize), vegetables (garlic, tomatoes), industrial plants such as sugar beet and tobacco.

I also remember the cultivation of peanuts, in a plot of land right in front of the grandparents' house, and the numerous poplar plantations for the production of timber and timber products. Among other activities (blacksmith, blacksmith, carpenter and cobbler), the sawmill Fermi was the operator of greater weight. Fishing was also used as a (sometimes exclusive) source of family livelihood."

Historical memories of

Gianni Cattivelli

"The river in Serafini Island has always been a source of livelihood. Apart from the professional fisherman, in every family, two or three times a week, someone would go fishing using the Ligonsa (large net) and the fish was partly consumed by the family and partly sold in neighboring countries, which were reached by bicycle.
The canyons (which included Savino, Speranza and Bonissima) that today are cultivated intensively, were once forests of willow trees from which were obtained the poles used in vineyards.

Between the years 30/’50 of the island was inhabited by about 600 people, located in the various farms. On a weekly basis two walkers crossed it on their horse-drawn bars (a half later replaced by a truck), and brought to the resident families the most disparate products, which they could not produce themselves.

The beginning of the construction of the hydroelectric power plant (in 1956) did not bring any particular changes in the lives of the inhabitants of the island, since they were not involved professionally in this work; In addition, part of the local population had already moved to the village, to Monticelli, for example the new generations after marriage.

Historical memories of

Valentino Cattivelli



Gilles Clément defines the Third Landscape as the set of remnants, that is those elements of landscape to which no function is given, which derive from the abandonment of a previously exploited land. They can come from different environments: urban, agricultural, rural, industrial and include any type of ecosystem that can ensure the maintenance of diversity.
The main characteristic with which the Third Landscape can be defined is in fact that it is a meeting point of diversity.

In more general terms, Serafini Island has in common many features that bring it closer to the reality of the Third Landscape and can also be considered a residue, an abandoned territory that derives from a will aimed at the intensive exploitation not only of the agricultural soil, but also of the river that surrounds it.

The result is that of a place without its own identity in which coexist a series of different realities that together generate a confused and uneven landscape.