Davide Sapienza

davide_sapienzaWriter and geopoet, translator of classics (Jack London, E.A. Poe, Barry Lopez) and author of essays, after 20 years in music writing biographies of rock musicians, as well as for television and radio, in 2004 he published the psychogeographic journal I diari di Rubha Hunish followed by La valle di Ognidove, La strada era l’acqua, La musica della neve, Scrivere la natura and Camminando. In 2012, he founded the “Rights of Nature Italy”. In March 2016, he published a collection of poetry for Feltrinelli Zoom Il durante eterno delle cose. His awards include “Le Ghiande” by Cinemambiente. Currently he is working on an in-the-field literary geopoetic project for a national park in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, the first of its kind in the world. He has been living in the Bergamo Alps since 1990.


Cormac Cullinan

Author and lawyer specialising in environmental law, director of Cullinan & Associates Inc., South Africa’s leading law firm specialising in this sector. Former anti-apartheid activist, he has been involved in law and environmental politics since 1992, especially in the interactions between humankind and the environment. He is known to the general public especially for his book, Wild Law, as well as for a number of commissioned works for the FAO of the UN. In 2008, he was featured among the most famous “champions of the environment” in “Planet Savers: 301 extraordinary environmentalists”, which lists the people who have contributed the most to promoting sustainable development, alongside the likes of Buddha, Saint Francis of Assisi and Henry Thoreau.

Marco Paci

Full professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forest Management Systems (GESAAF) at the University of Florence, where he teaches Ecology in the Schools of Agriculture and Achitecture. His scientific work focuses on a number of aspects of forest ecology and management. A parallel thread is humankind’s imaginary relations with the forest. Publications include Ecologia Forestale (Il sole24ore, Edagricole), a number of historical-anthropological essays on the forest in the collective imagination of the West (‘L’uomo e la foresta’, ‘Meltemi’, ‘Le Foreste della mente’, ‘Altravista’, ‘Le radici del pensiero’, ‘Robin’) and two children’s books, L’Ecologia siamo noi (Dedalo) and I rifiuti e l’ambiente (Dedalo). Since 2012, he has been a member of the scientific committee for the regional park of Migliarino San Rossore Massaciuccoli.

Piergiacomo Pagano

Senior researcher at the ENEA, he began his career at the CNEN in the field of radio toxicology, where rats were used for experimenting. He came to question the legitimacy of such procedures and founded a laboratory of cellular cultures as a result. In the 1990s, in broadening the scope of his interests to the environment in general, he participated in a number of environment ministry projects and devoted himself to study in the field of environmental philosophy. He has written more than one hundred articles and a number of books, including ‘Filosofia ambientale’, 2002; ‘Alla scoperta dell’Uomo’, 2005, ranked third in the Premio Majella 2006; ‘La Politica Propositiva’, 2012; ‘Storia del pensiero biologico evolutivo’, 2013. In 2014 he was a visiting scholar at North Texas University.

Barry Lopez

Considered the number one American author on nature and landscapes (the Guardian defined him “probably the best landscape writer in world literature”), he has received numerous accolades, including the National Book Award for essays with Arctic Dreams. His work includes Una geografia profonda (translated and edited by Davide Sapienza, unpubilshed in English), and “Of Wolves and Men”, a longseller in the United States and finalist for the National Book Award. He collaborates with a number of magazines, including Harper’s, Granta, The Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, The Paris Review and Manoa in the US and elsewhere. His work has been translated into numerous languages and features in dozens of anthologies. He lives in the Cascade Mountains, Oregon, with his wife, the author Debra Gwartney.

Franco Michieli

Born 1962, geographer, many years the editor of Alp and RdM magazines, writer, explorer and International Guarantor of Mountain Wilderness, he is one of Italy’s leading experts in the field of long-distance treks on foot. With only one or two companions, he traverses wild country without GPS or radio transmission devices, maps, compasses or watches, in absolute isolation in nature. He has published about his experiences, La vocazione di perdersi, and he holds courses and seminars for professionals and non-professionals. He has written and talked about his experiences in hundreds of articles and conferences, as well as in the film La via invisibile. In 2014, with his book Huascaran 1993. Verso l’alto, verso l’altro he won the prestigious Premio Gambrinus “G. Mazzotti” award, one of the most important awards for mountain literature.

Sandro Bassi

Born 1961 in Faenza, he is an environmental tour guide for the region of Emilia Romagna. As author and co-author he has edited some 30 works on the territory of Romagna, mostly on naturalistic-geographical themes, from monumental trees to speleology, the flora of the Vena del Gesso regional park and itineraries (on foot, by bike and on the of the ways of the Foreste Sacre, including the “Dino Campana” path) of the Parco Nazionale Foreste Casentinesi. He lives and works in Faenza, the “old town, red-walled and turreted” sung rather than described in ‘La Notte’, the Foreword to the Canti Orfici by Dino Campana.

Gerardo Mastrullo

Gerardo has been working with and among books as a librarian, bookseller and editor for 35 years. After directing the linguistics sections (dictionaries and multimedia products) at Garzanti and Utet, he took on the role of director general at Red Edizioni. Since 2006, he has devoted himself full-time to his own publishing company, La Vita Felice, founded in 1992, where he focuses new translations of talented authors from around the world who have been either forgotten or neglected. He taught editorial design and techniques on EU-funded specialisation courses for many years, and since 2014 he has been a lecturer on the ‘Masterbook’ professional editing degree course at the IULM University of Milan.

Pier Luigi Luisi

A graduate in Chemistry from the Scuola Normale di Pisa, since 1980 he has been Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry in the department of Material Science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETHZ), where he directed the Biopolymers section. He is interested in the interface between science and humanism, and in 1985 he founded the Cortona Week, an interdisciplinary residential week for doctoral students. Since 1987, he has been a member of the Mind and Life Institute, the dialogue between science and Buddhism founded by Francisco Varela and the Dalai Lama. He recently wrote “The Systems View of Life” with Fritjof Capra (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and published the second edition of his “The Emergence of Life” (Cambridge University Press) in the summer of 2016. He has authored over 500 works in international magazines and a dozen books, including novels and books for children.

Sergio Mantovani

Naturalist and geographer, for the past 20 years he has devoted himself to observing and studying fauna and has collaborated with universities and local authorities on wildlife monitoring projects. He has written over 150 articles and reports for major national journals in the sector such Airone, Oasis and Geo. He has written numerous books on naturalistic and geographical themes, and he has won the Premio Mario Pastore Giornalista award for the environmental, young adults category, and twice the Premio Nazionale di Letteratura Naturalistica Parco della Majella. He came third in the Malta Tourism Press Awards 2011 for a geographical reportage on the Maltese islands and second in the 5th International Journalism Award of Valais (Switzerland). He was on the jury at the 21st edition of the Sondrio Festival, an international park documentaries exhibition.

Arianna De Micheli

Freelance journalist, she was born in Milan in 1974 and moved with her family Lago Maggiore at three years of age. After a life lived in the woods, she was catapulted into city life at university age, and currently lives between Modena and Verbania. Always on the look out for synonyms and always faithful to subjunctives, she defines herself as “curious about everything but expert in nothing”, and busy sniffing people out like a dog (her fetish-animal) and looking at the world through childlike eyes. She considers herself Milton’s best friend (that’s the name of her Corsican sheepdog), and her own worst enemy. Books for her are like Linus’ blanket. She loves spiders and scolopendrae, playing in the mud, chasing worms, conversation with bats. She hopes to be reborn a fish. Alternatively, a migrating bird. Perhaps a wild goose. Or maybe a pied stilt. Or a blue-footed booby.

Matteo Meschiari

Born in Modena in 1968, he teaches at the University of Palermo where he is an Associate Professor. He studies landscape in literature, wilderness, walking and space as perceived and lived in various cultures of ethnographic interest. He has published his research with Sellerio, Liguori and Quodlibet. In 1997, he founded the Studio Italiano di Geopoetica, a branch of the Institut International de Géopoétique established by Scottish poet Kenneth White. Since 2000, he has worked on the composition and oral transmission of an epic poem called Terra (later Terra Nova), which tells the geological and biological history of the planet. In 2016, with Maurizio Corrado, he founded Campobase, a Narrative Company. He writes essays, prose and poetry.

Emilio Varrà

In 1996 he founded Hamelin, a cultural association in the field of children’s literature, to promote reading, organise exhibitions and events on cartoons and animation, including an international cartoon festival which has now reached its 10th edition. Author and co-author of books dedicated to the works of writers such as Twain and Kipling, cartoon writers such as Munoz, Altan and Giardino, the analysis of childhood metaphor, the development of children’s literature over the past 20 years in Italy and the language of comic books. He is one of the founders of the magazine ‘Hamelin. Storie, figure, pedagogia’, and a frequent contributor on magazines such as ‘Lo straniero’, ‘Gli Asini’, ‘Li.B.e.R.’ and ‘Infanzia’. He teaches cartoon and illustration at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna.

Carlo Ferrari

Born in Bologna in 1944 he was a Professor of Botany at the Universities of Pavia and Bologna. His scientific work focuses on the analysis of plant biodiversity from the genetic level up to the level of environmental systems. Member of international and national scientific societies, he has been president of the Italian Plant Science Society and director of the Interdepartmental Environmental Sciences Research Centre at the University of Bologna. Alongside his scientific research, he has been actively involved with books and articles in raising awareness about the value of biological conservation as a central theme in environmental management. They include Biodiversità: dal genoma al paesaggio (Zanichelli, 2010), and L’ecologia del paesaggio (Mulino, 2013).

Luca Raffaelli

Considered one of Italy’s leading experts in the field of cartoons and animation, he is a journalist and essay writer, and since 1994 he has written the Nuvolette column in Lanciostory as well as contributing articles on animation and cartoons to XL, the monthly magazine published by La Repubblica, Il Venerdì di Repubblica and La Repubblica, for which he has also edited numerous series on the topic of cartoons. He has also written numerous books and essays, including Le anime disegnate. Il pensiero nei cartoon da Disney ai giapponesi a reference manual for anyone interested in animation in Italy, and he has been the artistic director of Castelli Animati, the International Animation Cinema Festival in Genzano and Romics, the comics and animation festival in Rome. As a scriptwriter, he has collaborated with numerous directors, notably Giulio Cingoli and Dario Fo in 2002.

Robert Norris

Born in 1974 in Modena, Robert is an independent researcher and long-term traveller who since early childhood has been exploring internal and external landscapes as a writer, translator, walker, teacher and practitioner of English language and oriental arts. He holds degrees in Literature and Linguistics from the Universities of Aberdeen and Oxford, and his translations in the fields of Italian Renaissance Aristotelianism, German Enlightenment Literature and Philosophy, mediaeval weapons and Italian gastro-oenology have been published by Brill, SUNY Press, Laguna Edizioni and Gambero Rosso. Author also of environmental essays, creative prose, prose poetry and poetry, his work has appeared on the Permaculture Research Institute website, the Rebelle Society online journal and the Bologna-based sustainable living newspaper, ‘Vivere Sostenibile’. He lives with his wife, author and spiritual teacher Shelly Sharon, in Zürich, Switzerland.

Fabio Liverani

A professional photographer, he has collaborated with some of the most prestigious magazines in the sector, including National Geographic Italia, Geo Magazine, Oasis, Focus, Mondo sommerso, Aqua, Ocean Realm, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Arca and Segni nel Tempo. He was editor-in-chief of Hydra, an Italian magazine for aquarium lovers, he collaborated with Grazia Neri and reported for the De Agostini iconography centre. He is represented by English agency Nature Picture Library, with which he has published in newspapers and books around Europe and worldwide. He has held seminars and workshops through the Photofarm school of photography and the international teaching platform, the Manfrotto School of Xcellence. His current research is primarily on the theme of photographic language and the reading of images.

Martin Vlach

Martin is a Sociology and Media student from the Czech Republic. He came to fame thanks to a series of surreal photographs he created 2013. They show solitary figures living in black-and-white sfumato landscapes where the artist uses minimal visual elements to create attractive, dream-like atmospheres. He uses mist to erase circumstantial detail, thus leaving his subjects alone on a uniform grey background. Martin’s images transmit a sense of melancholic suspense, but his subjects are not sad. Alone, but not lonely.

Marcello Rossi

44 years old, father to Libero, he lives and works in Mantua. An amateur, self-taught photographer, he takes only analogic photographs using 35 mm or medium format lenses, but he also explores Polaroid and the so-called pinhole technique, characterised by a practically unlimited field with results that are extremely difficult to predict, and therefore particularly interesting from an artistic standpoint. He only uses vintage, old and very very old cameras and film which is almost always expired and present clear defects when developed. In an epoque dominated by digital and virtual media, he insists with a sort of romantic stubbornness to develop his own black-and-white prints in his own home. His are the images that accompany the Bosco Fontana article in this number.

Pietro Bassi

Born in Bologna in 1979, Pietro lives in the plains of Budrio, province of Bologna, but each day he enjoys the view of the Alto Apennino mountains. After studying agricultural sciences at school he took a degree in Modern Literature with a dissertation on trees and people in the works of Mario Rigoni Stern, where he examined people’s relationship with trees in the West. Pietro is a mixed pedigree of earth, trees, animals and human stories. He works for the publishing house Zanichelli, where, among many other projects, he has created and edited Scrivere la natura by Davide Sapienza and Franco Michieli, and Scrivere una canzone by Alfredo Rapetti Mogol and Giuseppe Anastasi. With his deep respect for trees and his profession of creating books, he has never published a book of his own.

Simona Piccolini

Primarily an illustrator who portrays and narrates the world of animals. “I believe creativity can be a tribute to the creativity of wildlife and whatever elements of wildness exists in us. It is a way of sharing and celebrating our union with all living beings. Maybe art, in a circular fashion, can participate in the process by giving back to the world images of the world, since each image that contributes to our existence and our various forms of culture arises from a series of relations interwoven with all living beings.” She does everything entirely by hand, where possible mixing and spreading the colours with her fingers, using as a base anything that is commonly referred to as ‘waste’ (boxes of various kinds, widths and sizes).


Filippo Macchi

Photographer and traveller, he has made walking is ideal practice for achieving his goals. From the sealed roads of cities to the pathways of mountains, he narrates the landscape and the environment with curiosity and objectivity. His photography narrates the landscape that is. He loves the black and white form as an expression of the purest photography, since 2010 has been working on the ambitious Ma.Ni. Adventure photography project with his wife Lavinia. Currently, he is collaborating with other local professional photographers and he is focusing on two important projects, one ‘Far over the misty mountains’, focuses on landscape, and another, ‘Reading, the art of reading’ on street photography.

Dimitri Marchant

Alongside his main profession in the fashion industry, he has made a home in photography too. “It is as if I view the world through a camera. The things I shoot are no more than my daily life, but when I observe them and capture them through the lens, they touch me, and this process of observation is a constant source of energy. Even photographing subjects that are apparently obvious or insignificant never fails to stimulate my curiosity. Seeing the sun come up fifty times means to experience fifty different emotions. Ultimately what I am looking to do is to live in intimate relationship with reality.”

Martin Rak

Born in 1984 in Prague, he received his first camera from his grandfather when he was six years old. He loves spending his free time in nature or travelling: “It is a beautiful sensation to find oneself at the top of a cliff in the silence of the morning, when the first light embraces landscape. I try to capture this atmosphere and to share it with people.” Recently, he has been particularly attracted by black and white photography, which along with long-exposure photography “allows me to distance myself from the real world to achieve my creative intention.” Since 2012, his work has received numerous accolades, including one 1st, two 2nd and four 3rd places at the International Photo Awards IP. This year, he was the winner of the Czech National Prize in the context of Sony World Photography Awards 2016.