This time the story begins in a forest, where a golden, mild light playfully flickers along the colourful bushes, and the fresh air carries the unmistakable scent of mushrooms and earth. In these pages we will encounter the olden autumns of herdsmen and gods; the medieval autumns of merchants, peasants, knights, monks and shepherds; the modern ones of men and women, each carrying his or her own load of memories, desires, adventures, and knowledge. Autumn is a bit like going home when the journey is over: the elated enthusiasm of spring is distant, and the serene fullness of summer is also behind us. Now come the long days of rain and fog, enlivened by harvest rites, wine, and late-ripening fruits decorating our tables. The evenings are marked by festive gatherings, but also by fear: in autumn, the dead and monsters are always eager to re-appear. Yet the most beautiful autumn is the intimate, furtive one, fed by childhood memories, spent in some faraway woodland, set ablaze by red and yellow leaves.
Alessandro Vanoli is an expert on Mediterranean History.