The Tagliamento as a Canvas

2 min read
Credits: Patrizia Brunetti
Credits: Patrizia Brunetti

Two clear images stand out in my mind when I think of the Tagliamento.

The first one is the smile of Roberto Zanini.

A scholar rooted in naturalistic studies, a politician by vocation, and an educational leader by profession, Zanini harbored an unrestrained passion for the Tagliamento. His home was anchored – it still is today – to the riverbanks he traversed with a loving gaze, occupied – at times concerned – with listening to its breath, harmonizing with its rhythm.

For Zanini, the preservation of the Tagliamento did not embody the immobility of nostalgia; he experienced the Tagliamento as an essential focus of the man of science who couldn’t help but educate, who couldn’t help but nurture awareness. At the heart of urban planning, territorial design, possible reforms, and dreams of interconnected communities through always eco-friendly infrastructures and services directed towards individuals, the Tagliamento, with its stones, its herbs, its shallows, its floods, the age-old tale of the history of the transformations of the lands devoted to it, had been observed, photographed, measured, and weighed by him, with the zeal of a scientist, with the love of a son.

The second image involves me.

It’s me, many years ago, a young teacher, driving from Medio Friuli to the mountains to reach the school for my first year of temporary assignments. Darkness turned into dawn beside the Tagliamento, a road devoured in a rush, attempting and reattempting an approach, a launch of the topic to be covered with experiments of open classes, parallel classes, encounters of souls with colleagues known for just a few months and always delighted to meet every morning. Often it was dark again when the Tagliamento unfolded on the way back, cradling beloved lands. Lands that in the classroom spoke of history and art, of written and spoken texts, of reasoning, and sensations.

And that water returned home with me, with my thoughts and aspirations. Today, the sound is that of the sweetest memories of a job that I continue to weave according to the times and ways of lands that inhabit the Tagliamento in search of historical-geographical identity.

Sonia Zanello