by Stefano Rotta - Credits: Gazzetta di Parma 


"I was born on the back of the fish. " An old padano neither Lombard nor Emilian. Islander man, was born in the reeds of Torricella del Pizzo, came into the world with three hundred and sixty degrees of water around, to go to town it needs to take a boat. Like in Africa, yes: giving oar to meet the other children at school.

Alberto Barbieri was born in 1922,  had not yet been channeled, hollowed out and straightened the river. Oxbow lakes, islands, full bore land to the farmers of Lombard, making them rich, and even more their masters. What a surprise, after the flood that enter the house, they had more field.

We meet him  with a loud chirping of cicadas to the huts of Pieve Ottoville. Shadow, in the woods of Prince Meli Lupi di Soragna, and the construction was made with love and craftsmanship, where young and old can be found making their huts, on Sunday. He looks at the river. He wears white tank top, he is tan, he has still a greek body, although he is ninety. Look the river and he says, "I was born in the middle." He grew up in an isolated island. "I can feel that this river is something that will never forget." When the words weigh, there is no need to make such philosophy. "My parents were renters. On the island there were horses, steer and oxen. The oxbow lakes was full of fish. With reeds, fiber to make chairs. They were cut, they were dry. Sometimes Po came off  and reach the land. The flood of  '51, I remember it well. With high water, they took many hares, because they were trapped.


 At school, in Torricella del Pizzo, on the bank of Cremona  the river in front of Torricella of Sissa, the little Alberto went there with a wooden boat. He was only seven years old and he was alone. For a lifetime he has dedicated on fishing tench and catfish, he went also in Taro, it was a half paradise, towards the confluence with the great river.

"I was born at home." With the song of titmice as the first lullaby. From Great Albert will become a gamekeeper. "At twelve I was a poacher," he smiles, and in coro all his friends laugh, it's an old story, You born arsonist and you die fireman. He has two children and two grandchildren. He tells us a fast sections and with that  few words, a fascinate his life. Eventually, open and close parenthesis, it is the period of war. "I was a prisoner in England. I was always working in the country, in Scotland, Birmingham and Cornwall. They took me from El Mechili May 3, 1943. I was lucky to take home my skin, in the midst of bombs. We were very badly armed, with a mortar of 45 in the desert. Pulling hand is the best thing to do. I came back 30 November 1946 ".

The hoopoe to the massacres environmental. The late twentieth century in the river. "It fell down everything, even carrion." But he really loves that river. Posing for pictures, he says, "it will be always in my heart because it is something unforgettable."