Guardian forever

Memories and emotions of those in the tonnara are at home

by Elisabetta Balduzzi


"I was just a boy when I first entered the Florio Plant. I was a painter. Mr. Parodi, the owner, welcomed me as a son and he always loved me the way he loved all his eight hundred employees in the golden years of tonnara. Any of us wanting a pay raise? "Why do you want to turn to trade unions? Tell me, and as soon as I can I will satisfy you", he used to say.

Since then, far 1962, fifty-four years have passed throughout the island. Favignana is no longer the same after the closure of the plant. It emptied of people and feelings. "My eight children were born and raised inside the plant. They have left as well, but I'm still here and I keep living here, working as a guardian and accompanying tourists around every day. Everyone knows me, I've been interviewed many times, including by Linea Verde, and I also made Maruzzella tuna advertising. "

Rather than asking him questions, I'd like to have the time machine to go back with him to the time when the plant worked full-time, in order to see and to live with my eyes the way the workers’ sweat mixed with salt and with tunas blood. Peppe Nue knows that his own memory is in good hands. His words lay his soul bare and he almost seems jealous of it, but perhaps he is right to be. I thank Peppe and I tell him goodbye and he thanks me while he closes the door he opened and closed millions of times and that he will continue to guard, everlasting guardian of Favignana. 


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