“Athos. Appunti dalla Montagna Santa” is a project I developed with my father, Moreno. He had the chance to visit Mount Athos in the January of 1985, driven by his passionate research on the tradition and symbolism of Byzantine icons. Thanks to special permits, hostile weather conditions and some lucky encounters he could travel from one monastery to the other much longer than the usual 4-days visitor permit would allow. Mount Athos or Aghion Oros, the Holy Mountain, is in fact a semi-autonomous republic located in the furthest Chalkidiki peninsula, on the Aegean sea. It is populated by around two thousand orthodox monks (Greeks, Russians, Bulgarians, Serbians, Romanians, etc) divided between twenty monasteries or living as hermits . The area takes its name from its southern mountain, Athos, a 2033 meters steep cliff rising straight from the sea. After obtaining a series of permits and visas the only way to access the peninsula is a daily boat connection from Ouranopolis, “City of the Sky”. All female creatures, animal or human, are forbidden to enter the Athos territory, as it is already consecrated to the Virgin Mary. These unusual facts together with a deep respect for the eastern orthodox tradition and rituals, the practice of Hesychasm and a constant presence of sacred and miraculous events in the daily life make this place the very last bulwark of the Byzantine world. The stories and anecdotes my father brought back from his trip have accompanied my childhood, consolidating characters, atmospheres and places I have never really seen myself. Now, more than 25 years later, we have come together to recreate some of those evocative sensations and to play with the boundaries of memory and imagination.
“Athos. Appunti dalla Montagna Santa” is a 48 pages full color volume published by Editori del Grifo in Italy
you can purchase a copy on their online shop