BOTTEGA BOTTONE

A few days before the government announced the start of the lockdown, I had started a photographic project which, due to the impossibility of meeting strangers and leaving the house except for amply justifiable reasons, it had become impossible for me to continue.

Fortunately for me, I had just in time to come across a character who will be unforgettable for me, half hidden in his little shop, realm of memories and small treasures.

Yes, because Salvatore Vinciguerra, for his friends Bottone, is no longer there. Last June (2020), while on his way to work with his essential bicycle, a motorcyclist overwhelmed him, depriving the city of Caserta of a truly remarkable fellow citizen, not only for its history, but perhaps and above all for its temperament .

Here's how it went that day in late February.

After I introduced myself and asked for permission to enter and photograph, I found a welcoming smile, and a lot, a lot of desire to tell about oneself.

Bottone's story was a story of resilience which, despite having begun almost a century ago, is as relevant as ever. Salvatore was 88 years old and had always breathed marble dust. He had inherited the profession of his father, sculptor and restorer of the marble in the Chapel

Palatina and the statues of the park of the Royal Palace of Caserta. First of nine brothers, in the afternoon

he worked and studied at night hidden in the cemetery, the only place where he could find some

silence. With a sturdy physique and a smoking character, as a boy he didn't hold back if he was there

fight and, while still a student, he was cast in a film with Amedeo Nazzari shot right at the

Royal Palace of Caserta. His eyes lit up as he remembered those happy days when an actress had

he turned his flattering attentions. After graduating, for a long time he had worked as an inspector at the Department of Ecology of the Municipality of Caserta, continuing to carry on the family business as well . In addition to large carved gravestones, he enjoyed decorating small marble tablets, one of them is even on display in Lourdes, he told me proudly.

Every day with his inevitable bicycle he continued to go to his shop by now a meeting place for friends who often and willingly went to greet him or entertained themselves for a coffee.

He told me he had the dream of teaching his ancient art to new generations, not having been able to pass it on to any of the three children who had taken different paths.

Salvatore Vinciguerra was part of a generation of men made of a pasta that seems to me to be disappearing, so I tried to collect his memories by transforming them into 'visual memories' resistant to time and pan demie.