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when summer was outdoor cinema

June 2023- Number 23
when summer was outdoor cinema

Interview by Marta Nicolazzo

Forte is home. A sentiment shared by many, and joining the chorus is the voice of actress Elena Lietti, whose latest appearance is alongside Nanni Moretti in his most recent film and contender at Cannes, Il Sol dell’Avvenire.

From Lombardia, Elena came to Versilia for the first time with her family, summer visitors to the area for generations. For a young girl, those were times for vacationing, times for “first times” collected one after another like tiny charms for a bracelet: the tight-knit group of friends, the first boyfriend, the outings to dance or see a concert – unaccompanied by parents because “the summer was (almost) ‘anything goes’: you did what you weren’t allowed to at home.”

Versilia is a quiet place, where exploration was (and is) synonymous with freedom; it’s a territory of first nights, including Elena’s debut at the cinema. “One of my most ‘sensorial’ memories of Versilia is outdoor cinema: Aurora and Eden Park in Fiumetto, Principe in Forte dei Marmi. Stupendous, shared experiences,” Elena muses. “The very first time ‘under the stars’, with my mother, I saw the animated feature Snow White. After that, I was with my friends, laughing like crazy or dying of fright (depending on the film), perched on those wooden chairs, waiting for intermission to go get popcorn, sweaters tied across our shoulders because “it will get chilly later,” and, when the weather was threatening, armed with big black trash bags to whip out at a moment’s notice, like shields, to protect ourselves from the rain.”

Nights out that Elena recalls with a hint of nostalgia, like the kilometers she clocked up biking with her dad in Versilia’s mountains, the (extreme) feat of reaching Sant’Anna di Stazzema, the regenerating rides through the olive groves toward Capezzano Monte to enjoy the indescribable view. 

Versilia abounds in favorite places for Elena – La Versiliana, with its cultural debates at the Caffè, the Capannina di Franceschi with its evergreen allure – and sights, like the view of the mountains from the sea: a photograph that once seen, stays with you forever.

Forte is a place for collecting memories; for reviewing them, for passing them on to the new generations. Elena returns here periodically, sometimes to study her scripts for films, the theater, TV. Here, in summer, she studied her part in The Eight Mountains, winner of the Jury Prize at the 75th Cannes Film Festival and Best Film at the last David di Donatello; before that, her role as Sole Pietromarchi, Italy’s First Lady in Il Miracolo, the TV series produced by Sky Italia: “That character, written by Niccolò Ammaniti, with her infinite facets and such intelligence, is still right here in my heart.”

Most of all, though, she loves the daily routine that turns into a soothing ritual: “Coffee at the Giardino, a trip to see Stefano at the Libreria del Forte, a walk along the waterline with my sister, a chat with Giulia, my summer best friend; days at the Versilia with Paola and Franco, affectionate fans, and everyone at the beach club: by now, we’re one big family!” Routines, patterns to repeat, to renew “next time,” we promise ourselves every year before we leave, with a long last look at the Apuans. Because Forte is home – and home is always a wonderful place to be.