At the Tortuga 1968

Before the Liceo Giulio Cesare  in Roma , behind the Coppedè  quarter,  where at the end of the Sixties was opened the Piper, the legendary night club,  it was set the meeting point  of the youngs that, teenagers as they were, believed and firmly thought  to change the world. After school we met all together at the Tortuga:  it was the period of the Citroen  2CV, removed the car doors and replaced with small chain preventing the falls, they were parked near the Harley Davindson and the Triumph of the movie “The Wild One”.

                            Pictures of  late Marlon Brando from the movie dated 1954 
Neckerchiefs bound tigh to the neck recalled the rebel Marlon Brando and with the first cold weather of the season we wore suède and sheepskin jackets, symbol of incipient hippies…the girls wore bell-bottoms trousers so close-fitting that seemed painted on! They were all tailored by the same tailor, Giorgio Birindelli that, french chalk in a hand, knew how to interpret the dream of those dancers in evolution, followers of the  “Pied Piper of Hammelin”…

                                                   1969: 18th of  february dressing  a sheepskin jacket
Sergio Baldi, Gino Castaldo, Mario Tulli, Marchetto Sambiagio, Serena Dandini da Sylva, Pierluigi Nanni, Sabina Ciuffini and then Paolo Pietrangeli, Carlo Lacovara…to quote any,  they were the mates of those morning and afternoon roman meeting. Rarely we had money, or better hardly ever, and the owner of the Bar Tortuga, where the best ham sandwiches in Rome were served, granted us the luxury to mark up…and,  the more important thing: he gave us trust, believed in us and this was enough to make  the Tortuga our ideal meeting place.


The Tortuga, the name of that local recalled in our minds the meeting place of young pirates, escaped from the system, removed or better banished from the middle-class society  that could live without written laws, obliged only to the common respect…. It was our Never Never Land  from where having our lifes leave…
The Algida advertising agents came to shot a commercial “carosello” and took us all in bulk!
On the shores of Ostia, in the pinewood we found ourselves to earn unlooked-for money eating a strawberry ice-cream…what was better? Coming home we took the plastic belt used to keep the school-books together and hung it up…we left for a new life!
In the evening, then, the owner of the Piper , the “Pied Piper ” Giancarlo Bornigia , in confirmation of our charism let us go in without paying among the public of his local together with Mita Medici, Claudio Baglioni, Mal, Mita Cattaneo while Patty Pravo, Rita Pavone  already performed on the stage….
We felt important, innovative, we were part of a groupe, the boys of the Tortuga, we were pushed by the desire of sharing evrything among us, of loving each other without an exact motive only because our  likings and desires resemble each other…

                                        Hendrix and Joan Baetz                                                  Donovan
It was the period of Donovan, Dylan, Hendrix, Joan Baetz…we dreamt behind the words of “hey Mister Tamburin man play a song for me…in a jngle jungle morning I can follow you”….  A world made only of lost children that follows the  Pied Piper of Hammelin  towards life.
Now I know: nearly everyone of us youths, me too, came from devastated families…few exceptions…maybe Serena, Gino, …but we had no more reference values. As a matter of fact we didn’t know where to go and, in our heart of hearts, we wanted someone who showed it to us.

Sometimes one of us was approached by some slapdash exploiter, then a member of the Tortuga Boys came out, tried the retrieval of the prey and turned away the enemy!
I had found my way to the heart of a boy older than me, he came and fetch me on coming out of  Giulio Cesare with his black Mustang  supplied with small wheels on the rear mudguards useful to let it skid when, shooting off with a squeal of tyres, lifted up the muzzle of the car for the delight of those who were present.

                                                       Mustang the Mithical
I felt already a star: I had the lover who came to fetch me to the Lyceum, what to wish more?
Sergio Baldi took care of speaking to Dario Di Cesare, of turning him away…of avoiding that I wasted my verginity with one who, then, would have gone away as his thoroughbred Mustang…reclining his head backwards, this last yet absolutely lacking in wheels.. I had lost a love and found a brother in love with me…during all this period of adolescence I’d have been well sheltered by his watchful eye…dear  Serghiei why haven’t I had you always with me? What a lot of superficial experiences I’d have avoided…. in the years to come ….
During that happy period nothing had the power to stop our desires: we played truant also when it was raining to go to the beach, to Fregene, to run on the wet sand…with umbrellas on one hand and the portable record player in the other…

                                                         Running on the rain
As students of a classical Lyceum we began to know the myth of Moravia, Pasolini, Kerouak, Tolkien… of the misfits and,  for a kind of attraction, we tried to be like them, without having yet  a clear vision of what it could  really mean. In  1967 in Sanremo the songwriter Luigi Tenco had committed suicide, in ’68 the number of  italian young people between 15 and  20 years of age had never been so large:  a good six million young people… these were the numbers on which the politicians could trust to begin a students’ revolt.

The three musketeers Enzetto Sergio and me

We spent our time telling the stories of our lifes, our discomforts, the particulars that had fascinated us. I repeated the tales  heard from my mother on her life in Lihtuania before the tragic second world war: she lived in Zorawano near Vilnius in a big house heated by tiled stoves and samovar always lit. Peculiar characteristic, my grandfather before going out to  a dinner based on vodka covered his stomach taking two spoons of oil as  an extreme preventive measure.
Much snow, much ice where to skate with her three brothers and three sisters.

                                                                     View of Vilnius
The rejoicing arrived when on the grandfather’s lands there were the transit of the Russian gipsies,  the mujik. Whole families were sheltered in exchange for music, dance and shows: great players of violin and  skilled dancers exchanged their art with the received hospitality. They were the tumblers of life, they drove it from smallholding  to smallholding cheering up the evenings with dances, sings and acrobatics, somebody at sunset went up the roof and near the lightning conductor in the shape of rooster marked the end of the day with a playing of violin anticipating  the nightly delights. Just as in the movie  “Fiddler on the roof”, other main point of the worldwide cinematography.

                                               Fiddler                                       Play-bill
The art of the exchange, of the barter, of the possibility of living dignifiedly offering one’s own knowledge, one’s own skill…nothing else. The idea filled our young hearts with melancholy…was it possibile to do anything to recover that time swept away by a murderous war?
Finally during the first part of the Seventies in Rome a particolar circus, half french and half canadian,  had brought back to life that lost world

                                                     Acrobats from the Sun
Le Circe du Soleil, le Grand Magic Circus offered again the power to imagination filling a small big top of those movements of acrobats without time, that spoke a language made of the idioms of all the languages, incomprehensible and result of imagination, recalling that they were the heirs of those gipsy artists, without fixed abode and outcome of a hotchpotch of many races, of many dialects. Every time they arrived my heart was filling of joy and still today I don’t loose a show of theirs:  always present scraping my hands applauding them, thankful to see surviving what I feared it could have remained only a memory in the eyes of my mother as a baby…

                               Play-bill of Magic Circus                            My friend Cesare last year in Sardinia

A year before the classical lyceum, during the Christmas holydays, I had moved to Monesi in the mountains to my father. I loved this secluded place on the Colle di Tenda on the border with France, with Briga Marittima on one side of the french mountain and Upega in italian territory.

                                                                      Ski sloper in Monesi
In Monesi when I was born my father had built a small hotel from the ruins of an old alpine barracks and with a chair lift and a skilift he had given life to a well-known winter ski resort …stayed in fashion at least untill the Seventies. It was possible to ski up to the edge of the houses and a fine ice rink was left lit up during the night to allow a further  evening pastime…The ideal to spend the Christmas holidays, many friends to meet with which sharing all the news and the doubts of our young age.
Here, one morning, I’ve discovered to have grown up into a woman. The chance, that lives of mathematical rules, wanted to mark my life with a further casual turning point.  Feeling me dirty of blood I went out of my room looking for comfort and clear instructions. Nobody had never spoken to me of what was happening to me, I was not ready to face that reality. For assistance I apply to the woman of my father, the teutonic Vittoria, former nanny of my cousins, who lived now as a mistress in what had been my house. She told me to go in the bathroom and wash myself very well, to put a finger inside me up to the bottom so as to clean all very well.  I don’t know if it was wickedness, rudeness or the will to repeat on my person what had happened to her as a young girl…but in the end the conclusion was the same: I had deflowered by myself, without knowing it.

                                              Horreur, je accuse : aidez moi!
People tells that who has been raped as a young will try to rape in his turn to restore a condition of normality,  to feel himself not different…nearly as if what happened to him was part and parcel of a normal life and,  reproducing the same act  to detriment of new innocents, he could see reaffirmed in some way at least his normality if not his innocence. Of course, what burns are not offences but the fact of having been involved in a not very clear affair that our common morality condemn. To be seen as different: half victim and half accomplice…But which accomplice? What can know a child, a young…. of life and its sordid plots?
I don’t know the reason that drove that woman to give me an advice so alienating, that would have had repercussions on my sexuality and on my beginning woman life. One day she’ll discuss it with her conscience, together with many other things,  it’s a bill that the innkeeper brings however life goes… therefore that day I wouldn’t be at her place for nothing in the world.

If only she had tried to talk with me, to apologize… maybe part of the damage could have been ment.

On my return in Rome during the year of lyceum and at the Tortuga, unaware of all the causes and aggravations  that act would have impressed in my life, I went on carefree savouring my youth under the watchful eye of my brotherly friend Sergio who, looking after me, carried on averting the moment in which I should have face the judgement of my first man…
The summer evenings saw us accomplices in a happening after the other, in the evening we gathered to give life to spectacular battles with eggs and ” boo by  traps” between the Tortuga and the Bar Vanni of Vigna Clara.

We took place on the 2CV with the small chains substituting the  car doors and we started hunting the enemy-friend! Then in the moments of peace we stayed all together by us in the Vescovio quarter or by them at Vigna Clara…I never stopped to admire a boy high as a beanpole, Stefano Bolzoni, wearing a pair of Clark on his feet … always having a witticism ready, fair hair but with few hairs…he took part in our plays with a Citroen Pallas that just started stood up on the shock absorbers …a myth for the period …

Stefano Bolzoni was making my heart’s beating fast every time he was approaching me, my blood filled my head and I desired anything more than can be near him. That evening my excitement was at the top: he had invited me to go with the group for a short vacation on the sea at Palinuro…we have said hello at midnight making a date for the next morning, starting at dawn.

                                                              Palinuro:view from Satellite
Unneccessary speaking of my state…coming back home I had got ready  my bathing suit and few things I thought could be useful, I had woke up my mother at dead of night to give notice of my trip and I had lay on the company, so, to reassure her …I told her that Sergio, the friend of ever,  would have been with me! So my mother had called him and he had  stood my story…putting as usual a  remedy then in the quiet ! At six I was sitting in the hall, ready to leave, at half past six I was beside myself, at seven… I lifted up the telephone receiver and rang up the source of my tachycardia:…”Hello” from the other side a sleepy voice answered. “Who are you?” and I promptly: “Eli” and he “E li  …mortaci tua e famme dormì!”( And damn you  let me sleep)What to tell?  Nothing more
Serghiei came to fetch me and we left together at ten o’clock in the morning me and my guardian angel: during that trip it didn’t happen absolutely anything,  somebody slept in the cars somebody in the tents but Stefano kept away from the young Eli and I deferred the rendez vous of my virginity, with connected problems.

In the meanwhile the Cinema had fixed its eyes on my person and inevitabile I should have deserted my friends and this turning point of the chance wouldn’t have favoured me because I lost sincere friends even if, as soon as I could, I returned to tell to the public of the Tortuga the developments of my new life.

                                                                          Play-bill of the movie
With Lorella De Luca, Duccio had a daughter Fiorenza, also working as an actrees. There she is in a picture (1996)$Foto.Grande?6265

In late summer we  had began in Rome the shots of the movie “Quella piccola differenza” with Pino Caruso in a villa near the pond at Eur. I had a very photogenic face and this let me earn easily unexpected money, that I spent at once in the shops down town.

                                                                           Vogue Magazine
I had also done a photo reportage for Vogue with the dresses by Paoletta Blue that in the end had been given to me, accomplice a friend of mine who was a shop assistant inside there…I transformed myself in a small lolita…I walked about in the cinematographic world on high wedge-heeled shoes offering my androgynous figure supported by a look framed by the first thick artificial eyelash. A nice desirable person! Now in the evening the usual meeting place was at the end of Via dei Condotti, at the Baretto, a small place in black lacquer english style, near Battistoni  where there were served free of charge small truffle and salmon sandwiches.

A roar of engine and here the destiny that was coming and fetching me…dressed in black leather, a neckerchief around his neck, black  gipsy curls framing a olive-coloured face…a searching look that left no choice: Sergio Ferrero di Muresanu, as a  vampire hungry of new lifes had in front of him his best delicacy…a brief exchange of pleasantries and I’d  already been  around Rome on the Harley’s saddle of my Rumenian prince.

                                                       My first love Sergio Ferrero with Donyale Luna
Where were you, Sergio Baldi, why weren’t you there with me? Why weren’t you there to defend me from your homonymous? That evening he took me to his house in Trastevere before the isle Tiberina…he offered me the dinner and was a real gentleman…he let me run away. It was not so during the weekend at PortoErcole: he had rent a room in a private house …more than a room it was a cubbyhole with a bed and a lamp that was hanging from the ceiling…really dreary…here, without a possibility of contradictory, he took me rapidly as if it was a due thing. Heated by the dances just finished I felt my body alive while I hugged him on the motorcycle returning from the disco the “Streghe”(Witches).. the scent of his skin was inebriating me. I knew what we were going to do and this thought was making me feel a new sensation, a strong desire to be possessed broadened my sensations, it seemed to me to feel my heart beating there, between my legs and recalling my young partner to his duty. At home he undressed me and in a moment was on me, he took me making me feel a light pain during the penetration…but it was what I wanted…to be his! Only one drop of blood on the bed testified the defloration…Good heavens:
For him I was a lier, he was a man of the world and he could recognize a virgin from one who wasn’t any more…it was of no use crying, despairing. What a bad sensation not being believed: my act of love for him hadn’t any sense and …I didn’t understand, I couldn’t understand …why my hymen had broken but only with a single drop of blood….
Whom asking for help to? How telling that episode to my mother or my sister Ala? Impossible …it  took years to carry through…when in a faint voice at a friend gynaecologist I asked an explanation of a defloration without blood and he, for mercy, explained me the mystery….
As far as that episode I should have thought already in that period on the fact that the origins of my prince were rumenian and the vampires need much more blood than that single drop that my body had been able to give him…an hymen half self-deflowered really couldn’t give more….

                                                                              …only one  drop…

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