In 2017, I was asked by the The New York Times Magazine to do a reportage about family holidays in Italy. So, I went to take photos of some rivers and channels on the Apuane Alps, between Lucca and Massa Carrara. Alessandro Baratti helped me to interview the people who frequented those places and here you can find some unpublished excerpts of what it came out from those days of shooting and talking.

During the summer we set up this space for convenience and to welcome families who like to come to the river. Ours is a group of 7 or 8 people: we live in this small town and we go down to the river to play cards, eat all together and spend the day with friends. But the space we prepare is still open to everyone.
I take care of the basin every year by putting stones and nylon at the beginning of the season and at the end of the summer I remove both the nylon and any other object, otherwise it would be swept away by the floods of the river, polluting it. It is a cure that costs me no effort and I do it with pleasure. Then a little further up we also have tables and braziers for grilling. In reality, the place where we prepare the space to be comfortable changes every year: it depends on how the river has dragged the debris and moved the rocks. The basin always remains in the usual spot, but in May we check which is the most suitable space to prepare the small beach. It is a local tradition: I remember it as a child, even if before it was more limited to locals or neighboring countries. Now, with the photographs posted on the internet, they come from all over. Sometimes they also come for wedding photographs, other times they come to do photo shoots for summer costumes…

– Roberto Biagi, organizer of “Robè Beach”, a little pool along Renara Channel.

Alessandro Baratti: Do you remember the first time you came here (Canale di Renara)?
Thomas Tonazzini: I remember very well. There was the quarry. Where you got off, a road passed and the trucks from the quarries entered. Beyond there was the marble and this was the Renara quarry which was used to make the material for the concrete mixers: gravel.

I can only say that I have been coming here for a lifetime and I will continue to come as long as I can. As long as I can, I will make my little place where everyone can come and rest assured. Only education and respect for the place and the people are required. If you don’t respect the place and the people, it’s not fair to me that people come here. This is how I see it.

AB: What does attract you above all about this place?
TT: What does attract me? The tranquility in here. To see in the evening a shepherd who comes down with his flock of goats… In the morning he passes and says good morning to you. Get up in the morning, buy a wheel of fresh cheese, drink a glass of goat’s milk, this is good morning. Or find yourself at seven at the top of that ledge there and look around you… It’s priceless, priceless!

Alessandro Baratti, Summer 2017. You can find the reportage for The New York Times Magazine here: "Tuscany Hidden's Water", September 21, 2017.