Senator, you are close to publishing your third novel “Dance The Love - A Star in Vico Equense”, while continuing the widely applauded presentation of your book “Caruso The Song - Lucio Dalla and Sorrento” all over Italy and abroad. But the relevance of these days, with the events in Paris, recalls the first book of the trilogy “Sorrento The Romance”, which talks about the troubled relationship between Christianity and Islam on the threshold of the modern age. Piracy back then, a form of guerrilla war, the terrorism of today. The solution to the religious conflict that seems to transpire from the novel is that reconciliation requires a fusion between cultures and beliefs. Is that so? Is it achievable today?

The third novel in “The Sorrentine Trilogy”, my act of love for my homeland, is dedicated to an extraordinary character, the great Russian dancer Violetta Elvin, who has successfully reached the age of ninety-two about a month ago. For nearly sixty years she has lived in Vico Equense, where she took refuge in 1956 at the height of her artistic success worldwide, for the choice of love: the love for dance, the love for life. The marriage, the beloved son. Precisely: Dance The Love. Through the eyes of this wonderful star, I will speak of Vico Equense, of the natural beauty of this gateway to our coast. Thus, I will complete my emotional drawing also in geographical terms. But I will also write about the historical scenario of the cold war, Stalinism and the fall of socialism. The book will be published in English, with the appendix in Italian. It will be presented at once in Vico Equense, London, Milan, Rome and Positano. Maybe also on the Li Galli islands. On 12th December, however, in the historic heart of Massa Lubrense, I will present a book by Anna Maria Gargiulo, "Mary, My Mercy", which will allow me to resume the spirit of the first novel of the trilogy, recalled by her, which has now become of dramatic relevance. Culture and dialogue, solidarity, mercy, and not senseless wars and bombings, which cover economic and geopolitical interests, will pull us out of the spiral of hatred disguised as religious wars, which threaten the survival of the West and of our values. I will speak of "Mary, Mother of Mercy and Mother of Jesus, the bridge of grace and peace between Christianity and Islam". Pope Francis is right, no one can kill innocent people in the name of God. It's a blasphemy!

In the book on Lucio Dalla, Sorrento is once again central, starting with the title. With the presentation of the novel in Italy and abroad you have become a privileged ambassador of the city and also of its tourism promotion. How do people see Sorrento outside Sorrento?

Sorrento is loved all over the world, in Europe, in Asia and in Latin America. As I wrote in the open letter to Mayor Peppino Cuomo – with great far-sightedness, Cuomo inaugurated this journey of love based on the bond between Lucio Dalla and Sorrento! – while making the initial assessment of a few months of this cultural pilgrimage: it’s a success! Not my success, mind you, but the success of our beloved city, of its history of hospitality, of the most enlightened hoteliers, of the fairest traders and of all those, who strive to make a guest stay in Sorrento unique. Who smile at the guests, while they roam through narrow streets, and do not perceive them as fools to con. But the true ambassadors of Sorrento in the world have been, are and always will be the two immortal songs: “Torna a Surriento” and “Caruso”! When the images of Sorrento in my documentary film appeared on the screen with the soundtrack of the two melodies, it caused the explosion of spontaneous applause! Sorrento has a place in the heart of the world. Woe to those who do not safeguard this dimension of spirit! Woe to those who attack the future of Sorrento hungry for profit and enrichment.

And how do you see Sorrento as a Sorrentine, who often has the possibility to look at it from “beyond the circle of ancient walls”? Precisely, the future of Sorrento!

The future of Sorrento? Nature, culture and hospitality! Absolute protection of landscape and nature reserves. Enough with the senseless and indiscriminate consumption of land. Modern infrastructure, also in terms of hygiene, to prevent the repetition of last summer's embarrassment of polluted sea. Mobility and cleanliness of air, with pioneering infrastructures, already tested in other international tourist centres. High culture, events of international importance, ones that attract, engage and direct thousands of guests from all over the world, planned at least two years in advance. Inserted in the worldwide tour of cultural milestones. Not the usual local concerts organised for selected clientele. Small format serves no purpose in culture. Then the quality, quality, quality of tourism and services. Here, I am not worried! The great Sorrentine hospitality families have always responded adequately to the challenge of modernization and quality. I name, among others: the Fiorentino, the Russo, the Manniello, the Acampora, the Colonna. We can challenge the world with the Sorrentine catering understood in coastal terms. As an example: Maestro Don Alfonso Iaccarino, along with all the starred chefs operating from Massa Lubrense to Vico Equense.

Your next novel, to be released in the spring of 2016, is dedicated, as mentioned earlier, to the great Russian dancer Violetta Elvin, who lives in Vico Equense. You reveal the life of this extraordinary woman and artist, largely unknown, likely due to her private lifestyle. Can you tell us more about it?

Donna Violetta Elvin Savarese is a living miracle of intelligence, beauty, charm, class and love for life. The Love. Her human and artistic story goes beyond the novel, becomes a divine comedy in a tangle of art, history, feelings and beauty of nature. A life of love for art and for the family, which, I hope, will offer to the new generations an example of tenacity and attachment to the value of freedom, not only in artistic, but also in personal terms. I feel honoured, flattered and at the same time gratified to have collected her best memories and to be able to pass them on to young people in form of a novel. I just hope to be up to the task. Donna Violetta deserves a different biographer in my place. I am not saying this with false modesty, believe me, but with serene awareness.

What is the deeper sense of “The Sorrentine Trilogy”?

In a society, which is becoming global and virtual, the cult of its own land, of its civil and religious history, of its traditions, its language, its food, its own nature, its community, its religious rituals and its daily life, becomes a shield, a defence, a barrier against now prevailing social and psychological cultural assimilation. We must learn to use the tools of the new media without becoming its slaves. They are means, not ends. I fear that many young and not only young people have already become virtual prisoners, also in terms of feelings, affection, and the very Eros. It is a huge danger, worse than drugs and gambling. Nobody talks anymore at the family table, they are all chatting and surfing. Progress, also technological, has to be governed, otherwise it produces uncontrollable and destructive monsters. “The Sorrentine Trilogy” is my little therapy, a unique and unrepeatable act of love towards my land. The world of feelings and values, which cannot fade, under penalty of death of Man. This was also the great concern of the "Gypsy" from Bologna: if the craft dies, the humanity dies!

What does writer Raffaele Lauro still plan for his land?

There are still plenty of projects. However, there is not much time left in the day! Whatever the divine providence wishes. I try to pick up the signals, which it sends me, and to follow them, always for positive purposes. For now, I just carry on living in the new-found Christian faith of Marino Correale, in the fifty-year-long bond of Lucio Dalla with Sorrento and in the love of Violetta Elvin for the Vican hill, where my maternal grandparents come from, a young paesant couple, Raffaele and Peppinella, who moved to Sorrento to cultivate the land, then to S. Renato, and then to Sant’Agnello, and to Migliaro, where I was born opposite the Church of St. Martin. Everyone, who has the intellectual and philosophical certainty, apart from religious certainty, of the Limit and of the Absolute, knows that everything will become dust in the end, just like the pride of Lucifer was reduced to dust.

Rome, November 30th, 2015

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