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The spotlights shadows on the Reenactors

They do it for a true passion for history, to wisely interpret those women and men who have marked our destinies.

They once walked with a determined step and a forward gaze towards goals, it didn’t matter if they were enemies, but they looked each other in the eye. Today, at the most we look for spotlights. If they dazzle, it doesn’t matter, what counts is the fact that they erase the wrinkles of the increasingly televised faces.

But those people are different. The historical reenactors and thus the Napoleonic ones, that I have learned to know and recognize in recent years and to distinguish from the “background actors”, give importance to wrinkles, clothes crumpled by the numerous battles and original furnishings such as the buttons of the uniform or those carefully reproduced shirts.

Before putting themselves on the spotlight of cameras, selfies, group poses under a monument or after a troubled moment of war, they dedicated time, money, books, travel and comparisons to understand what happened in that period with the aim of not betraying it.

So many historians and actors are happy to come also to Marengo, but they are not often “exploited” for all their group and individual knowledge and skills. They are beautiful and exciting and perhaps so far away from our daily life that it doesn’t seem true that they are our contemporaries, who we should thank for their engagement and precision.

They pass through Marengo because here you can breathe that Italian and French history that marked the European civilization with a renaissance of civilization and civic expressiveness. Well, on May 7, 48 hours after the legendary May 5 of “Ei fu”, Napoleon, already our first President of the Republic, went on scene in the Auditorium and in the Marengo Museum together with his high commanders of the Grognardse of the 59ème demi brigade. The two ladies were impressive for their elegance, one of them was Gina Pozzi and the other Anna Lisa Desiati, very similar to Countess Ghilini, who often flew from her palace into the arms of the most powerful emperor in Europe. There is a strong resemblance between Napoleon, already mature and near the descending parable of his era, and Roberto Colla, a truly pleasant and polite gentleman who moves from Parma to wear the boots of the Emperor and give that look that intimidated yesterday as today.

What about that high command uniform worn by William Ballotta, who does not abandon his prestigious position even to speak about the thematic suggestions based on more than two thousand books read and memorised. Then there’s a familiar face under that threatening look and it is Francesco Ganora, who knows everything about diplomacy, as well as about armour and doesn’t stop sending me correct information on the prestigious secretaries that Napoleon had. The grenadier of the Imperial Guard, Osvaldo Marzano, always on Emperor’s side.

They’re always present, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Sergeant Major Berni and Sergeant Roberto Pozzi, who looks a lot like a pirate of the time with his gold earring, and salute with the rifle, leaving an indelible mark.

Nevertheless, these historical actors and reenactors will never be thanked enough. They are not mannequins to wear uniforms but professionals, lawyers, accountants, employees, workers, artisans, doctors, etc. Perhaps it lacks that overview that we would like to offer to the world with a big school of European Napoleonic Reenactors (SERN at Marengo). Our aim is not only to transfer the different disciplines we want to deepen, but above all to demonstrate to the world that we are faced with true researchers who will never stop giving us powerful moments, even when they will not hear a simple “thank you”, but only one “look here at the mobile (for a photo)!”. This is because, unfortunately, the culture that prevails in the world prefers the appearance and doesn’t know not that there are people from Loano (Andrea Puleo very active with us in Marengo and his 27th Military Division) to Milan (Ioana and Alessandro Aruanno from “Primo leggero”) from Parma to Turbigo, from Turin to Bologna and Naples, (just to mention Italy) who want to say to the world:

to re-enact is to penetrate into the history and understand its dynamics beyond the three-dimensional towards reality.