One of the regular participants of the market held every second Sunday of the month in Barga Vecchia is the wicker basket maker, Rino Mariano.
He comes in each month from his home over the mountain in Gassano (Massa Carrara) bringing with him his bundles of willow, a chair, a plastic bucket of water (in which to soak the willow to keep it supple) a pair of secateurs to trim the finished baskets and nothing else except his pair of hands and his many years of experience making his deceptively simple looking wicker baskets.
The recent snow did not deter Rino from coming over the mountain down to Barga today to show the large crowds in the city for the Barga Cioccolata festa his skill and know-how making traditional baskets using vimini – Salix viminalis – the willow which he cuts himself each year down close to the river.
By the end of the day as the market is closing, Rino empties his bucket, sweeps up the willow cuttings and picks up what is left of the unused willow bundles and trudges off home.
Invariably, all the baskets that he weaved that day will have been quickly snapped up by the market goers with an eye of quality and those who were not able to buy now having to wait another 30 days for his next visit
(c) RIPRODUZIONE RISERVATA