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Marco e Mattio (Marco and Mattio) is a historical novel by the Italian author Sebastiano Vassalli. It is set in the Val di Zoldo (Zoldo Valley), in the Dolomites, i. e., Italian north-eastern Alps, between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. In that time, the Republic of Venice lost the control of the Zoldo Valley, that was conquered by the French Army, under the orders of general Napoleon. At the time when the novel takes place, the valley was occupied several times both by Austrian and French troops. The book, published in 1992, is about the friendship between Marco and Mattio: a son of a shoemaker who gets crazy, and a mysterious vagabond. Soldiers, rulers, priests and peasants take part in this collective narration, where huge historical events and members of lower social classes are equally important. Military events are not of a big impact on the story; they rather describe the historical and emotional background.

Personally, I was very surprised by the book: Sebastiano Vassalli usually set his works in the region where he lived, i. e., eastern Piedmont. On the contrary, Marco e Mattio takes place in northeastern Italy, from the Dolomites to Venice. It is about a real story, and it is based on accurate historical researches.


Italian national catalogue permanent book record:
Sebastiano Vassalli Wikipedia page:

Francesco Gelati



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