Gothic Tuscany and the “Monuments Men”

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by Ugo Coppoli

Sometimes incredible things happen that you never expected, in fact, that you didn't expect at all.. 😳 When we came up with this idea of creating a historical re-enactment group on Monuments Men we obviously had to do some documentation because we were starting almost from scratch. And one of our sources of inspiration and documentation were the books of the world-famous American writer Robert M. EdseL. Robert Edsel in fact dedicated much of his life to the reconstruction of the exploits and missions that the Monuments Men had carried out throughout Europe during the Second World War to the point of becoming the founder of Monuments Men Foundation based in the United States, which collects all the documentation, testimonies, photographs and publications concerning the history of the men and women of the "Monumenti".

I made this clarification because when we began to make the first attempt at a representation at Passo del Giogo in September 2017, we took some photos in uniform with the little material we had, namely 2 or 3 packed paintings and some used books. But they liked the idea and so we decided to present ourselves as a group Monuments at the Column of Freedom 2018 and, beyond our predictions, it was a success with visibility and the public. In the meantime we had come into contact with the Siviero House Museum in Florence, whose managers, enthusiastic about our performances, invited us across the Tuscany Region to appear in historical uniform on the occasion of themed evenings that took place at this historic Museum.

During some of these "events" we were also lucky enough to meet the girls fromAntigonart cultural association, passionate about art history and very good actresses, who tell the lives of some women who collaborated with the "Monuments" in that historical period. The agreement with them was immediately immediate, to the point that we decided to develop a project in order to present some events together on the topic, a project that we are developing in this period... 😉🏦 In short, a gradual but continuous growth, which has enriched not only from the point of view of historical notions but also and above all from the personal and human side.

WELL after all this, we would never have expected yesterday to even come into contact with our "myth" of inspiration, namely Robert M. Edsel! 😱 Therefore almost by chance (or maybe not) we came into contact with him on Instagram and after brief notes on what we do and represent, to our great surprise ("but are we sure? but is it really him?") not only did Edsel appreciated but also invited us to send our photos and news on our future events, none other than to the official email of the Monuments Men Foundation, managed by Anna Bottinelli who is his wife and a true Florentine and current president of the Foundation!! It took us some time to realize that yesterday we were exchanging messages on Instagram with this world-famous writer, our "mentor" and inspiration, yet he was there before our eyes, we were talking to Robert M. Edsel, himself , the true one. Okay can I say it? these are satisfactions. Sometimes it's nice to feel proud of what you do.

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