Antonio Donsanti and musical cruises
Antonio Donsanti and musical cruises

Antonio Donsanti and the discreet charm of Arcinazzo Romano

We're leaving!

It's time to meet the Town Ambassadors of the Aniene Valley and we 'flew' to Paris to meet Antonio Donsanti.

We actually met on WhatsApp, but we will soon meet live in nearby Arcinazzo Romano, which for Antonio is still called Ponza.

Perhaps not everyone knows that the name of Arcinazzo Romano is recent and dates back to the unification of Italy when two towns called Ponza were discovered: the island that belonged to the Bourbon kingdom and a village in the Aniene Valley that was part of the Papal State .

The island won and papal Ponza became Arcinazzo Romano, as I have always known it. But not for those who were born there and have it in their hearts.

Talking to Antonio reminded me of those who research ancient dialects who have to go and meet emigrants because they are the only custodians of the past.

Precisely with these sentiments Antonio has always taken care of the history of his Ponza (Arcinazzo Romano) and of the whole Aniene Valley with books (Tito Troja - The Grand Tour), exhibitions and any other means that he had available.

Antonio is always a busy person

Arcinazzo Romano and the mayor Luca Marocchi could not have made a better choice, Antonio Donsanti is a true poem and a particular story that led him to live in Paris: "the stones of Arcinazzo are my roots, but as a child I dreamed of leaving Ponza and I wanted to go to teach in Africa”.

To pursue this dream (which still seems gigantic to me for a 10-year-old boy) the family sends him to study French in a boarding school near Lyon. After the three-year university he teaches for 2 years in Burkina Faso and continues to study at the University of Dakar in Senegal, which is perhaps better known to us for car racing than for its history.

He wins a competition to graduate from the Sorbonne and returns to Paris where he meets his wife Jocelyne and marries in 1969. His wife is from Versailles and the desire to start a family changes his dreams.

To finance his studies, for many years he supplemented his salary by teaching Italian and French to many Italian emigrants, even many from our areas of lower Lazio. And the more he knew about emigration, the more he tied himself to his roots. It is Antonio who studied all the toponyms of Arcinazzo Romano going to reconstruct the history of the town.

Book on Tito Troja
Launch of the MSC Virtuosa
Antonio's Life on a Cruise

He then begins to devote himself to tourism first in the CIT and then creates his own Navy Cub agency which represents some shipping companies on this market. In particular, MSC Cruises with which he organizes classical music themed cruises at sea and on major rivers.

and then he goes to work in the new MSC headquarters that he had just opened in Paris. He stays there until he retires but never ceasing to return as soon as he could to Arcinazzo. So in this love he involved his children Federica and Fabrizio who divides himself with Thailand where his wife was born and as soon as they can they all come to spend time in Arcinazzo Romano and the Altipiani.

In addition to the family, he promoted Arcinazzo in the world, in fact his wife who for years taught in a French high school in Paris and brought many high school students to Rome, Subiaco and then to Arcinazzo Romano for years. Not only that: together they brought the band of Arcinazzo Romano to ideally twin with Armonia (the French name by which bands are called) in a cultural exchange with the town of Bavay, near Lille.

All these activities are the result of love, and it is the love for one's roots that has overcome bureaucracy, financial problems and any other obstacle. It is the dream of building bridges between the two countries, which also represent the two lives of those who leave, which is one of the strongest emotions one can experience.

Thanks Antonio for your serenity, see you in action as soon as we have the 20 villages.


Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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