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Marco Maccianti

(1908-1995)

Marco was born on May 19, 1908, in the Scogli district of Chiavari. His  family Maccianti came from Tuscany (Certaldo alto, near Florence) to Ligury. His father, Raffaele Maccianti worked as a carpenter in the Chiavari Shipyard, founded by Franco Gotuzzo. There two of his sons, Marco and Gigio, worked, too. Raffaele was an amateur guitarist, playing tunes by ear, as sometimes happens among workers of the sea. Raffaele's wife was Angela Chignoli, the kind of strong-minded woman always in hurry for their household. Together they had five children, of which Ambrogio (known as "Gigio") was the oldest. Marco, called Marchìn, had three sisters: Magdalena (known as "Lena"), the eldest, then Maria ("Fiorina") and Chiarina, the youngest lady of the family.

They appear together in a photograph still preserved and published in a volume of memoirs about Chiavari.

famiglia Maccianti, 1919

His sisters Mary and Lena Chiarina are remembered as hard-working housewives: Lena becomes a good seamstress who sews clothing for all the people of the district, helped also by Chiarina.

Marco Maccianti, gita nel 1932In 1932 photo, we can see the twenty-three years old Marchìn with his ever-present guitar in Montallegro, during a tour of Scogli people, accompanying an accordionist.

Marco married with Evelina Carmassi and goes on studying music and guitar completely alone as an autodidactic, but his reputation as a talented guitarist grows up in his town.

In fact, when the already famous Pasquale Taraffo came to Chiavari in 1932 for his concert, Marchìn was called to share the stage with him, accompanying him along with several singers  (this fact is narrated by the same Marchin in an unpublished interview recorded in 1984 in Genoa: the concert in Chiavari is also mentioned by the pupil of Taraffo, Armando Carrara).

Marco's cousin Anna Maccianti also starts her professional career in music as a light coloratura soprano: she studied at the Conservatory of Naples and during her carreer he has recorded several LPs, expecially with the Verdi repertoire (in 1964 with the Vienna orchestra Staatsopernorchestern und Choir directed by Gianfranco Rivoli).

In his concerts Marco always played a mezza-lyra guitar bought directly from the hands by the guitar maker Luigi Mozzani, durign the begining of 1930s. This instrument is still preserved by his son.

Maccianti con chitarra Mozzani mezza-lira

Mark formed a trio with his friends Gino Solari, a very good mandolinist amateur, and Amedeo Devoto, painter, guitarist (the mezza-lira guitar is one of his earliest construction, being a lighter reproduction of Mozzani's mezza-lyra). Several photographs still survive, in which Marchin embraces a six strings guitar of the Genoan guitar and violin maker Giuseppe Lecchi: this particular instrument was builded in the year 1943, during his exile in Lavagna (now in the M. Bazzotti's collection).
In 1954, when television was Italian in Chiavari, his son recalls that a movie was filmed during a guitar performance.

Marchìn continues its intensive evenings making it a good company to friends and guests with his music, often accompanied by good food, in the best tradition of Liguria.

There is a picture during a party, where one of his Chiavari friends curiously observes the construction of his Mozzani guitar.

 

 

 

Maccianti with his friend Costa during a party

Marco died in 1995, being 87 years old, always in his Chiavari.

His great friend Amedeo Devoto, painter, guitarist and ship designer and maker painted a portrait of Marchìn embracing his beloved guitar Mozzani half-lyra, in memory of his friend and colleague.

Trio with Gino Solari at the mandolino, Amedeo Devoto, half-lyra guitar and Marco Maccianti

Maccianti, picture by A. Devoto

A Bibliographic Note

Andreatta, Ernani, a cura di Memorie dal mare: l’immenso libro di papà Lucerna, [Sarzana] : Libritalia, 1997, 882 pp.

Degli Espositi, Ranieri et al. Chiavari marinara dell’epoca eroica della vela: La storia del rione Scogli, Edizioni della Libreria, 1993, 429 pp.; II Ediz. 1997, 453 pp.

Interview with Marco Maccianti about Pasquale Taraffo by Enrico De Filippi (in Genoan language), unpublished, 1984