“Ultimo is Chianti.” The truth of these words-and the century-long existence of Ultimo Gori-is the essence of Dario Castagno‘s fourth book. A native “Chiantigiano” himself, Castagno explores his land through Ultimo’s epic life, which begins with his 1908 birth as the tenth child of ill-fated sharecroppers in Chianti Senese.
When Dario initially meets Ultimo in 1983-after the then-septuagenarian tosses his Vespa into a tree as if it were a sack of wild mushrooms-it is by chance. But the 25-year friendship that followed was clearly meant to be, in the most profound of ways. Tales of pre-modern Tuscany, family tragedies, unrequited love, the ravages of war, and friends humble and noble alike-including Castagno’s own bond with Gori-interlock. Ending with glimpses into a realm of magic, and the power of Ultimo’s legacy, Castagno takes the reader on a riveting journey that-spiritually and historically-is Chianti.