|We look at a drawing of the church. Franco is particularly
fond of this one; he could see the campanile (bell tower) from his
bedroom window. Franco, who served as an altar boy and often rang the church
bells, says that the priests who served there were like fathers to him.
In all of Franco's paintings, the campanile stands substantially
taller than it really is, assumes physically the prominent position that
the church held in his life.|
This drawing, looking down from a point high above the path approaching
the church, shows a view that Magnani could never have seen. Magnani drew
the correct number of steps going up to the church door, but they are considerably
larger than the actual steps, a distortion that may reflect a child's perspective.
|Franco brings out other paintings: landscapes that show his
family's fields, as well as the graveyard in which his parents are buried;
a picture of his schoolhouse, which the Germans took over during the occupation.
When Franco tells his stories of Pontito, animating the placid, unpeopled
scenes of his paintings, he himself becomes animated, as old excitements,
angers, and griefs are stirred. As he describes the town, his fingers, thick
and gnarled from a life of manual work, trace precise paths on the tabletop
as if it were a map.|