The Second World War and the political situation after the war were the main reasons for my long separation from the island where I was born. The desire to recreate a relationship with the nature and the culture of my birthplace has always been present during the many years of absence. To acquire historical and personal knowledge of the island, I started a few years ago a genealogical and historical research that resulted in the publication of the book L’Isola di Cherso. La presenza Veneziana e le diverse dinastie popolane (Del Bianco, Udine, 2012). The “theoretical” knowledge of historical events is essential but not sufficient if you on depth want to know the island of Cres. With my academic background in the subject cultural geography, it was therefore logical to conduct a study of the “territory” from a cultural and human perspective. Interest in the cultural landscape of Cres for me thus has two connotations: the origin and the separation. It was the intuitive motivation for carrying out this work within the boundaries of a desired descriptive study.
My wife Birgitta and I had during our holidays on the island has long noted but, like many visitors in Cres, rather mindlessly walked past the stone walls without understanding their monumentality, extent and value. Only after repeated excursions and hikes to Madonna di San Salvador and San Biagio northward, to Nedomisel and Sv Petar southward, to Kerćina / Losnati eastward, and down the valley through Antonski (a hike of about 30 km), we grasped the greatness of the work that “Sisyphus child” realized for centuries. We could also note, without being impudent, that we can compete with similar works in other parts of Europe; places that in some cases are already under the protection of UNESCO as World Heritage. We have considerable work ahead of us to make “the hidden treasure” known. An equally responsible commitment is to study, to document, and to preserve this treasure for those who, like us, strive for recognition of this humble and laborious work.
Helpful with the compilation of this blog have been: my wife Birgitta, my daughters Antonia and Arianna and my granddaughter Vega with images; my grandson Theo, librarian Anna Nilson in Lund and my friend Flavio Flores da Cunha with their specific knowledge of how to create a website; Eng. Hans Hirscher, a frequent visitor of Cres for the translation into German; my cousin Dr. Giulio Montenero for valuable comments; author, journalist and son-in-law Christian Catomeris who in addition of contributing with an article and pictures has given me generous tips along the way.