By Antonio Mazzitelli

“…the Sublime always accompanies with a sense of bewilderment, and prevails on what is only convincing or graceful…. because it dominates anyone, by giving speech an invincible power and strength“ (“Del Sublime”, ch. 1).

The marvelous “Treaty on the Sublime” (not attributable, nor datable, but not older than the 1st century AD), is an absolute masterpiece of the Greek Koiné, it refers to literature and rhetoric. Its depth fits well with the urgent desire for salvation: the Sublime and Beauty will save us, through the irrational force of the pàthos, capable of arousing such an intense aesthetic-affective emotion that it brings us back violently to the essential needs of our life: no frills, no induced needs, but the primary needs for the growth of our intellect, especially in dangerously dark times.
Beauty is salvation.

Beauty expresses itself in a myriad of forms: Beauty as the result of human creativity (music, literature, architecture etc.); Beauty is Nature in its primordial and primigenial barbaric power (see Leopardi and his “Moral Operettas”); Beauty is “civilized” Nature, where man beautifully manages to shape without dominating or violating, for the sake of his own existence: Beauty belongs to the semantic field of the feminine, same as Peace and Harmony our vineyard, where chapter I (“Wine as a work of art”) should be “memorized”, like Dante’s verses. The descriptive section of our wonderful South of Italy is a text-book model: the Chieti area, the Sorrento Peninsula and the delicious Gragnano, the Sicilian and Sardinian vineyards and much more; here there is not only the product that “wants to be discovered and understood in solitude, or in the religious company of a few friends”, but above all we meet History, the result of the balance between Nature and Culture.

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This happy marriage can also be called Beauty, which, according to the German philosopher
Schiller, stimulates the “schöne Seele” (“beautiful soul”), which in turn calls Art, therefore Salvation. And this is exactly what distinguishes the “old” Europe from other continents: Melk Abbey stands out imposingly from the vineyard of the Austrian Wachau and the Stift (Cathedral) of Durnstein stands out delicately in its sugar paper colour. The German Moselle, from Trier to Koblenz, is a succession of enchanting villages and breathtaking vineyards on the banks, home of philosophers such as Niccolò Cusano, Karl Marx, Marcus Steinweg; without the Burgundian vineyard we would not admire that late-Gothic masterpiece that is the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune.
We could go on forever…

In times of “temperie and procelle” (see T. Tasso), anchors of salvation are essential; Politics is needed, where “the highest form of Charity” is revealed (cf. Pope Francis); Science is needed, where it is associated with Humanism; Beauty is desperately needed. And we Italians, we Europeans are deeply permeated by it, we are historically immersed in Beauty; among so much Beauty we should certainly include our wine landscape. Let’s save ourselves. By being able to act. By wanting. Let’s save ourselves.