Limano, like most villages in the Val di Lima, retains a very small population outside the summer season. In winter you’ll only find around sixty persons living here. In summer, however, its diaspora, who have emigrated to such places as France (largely to Marseilles), Finland, Switzerland (especially to Geneva) and Canada (in Toronto the largest number of ex-pat Limanesi live) return to regain their roots and Limano becomes a place of feasting, dancing, meeting, relishing and enjoyment.
The Limano back-to-home festival officially starts on August 1st when there’s a traditional dance on the main square which unites the two sections of the village, each placed around a little hill. (If you want to see more pictures of Limano, including its castle and church do read my post on it at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/limano-at-the-limits/.)
For me Limano is one of the most attractive villages in the Val di Lima and, at a height of around 540 metres, has some of the most spectacular views to be found in our valley.
Emigrant Limanesi have regularly sent back money to their home village and so Limano has many old well- restored stone houses. Indeed, there are no more houses for sale in the village – it seems that, sensibly, those who have left for pastures new want to keep their base here. Moreover, several Limanesi who may live down the valley in such places as Borgo a Mozzano, or even Lucca, transmigrate back to the cooler climate during the summer months and reoccupy their ancestral homes.
The social centre of Limano is the club which itself was a decaying building until Limanesi from Toronto offered funds to buy it and have it restored. I really appreciate the Limanesi for not having abandoned their village entirely and given it over for holiday homes for other nationals as has sadly happened too frequently…
The Limanesi have also made an effort to preserve and record their old traditions, stories and poems before these die out. In the club, among other books, I found a fascinating book on poets from Limano published by those now living in Toronto.
Limano is also a place of music and, indeed, the director of Borgo a Mozzano’s music school hails from Limano. The school’s web site is at http://www.scuolacivicasalotti.it/
Her sister was very happy to tell me about the traditional dance which, although not quite the splendour it used to be in the past, is still continuing, which is to be applauded. There are two groups of dancers, the little ones and the older ones and they performed a quite complex formation country dance whose aim in the past, must surely have been for young men and women to decide on possible partners for their future family.
Many of the costumes are quite splendid and are hand-loomed locally. Some of them clearly belonged to the dancers’ mothers or even grandmothers. Strict rules apply as to what to wear especially shoes and sneakers are definitely frowned on, although I did spot a few…
The accordionist is an old hand in his part. Evidently, he’s been doing it for years and is also the church organist.
One tradition which has vanished, my friend’s mother narrated, was the custom of serenading the girl one took a fancy to under her window in true Don-Giovanni style. If the girl accepted the serenader she would throw down a handkerchief as a pledge.
There are several other traditions which, unfortunately, have disappeared but the mum is working on a book describing them which will be presented at Bagni di Lucca.
It’s wonderful to know that villages which were once felt by so many to be places to escape from because of their poverty are now being revaluated by emigrants and their special features, stories and traditions are being recollected and preserved for future generations before they, alas, disappear for ever.
I’ll leave you with a few videos of Limano’s traditional country-dance: