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Il Fuoco Magico - The Magic Fire

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Who is Maria Rita Mazzanti?
I was born in Recanati - a small town in central Italy - some time ago and I divide my life between Versilia and the Marche region.
In 1991, I published the novel "Artemide" (Il Ventaglio, Rome).
My love for the disenchanted merry atmosphere of Viareggio and for my peaceful native hills has lit the "Magic Fire".
I hope this book will offer both children and adults the opportunity to smile, love and enjoy themselves among its multifarious sparks.

The Magic Fire

The Magic Fire follows you everywhere, like a dog. In fact, this Fire is nothing but Love - that Love which moves the sun and the other stars -, the most powerful irresistible energy which can be drawn at every corner of the universe and, therefore, is available to anybody. The Magic Fire is able to create indissoluble bonds between those who manage to light it up and feed it. And Love bonds are real life ties capable of withstanding any hostile force...

Il Fuoco Magico ti segue ovunque come un cane – infatti quel Fuoco è, neanche a dirlo, l'Amore, "l'Amor che muove il sole e l'altre stelle", l'energia irresistibile, la più potente, che non è preclusa ad alcuno dal momento che può essere attinta in qualunque angolo dell'universo. Il Fuoco, capace di creare legami indissolubili per chi riesce ad accenderlo e ad alimentarlo, i legami d'Amore, veri e propri nodi di vita in grado di resistere ad ogni forza ostile.

AFTERWORD by Vinicio Serino

Vinicio Serino is a teacher at the University of Siena in the faculties of Medicine and Natural Sciences, General Sociology and Sociology of Science.
More specifically, for various years he has been dealing with the complex relation between culture, society and institutions. In this field, he has published some essays about the mechanisms of legitimization and consent of the systems of power concerning, in particular, the issues of sanitary, environmental and institutional sociology.
For a long time he has also been carrying out some anthropological and sociological research on some important yet disregarded aspects of the Sienese civilization relating to the influence exerted from the Middle Ages to the contemporary age by "other" cultures such as astrology, magic, hermetism and alchemy. Actually, such cultures - which have been too much ignored by the positivistic research model - are fundamental for the understanding of the "meaning" of the social history of the territory. In this context, he is carrying out a series of studies on the symbolic apparatus of some most relevant artistic evidence of the area of Siena such as the marble floor of the Duomo dell'Assunta and the frescos of Il Buono e il Cattivo Governo in Palazzo Pubblico.
Vinicio Serino writes for different cultural reviews as well as for the daily newspaper La Nazione of Florence.


With "The Magic Fire" Maria Rita Mazzanti proposes to the reader an apparently naïve story, a modern fairy tale inside which, besides the classic seven-headed monsters, the witches with their typical brooms and a curious talking cat, there is room also for more modern and disturbing UFOs, energy nuclei and even black holes of the anti-matter.

In short, the book is a wise mixture of both traditional and futuristic events which, also thanks to the evocation produced by a way of writing based on strong and expressive images, succeeds in making a deep impression on the reader. Therefore, any type of fear, represented as a "bottomless rolling barrel" clouding certainties, is exorcised.

"The Magic Fire" is a definitely naïve story where the real original meaning of the adjective "naïve" is that of "born within a specific race" and, therefore, "free, pure and spontaneous" following the great linguist Giacomo Devoto.

From this point of view, then, the operation carried out by the author is rather "ambitious" - another word having extraordinary effects and referring to the idea of going, moving, setting out for, without static unquestionable ideas - since she addresses only apparently an audience of children which, in spite of incipient modernity, is still willing to penetrate into the enchanted world of fairy tales.

In fact, considering the way it is built, its symbolic machinery and its continuous reference to the collective mythical imagery of western culture, the story of Tiny Ball reveals a much deeper cultural background than that of tales for young people invented just for drawing their immediate attention.

Above all, without any specific invitation to perform what Maria Rita Mazzanti - refraining from declaring it - continuously suggests to us: meditating rigorously on the three great eternal questions to which man has always been asked to provide an adequate answer at any time and in any latitude: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?


From this point of view, then, the way in which this story is written may be said to act on three different levels at least.

First of all, of course, on a literal level. Therefore, the Wood where the Fire is burning is undoubtedly a wood like many others with "wonderful birds singing never-ending melodies", "butterflies as big as herons" and "luxuriant trees with gaudy-coloured fruits and leaves".

Yet the book is not only this. The exemplary story it tells also conveys another more subtle and complex yet understandable message for those who have, according to the Gospel, eyes to see and ears to hear. As a matter of act, another level of reading lies concealed in the depths of the book: the symbolic allegoric one. That is to say the meaning of many of the images evoked goes far beyond their mere representation. This is not expressed through words and, therefore, it is difficult to be understood immediately. It is rather the result of further evaluation and real analysis.

This is to be understood in its first meaning of decomposition which was so present and familiar to the thought of Francis Bacon and Galileo Galilei, the inventors of modern science.

Let's take the main character of the story, the "meddling and joking Energy Nucleus" caught to hang around the Universe among "multicoloured rainbow-like planets, stars as red as rubies and planetary gears as slow as snails". The Author makes him take on the appearance of a ball and christens him Tiny Ball.

Probably it could not have been different considering the complex and difficult trials which he is expected to face.

Since the ball - the great iconologist of the sixteenth/seventeenth century Cesare Ripa knew that - represents the pious humbleness which was so cherished by St. Francis. As a matter of fact, the more this virtue is practised - that is to say run across downward - the more it rises towards the top of the Infinite exactly like a ball.

And the Tiny Ball of Maria Rita Mazzanti is certainly a humble creature whose relationship with other people is based on love and helpfulness and who always places himself on both the physical and moral level of his interlocutor setting off like a brave knight in quest of his own inner Graal.


Even more so, also the Fire - which is not called magic by chance - corresponds to "this logic of the second level of reading" since - as the wise Owl has taught (or revealed to) Tiny Ball - it is necessary to be at least in two in order to light it.

Since it starts crackling when less expected.

Since, "once it is lit, it follows you like a dog".

Since it is necessary to watch over so as to prevent the monsters that always lie in wait from stealing it. Even if "it's enough to turn on a light to make them run away for fear their foolishness can be seen".

In fact, on one hand that Fire is nothing but Love - that "Love which moves the sun and the other stars" - the most powerful irresistible energy which can be drawn at every corner of the universe and, therefore, is available to anybody.

On the other hand, this Fire can be nothing but magic, not so much because it crackles cheerfully in a fairy tale drawing the youngest readers' attention by stimulating their imagination but rather for the intrinsic property of the word "Magic". An ancient fascinating Word. A Word coming from the mysterious world of Persia. A Word designating the gift, God's gift, the gift of the extraordinary Being - more precisely, the Wizard - who, due to the impenetrable will of a mysterious superior dimension, is endowed with a virtue (in the sense of 'virtus', force) which is completely inhibited to common creatures.

In the moving account of Matthew, the Magi are those who bring their own symbolic gifts to the Saviour of the world - namely to the Universal Love - bowing down before the Bethlehem hut illuminated by the white soft light of a comet.


By resorting to ancestral images hidden in the inmost recesses of the heart, with this story Maria Rita Mazzanti has provided a personal answer to the three questions which have always vexed the mind of the wisest philosophers. I am a human being filled with Love. I come from a World made of Love. I am moving toward a World where everything is Love.

Vinicio Serino

San Nicodemo, August 2006


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