A century has passed since the death of Emma Perodi, the author of the "Novelle della Nonna". For many children in Casentino it has been the first book read or heard at home, from parents or grandparents, since the end of the 19th century. In 1918 the writer and journalist born in Cerreto Guidi (Fi) died in Palermo at 68, and left a conspicuous spiritual testament, especially of children's literature, among which stands out this collection set in Casentino in a familiar context at that time.
The 45 tales that compose the book, are stories told evening time by Nonna Regina, doyen of the Marcuccis, a peasant patriarchal family who lived in a farm of the Casentino valley. Roaming throughout the whole valley, they can teach us the place names and characters, with references to well-known or illustrious figures: Master Adam - the forger placed by Dante in the Hell of his Divine Comedy - or Sofia Conti Guidi, one of the most influential women in Casentino at the time.
The wont of staying awake in the evening beside the fire, listening to fairy tales and fantastic stories, has been extinguished only a few decades ago in Casentino, but this habit remains in the work of this great author, appreciated by young and old readers.
Emma Perodi, born in a well-to-do family (her father was an engineer and her mother had noble origins), traveled through Italy and Europe, and the independence she had enjoyed had made her a cultured and open minded woman.
The writer has been commemorated with a traveling exhibition torough Italy, and the Casentino immortalized her in a literary park in Bibbiena.