BOOKS

Karcha Bahlut, The Last Shaman.

Leonardo Cioni is an Italian diplomat who has just completed his assignment. He moves to Paraguay, a country where time seems to stand still and traces of the past are surprisingly accessible. Here he comes across Guido Boggiani, an artist, photographer and explorer who had moved to Paraguay during the Belle Epoque. Baggiani ends up fascinating Leonardo, who found his paintings in the salons of Asunción, his diary in the dusty archives of a museum and his mortal remains in a bronze urn in the Italian cemetery.

Read More

Little by little Leonardo pieces together the itinerary followed by Baggiani, which leads to the Alto Chaco, a territory located in the northernmost point of the country, still almost inaccessible and depopulated, inhabited by small communities of the Chamacoco ethnic group, warriors with a mild appearance. They are the last custodians of an ancestral culture, guardians of ancient traditions and magical rites. Some claim that they have recently abandoned the practice of anthropophagy and that they guard hidden treasures.
Leonardo felt drawn to the Chaco, an immense empty space, like the open sea. He soon found an authoritative guide in Matteo Zorzi, a Salesian anthropologist with a great knowledge of the indigenous world, and launched an expedition. After risking getting bogged down and stuck in inhospitable places, he reached the small village of Karcha Bahlut and came into contact with the Chamacoco people, just like Guido Boggiani e 120 years earlier.
Here Leonardo attends Chamacoco rituals, lives in one of their small houses made of palm wood and rests in the shade of a vaporu, the same tree that, according to the cachique, had sheltered Guido Boggiani more than a century before. The cachique then tells him the story of the Anabsoro, gigantic and monstrous demigods who were exterminated by the Chamacoco and buried under the houses of the village. He gives them human bones.
Leonardo's adventure continues, lost in between myths and a primordial reality, stumbling into hunters of phantom treasures, archaeological findings, conflicts with an ambiguous Shaman. This goes on until a final twist on a beautiful autumn morning in the Rosati café in Piazza del Popolo in Rome.
The book’s chapters alternate between the parallel stories of Cioni and Boggiani. The former chapters are based on the author's autobiographical experiences, while the chapters about Boggiani are based on in-depth archive research and interviews.
The book was presented in Rome, at the Latin American Institute, and at Palazzo Ferrajoli during the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, in Genoa, by the Casa America Foundation, in Turin at the Circolo dei Lettori, in Gaeta, at the G. Caboto Foundation and, lastly, in the city of Rome, by the Fondazione Casa America. 

Peoples of the Gran Chaco

This is a collection of essays by anthropologists, historians, theatre directors, economists and architects, edited by Gherardo La Francesca, founder of Museo Verde, an association that carries out initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting the indigenous cultures of the Gran Chaco region.

Read More

The result is a fresco describing the Gran Chaco, an immense plain covering over a million square kilometres in the heart of South America, across Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. The area features very low population density, extremely high biodiversity, which compares to the Amazon, and the presence of indigenous communities belonging to 25 different ethnic groups. Its forests are among the most important green lungs of our planet, while its ethnological richness is an under-exploited reservoir of culture and craft skills.
In this area, Museo Verde is creating a network of micro museums, small infrastructures in which the indigenous communities conserve the objects of their ancestral memory. Museo Verse is also developing a series of initiatives aimed at stimulating the revival of craft traditions. With the collaboration of Italian and South American museums, virtual restitution of handicraft objects is now under way. This project includes communities that belong to seven indigenous populations.
The book, which features almost 100 pictures and maps, allows the reader to enter this territory, following in the footsteps of the explorers who first crossed it in the 19th century. It also includes a portfolio that outlines the creative craftsmanship of these people.
The Gran Chaco is a resource for its native peoples as well as for the whole humanity. As the area is now threatened by deforestation and globalisation, Museo Verde has launched an initiative called 'Pact for the Gran Chaco'.

The writer

Gherardo La Francesca has worked as a diplomat in Greece, Egypt, Japan, Argentina, Cyprus, terminating his career as Italy’s Ambassador to Brazil in 2012.
Gherardo has held photographic exhibitions in Nicosia, Ravello, Brasilia and Asunciòn.

Read More

With his sailing boat, which goes by the name of Pulcinella, he crossed the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
In Paraguay, where Gherardo lived from February 2013 to August 2016, he contributed to the exhibition "El Circulo Imperfecto", which covered the life of Guido Boggiani, a painter, photographer and traveller from the late 19th century. He also curated an exhibition about Emilio Salgari; organised a photographic exhibitiona bout the Chamacoco natives, including various artefacts and paintings; he managed an archaeological mission in Alto Chaco; he conceived and managed the creation of Museo Verde, an exhibition hall made of palm wood using indigenous techniques in the remote village of Karcha Bahlut.
In 2015, Editrice Servilibro of Asuncion published his work Sebastian Gaboto, historia de un viaje al corazon profundo del continente Americano, published in 2017. The Italian edition, edited by Edicampus, is titled Sebastiano Caboto, storia di un viaggio nel corazon profundo del continente Sudamericano,
Founded in 2018, Museo Verde is a non-profit organization that manages projects for the conservation and enhancement of the indigenous cultures of the Gran Chaco in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
In February 2020, Museo Verde presented at the Italo-Latin American Institute the photographic exhibition "Il Chaco, Ieri ed Oggi", in collaboration with Luca Rugiu.
In March 2021, Officina Edizioni published a book edited by Gherardo, Museo Verde, Popoli del Gran Chaco.

The writer

Gherardo La Francesca has worked as a diplomat in Greece, Egypt, Japan, Argentina, Cyprus, terminating his career as Italy’s Ambassador to Brazil in 2012.
Gherardo has held photographic exhibitions in Nicosia, Ravello, Brasilia and Asunciòn.

Read More

With his sailing boat, which goes by the name of Pulcinella, he crossed the South China Sea, the Strait of Malacca, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.
In Paraguay, where Gherardo lived from February 2013 to August 2016, he contributed to the exhibition "El Circulo Imperfecto", which covered the life of Guido Boggiani, a painter, photographer and traveller from the late 19th century. He also curated an exhibition about Emilio Salgari; organised a photographic exhibitiona bout the Chamacoco natives, including various artefacts and paintings; he managed an archaeological mission in Alto Chaco; he conceived and managed the creation of Museo Verde, an exhibition hall made of palm wood using indigenous techniques in the remote village of Karcha Bahlut.
In 2015, Editrice Servilibro of Asuncion published his work Sebastian Gaboto, historia de un viaje al corazon profundo del continente Americano, published in 2017. The Italian edition, edited by Edicampus, is titled Sebastiano Caboto, storia di un viaggio nel corazon profundo del continente Sudamericano,
Founded in 2018, Museo Verde is a non-profit organization that manages projects for the conservation and enhancement of the indigenous cultures of the Gran Chaco in Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
In February 2020, Museo Verde presented at the Italo-Latin American Institute the photographic exhibition "Il Chaco, Ieri ed Oggi", in collaboration with Luca Rugiu.
In March 2021, Officina Edizioni published a book edited by Gherardo, Museo Verde, Popoli del Gran Chaco.