For a series of causes, the name of Massimo Amfiteatrof has been running across my radar a lot recently, so I wanted to let you all know about the excellent classical music festival that is held every summer in Levanto.
Named after Massimo, a virtuoso cellist and longtime resident of Levanto, the Festival Amfiteatrof brings superb talent, much of it young, to perform a series of concerts in wonderful locales in and around Levanto every year. These locales include the exclusive and spectacular Agnelli Villa (owned by the family whose name is synonymous with FIAT and Italian industry) just above the bay of Levanto, the cathedral, and this year an ancient church in one of the small medieval hilltop towns dotting the valley (Chiesanuova). And best of all, the events are free!
Since Massimo Amfiteatrof is not exactly a household name, it’s worth mentioning a couple details. His decidedly un-Italian name is due to the fact that he was, in fact, Russian by birth, and the story of his family brings to mind the jaded, indolent aristocracy who spent their days in Baden Baden and along the Italian Riviera before the events of 1917 caught up with them. Because of his father’s political sympathies, Massimo and the rest of his talented family ended up leaving the newly-Soviet Russia, joining the huge ranks of eastern nobility and dissidents who built new lives in western Europe and America. Fate brought the Amfiteatrof family to Levanto, a place they already knew from when Massimo’s father had fallen out with the Tsar a decade earlier.
And so the city chose to honor Massimo with this festival, just 2 years after his death in the city that had become his home.