His name is Luigi Costa and he has been working for our business for around 20 years. My father baptized him the Last of the Mohicans, because he is one of the last men from Piedmont in Langa who represent our worker tradition. He is a man who never left for the big cities to work in factories, instead preferring the hard work of the countryside. Certainly, Luigi has some funny quirks, for example his work outfit consists of a pair of swimming trunks that also serve to carry his cigarettes, wallet and miscellaneous objects. His shoes are held together by a piece of twine. He smokes an average of 2 to 3 packs of cigarettes a day, and has done so since he was 15 years old. And in the spring and summer he works bare-chested, adding only a t-shirt in the fall and a sweater in the winter. His extraordinary gifts include the speed with which he carries out back-breaking labour, such as hoeing the fields or tying the vines. But he gives his very best when doing his favourite work: gathering hazelnuts by hand. He is able to reach 80 kilograms a day. I don’t know if any of you have ever experienced the thrill of gathering hazelnuts by hand. I have, from 6 to 14 years old. You have to stay on your knees for around 8 hours on ground that runs at a steep incline, collecting the nuts that have fallen to the ground.
It is thanks to people like Luigi that it was possible to continue work in the countryside over the years, especially in the dark years for manual labour, the 1970s-80s.