Original title: Magnifica

Publication Date:

May 2016



Original language and publisher

Italian | Sellerio Editore


Literary Fiction


Original title: Magnifica

  • 2 Seas Represents: Dutch rights
  • Rights sold: Germany (DuMont Buchverlag), France (Éditions Denoël/Gallimard)
  • French and German translation available
  • Winner of the Premio Biblioteche di Roma


In the vein of family sagas, the author introduces innovative stylistic codes, images and a background music produced by words that evoke the past. – Il Tempo

A surprising and exciting novel. Loves, tragedies, secrets, passions and enchanted days set in a harsh rural world that gets tinged with fable” – Dipiù

Magnifica is a book that makes you feel like being in a lair. Sometimes you feel the need for a forest. The need to stand listening to a completely amniotic book. – Flanerí

The story of a woman and her family, a matrilineal saga told with an elegant writing

Ada Maria and Pietrino live with their dad Aniceto, a hunter with a penchant for taxidermy, in a village hidden in the Apennine Mountains. A loving and devoted woman, Teresina, is also in the picture, although Ada Maria tries to shrug her off as she would with any of her housekeeping tasks. One day, while wandering in the woods, Ada Maria bumps into a ghostly man. Thin, bearded, wrapped up in a blanket, he talks to her, but she walks away: “Auf Wiedersehen.”

The flow of time and any social evolution struggle to pierce these lonely high grounds, the outside world only crashing in pushed by the devastating force of the Second World War.

The encounter between Ada Maria and “the German” is the event that sparks off a new destiny. Later on, yet another woman, Magnifica, will wield a pen to understand and tell this astonishing matrilineal family saga. From her rich and painstakingly-detailed evocative writing, she unfolds a story where the raw reality of outermost Italy mingles with the gothic taste for a literary and fairy-tale tradition. Calling upon memories is a challenge to the truth, the rhythm of daily life is set by nature and the march of the seasons marks the beat of hopes and passions.

Maria Rosaria Valentini is a poet and a writer. She was born in 1963, she got a degree in German Studies in Rome and she has been living in Switzerland for a long time. She has published the tale Quattro mele annurche, the short novel Antonia with Gabriele Capelli Editore and Mimose a dicembre (Keller Editore, 2013).

Other books by this author