What Should Be Saved

Original title: Le cose da salvare

Publication Date:

March 2020



Original language and publisher

Italian | Neri Pozza

Territories Handled

English (North America), Netherlands


Literary Fiction

What Should Be Saved

Original title: Le cose da salvare


Ilaria Rossetti’s writing is intense, often poetic, and touches the heart of every reader. – Wanda Marasc

What should be saved? This is the question retired teacher Gabriele Maestrale is forced to ask when the Grazzani bridge suddenly collapses onto the building where he lives, endangering local residents and forcing them to abandon their homes. Unable to choose which objects to save and which to leave behind forever, Gabriele is frozen, and decides to stay in the house where he was born and where he lived with his wife Elisabetta before she left him.

Two years after the collapse, Gabriele is the last surviving resident in the neighbourhood under the stumps of the Grazzani bridge, with no electricity or gas, indifferent to the authorities’ many requests to give up the dilapidated house and move to safety. Petra Capoani, a young journalist who has recently returned to Italy from London, is given the task of approaching Gabriele Maestrale to interview him for the local daily newspaper, “La Voce”. The determined reporter gradually breaks through the wall Gabriele has put up, discovering in him a fragile and extremely lonely man, unable to react to the challenges life throws at him. The upcoming local elections force the Council to make a decision: the remains of the bridge and the crumbling houses must be torn down.

Backed into a corner, Gabriele finds himself in exactly the same position as two years earlier, having to decide what should be saved. His final choice will be difficult and dramatic.

In a clear, no-frills style, Ilaria Rossetti tells this story based on real life events (the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa) and examines what really matters at the crucial moments in life, exposing discrepancies and indifference in our society.

Marketing Information

  • Longlisted for Premio Strega 2020, winner of the Premio Neri Pozza 2019
  • Ilaria Rossetti won the Premio Campiello Giovani 2007