for Point.51

A SooS Chronicles collective feature.
All pictures by Filippo Bardazzi and Laura Chiaroni.

There is a country in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines that does not appear on any map. A micro-nation that first emerged in 1996, when the winds of secession blew across northern Italy after the electoral success of Umberto Bossi and his political party, the right-wing Lega Nord (Northern League). Its name is Mapsulon and its self-declared territory mostly overlaps with the municipality of Maresca, a pleasant village less than 20 miles away from Pistoia, a city northwest of Florence. The beginning of this bizarre and little-known story dates back to the early 1990s, when a small group of young and literate friends, born or raised in the village of Maresca, imagined a different world based on art, amusement, and political utopias. “We were standing at a crossroads,” recalls Secondo Calibano, one of the founding fathers of Mapsulon.

“Lega Nord had been promoting the independence of Padania from Italy for years, and the electoral triumph of the party in 1996 seemed to make this scenario absolutely plausible.” Padania, the nation that the Lega Nord wished to create, would have stretched from the Italian Alps to the northern border of Tuscany – almost exactly where the village of Maresca stood. Soon, uncertainty about the village's fate began to unsettle life within this little world. “We began to ask ourselves if the future of our community would have been with the new emerging country or with the remains of Italy,” Secondo recalls. Amid this precarious political situation, the people of Maresca decided to take their destiny into their own hands. On the 15th of September 1996 – the day when Padania celebrated its intended self-determination, Maresca declared independence – naming itself Mapsulon. Proud of their Etruscan origins, the villagers felt that they had nothing in common with Padania; nor with the bureaucracy of the Italian state.

From the text appeared on Issue #4 of Point.51 Magazine (July 2021)