Exile number 36 is Don Pierino Dilenge, a revolutionary priest, who at the beginning of the 1970s was sent to Aliano, in Basilicata, a village that hosted numerous political exiles – no less than 35 between the 1930s and 1940s, including Levi. It was the most suitable place to annihilate a man and punish him for acting outside the church’s system. The strange priest, however, took on a subversive role and brought about a social and economic upheaval. Fighting against the ecclesiastical hierarchy and political parties, he kept Levi’s memory and work alive. He occupied abandoned lands flanked by the local youth, and became a point of reference for Italian agricultural cooperatives. He was appointed president of a bank and started a war with the communist mayor. His relentless activity often brought him to court for matters that got the national press talking. Don Pierino’s story echoes Carlo Levi’s. They were both confined because they were not in tune with the system, but both capable of overturning unfair decisions by denouncing the despotism behind them. The visionary experience of the priest-cum-businessman turned a land of pain into a place that is now a prized tourist destination.
Emilio Salierno was born in Tricarico (Matera) in 1962. He is a professional journalist and lecturer in law and economics. He writes about the social, political and economic events in Basilicata as editor of the newspaper “La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno”. This is his second book. In his first book, Io sono l’elemento di mezzo – I am the mid element, published by Rubbettino, he tells the story of an influential Chinese woman who promotes a dialogue between the East and the West. In this second book, he presents the figure of an unusual Catholic priest. He is one of the founders of the International Chamber of Sisters, an association that fosters cultural relations with Asia.