Private Soldini. Hidden side revealed: family, wife, rescues


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I’m not a normal father, my daughter always tells me. I give them confidence, though, always…today we wrap kids up too much, they have to learn to fend for themselves.” These are unsurprising words from a guy like Giovanni Soldini, 53 years old shortly, who revealed his private side to the Corriere della Sera supplement “Liberi tutti.”

Interesting are the words Soldini reserves for parenting. Here is his view as a father of four children ages 22 to 11: “I am the theorist that the parent’s mission is to make the children independent as soon as possible, I am being a father not a mama. The difference? The father is the one who gives you the experiences, the mammo the one who protects you and wraps you in cotton wool.”

He tells of his escape from his parents and a very strict father at age 16, when he ran away from home with a friend, leaving a note in which he wrote, “I’m taking a vacation to decide what I want to do…if you call the police look for me in India.” And he says today about one of his sons, “I came back and one of my sons had left a couple of months ago for Australia to clear his head. I suggested it to him. He doesn’t really know what to do. I told him, ‘Go. There is a chance to get work study permits there as long as you do something manual labor, pick kiwis or pull up nets on a fishing boat. It felt like a good thing. I sponsored his ticket but for two months already he has been supporting himself.”

Giovanni Soldini has a large family: wife Benedetta, eldest daughter Martina (22), Gerolamo (19), Alice (15) and Leo (11). The interviewer asks him: Benedetta, his wife, always at home (they live in Sarzana, Liguria): a saint rather than a heroine. Here is John’s answer: “A saint no, but a tough woman yes. A life as a couple is not easy with the Oceans in between, it is true but it seems to me that it is not true for everyone. It’s complicated for everyone. She occasionally tells me that our fishmonger’s wife always says to her, ‘Blessed one, at least her husband is away sometimes, mine doesn’t even go to the stadium.’ Of course, when I come back and she has already solved all the problems to me, I feel like I don’t matter a damn.”

Soldini with Isabelle Autissier after the rescue at Around Alone 1998-99

Soldini reveals in this meeting with the Courier a surprising aspect, an unsuspected human side, today family comes before sailing, he tells: “Of course at one time I was completely dedicated to sailing, everything else came later, but quite a bit later. Now only after“.

A reflection that smacks very much of current events Soldini makes about rescues at sea (famous is his in the middle of the Ocean of sailor Isabelle Autissier): “At sea, saving a life is a sacred rule. If you are a sailor you cannot let anyone drown, ever. The Romans already did it, we have to do it.” He reiterates, “You can’t ask a sailor not to do it.”




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