Tara is the name of a small river near the city of Taranto, extending for about 2 km just by the largest steel plant in Europe: the ILVA. In an area marked by heavy pollution, wild and abusive human activity, presence of military installations and refineries, this short watercourse is an overlook derangement. A vision – immediate and extraordinary – stressing the bitter opposition between the great cancer of the industries and this small green and blue oasis.
However, lush vegetation, bright colors, wildlife and a river with abundant capacity are only one part of the enchantment of this place. The charm of the Tara river lies in a further, unexpected aspect: the one concerning faith.
Starting from an old legend telling the miraculous cure of a sick donkey – left to die at the river and healed, instead, by its waters – a popular belief spread, about the miraculous and therapeutic properties of the stream, and later on it became a religious devotion.
Every September 1st, at dawn, in this hidden corner of Puglia, haven for both eyes and soul, people gather to bring about a collective prayer. A few steps further down, a few minutes away, a bush recalls the signs of the black cancer that all of Europe knows. But these people seem to live a dream that is repeated every year, which is good to be lulled by.