Lithobag #1: Rock and a Hard Place

In the Participatory Lithology project we are opening the sixth season of our branobag blog series. Given the context of the project, the articles will be issued as “lithobags”. If you don’t know what a branobag is, you can easily find out from this page.

There will be two important differences with respect to previous branobag series. The first one is that on this round we will make an effort to publish also the English version of these articles (most of the site is maintained in Italian and English, but due to their daily frequency and length of some articles, in the past we preferred not to translate the original Italian versions). The second one is that for the lithobag series the playlist has been created in one week from the launch of the project, as a brainstorming exercise by various folks with the base quartet of the Metalliferous Hills Jug Band. In the past the each track was selected “on the spot” by pibinko, day by day.

On this round we had the response of various musicians and music experts from Sassari (Sardinia), going North. They responded to the call of the Participatory Lithology project to play as “entertainers”, suggesting tunes which are related to rocks, stones, minerals, etc. These tunes will help to give the other characters in the project (we have collectors, classifiers, and sponsors, and please see the project presentation to review what these roles should do). As the project unfolds, we will be introducing to you our DJs, and we will relate them to one or more elements of the project (one of the samples in the process of being classified, some other character, etc.).

Take for example the header image, where you can see sample Z012. This comes from Guido and Valeria’s collection in Tatti. At the time of writing we don’t know what it is, but it reminds me of a bird’s eye view of the town portrayed in Dark City.

How long will the lithobag series last? This will all depend by suggestions we receive. At present we can run the show for about a month.

Without further ado: let us hear the track which inspired the motto for Participatory Lithology (“between a rock and a hard phase“).

…and we start with “them”, as Gabriele from Sassari calls the Rolling Stones. HE and his family are so incredibly into the Stones that they don’t even need to name them…and to refer to Keith Richards they just call him “him”. Below you will also find the Italian translation of the lyrics, made on-the-fly by Mauro Tirannosauro. In addition to being a participatory lithology expert, Mauro also has an excellent command of English, since he spent several years in the UK when he was a kid. Enjoy our lithomusic, and talk to you tomorrow.

The fields of Eden | I campi dell’Eden
Are full of trash | sono pieni di mondezza
And if we beg and we borrow and steal | e anche se preghiamo, prendiamo in prestito o rubiamo
We’ll never get it back | non ce li ridaranno mai
People are hungry | la gente ha fame
They crowd around | si raggruppano qua e là
And the city gets bigger as the country comes begging to town | e la città cresce mano a mano che la campagna viene a elemosinare in città
We’re stuck between a rock | siamo fra l’incudine
And a hard place | e il martello
Between a rock and a hard place
This talk of freedom | Queste chiacchiere di libertà
And human rights | e diritti umani
Means bullying and private wars and chucking all the dust into our eyes | voglio dire maltrattare i più deboli, guerre private e tirarci un sacco di terra in faccia
And peasant people | e i contadini
Poorer than dirt | più poveri della terra
Who are caught in the crossfire with nothing to lose but their shirts | stanno in mezzo al fuoco incrociato, con niente da perdere se non le loro camice
Stuck between a rock | presi tra l’incudine
And a hard place | e il martello
Between a rock and a hard place
You’d better stop put on a kind face | meglio che tu ti fermi, fai un’espressione gentile
Between a rock and a hard place
We’re in the same boat | siamo sulla stessa barca
On the same sea | sullo stesso mare
And we’re sailing south | e viaggiamo verso sud
On the same breeze | con la stessa brezza
Guiding dream churches | guidando chiese da sogno
With silver spires | con spire argentate
And our rogue children | mente i nostri bimbi molesti
Are playing loaded dice | giocano coi dadi truccati
Give me truth now | ora dammi la verità
Don’t want no sham | non voglio finzioni
I’d be hung drawn and quartered for a sheep just as well as a lamb | mi farebbero impiccare, sventrare e squartare comunque
Stuck between a rock
And a hard place
Between a rock and a hard place
You’d better stop
Put on a kind face
Can’t you see what you’ve done to me | non riesci a vedere quello che mi hai fatto

“Between a Rock and a hard Phase”: our first week with Participatory Lithology (Mar. 21-27)

We might not be starting a weekly reporting of this initiative, but we want to make sure we can remember the first seven days.

We had the possibility of experiencing a series of events which proved to be interesting, curious, and at times genuinely entertaining. All this in the midst of an extremely severe situation, which we do not ignore. On one side, we could say we are “Between a rock and a hard place“, but the feeling we had starting participatory lithology was like being “Between a rock and a hard phase” [1].

As an opening act…a new title track, performed by Matti delle Giuncaie’s Francesco Ceri, with lyrics by the Metalliferous Hills Jug Band (a translation of the lyrics is provided here):

With this, we might say we e more or less explained all about our project, but please read on…

Project presentations

We were invited to give presentations of the project by two radio shows. One was on March 24 for Caterpillar, RAI Radio 2. This is one of the main radio shows in Italy and we were proud of having this as our first public sortie. The second one was for Radio Popolare Milano, which has more of a local FM coverage (some 100 km around Milan, plus web streaming). Since 2007 they have covered many of the projects we launched, and allowed a lot of air time to detail what we are doing and give more context and interconnections with our other projects. Based on feedback we received from several people, this interview was a sort of “eye opener” on a lot of aspects of the network’s operations.

Finally, Il Tirreno, one of the two main newspapers in Tuscany, published on March 27 a very long article about “Stone Collectors meeting on the Web“.

If you don’t speak Italian, you may still check the links above since they include additional links to English versions of various topics presented.

If you like to follow the project step by step, you can look for the PELP tag on (PELP stand for Piccolo Esercizio di Litologia Partecipativa ….our little participatory lithology exercise). Click here:

Some facts about the project…but please remember that this is not a competition (while not being a game)

Collectors: 4 as of March 21. 6 as of March 27. Overall we have received photos of 182 samples from Tatti (our home base), Vallerotana, close to Grosseto, Southern Tuscany, and Florence.

Some of the samples photographed this week, under Mauro Tirannosauro’s supervision.

Classifiers: four as of March 21, seven as of March 27. Active classifiers four (from Turin, Rome, Busto Arsizio, Pavia)…with 57 comments [4].

Entertainers: Eight in the creation of the “lithoplaylist” (songs mentioning rocks, minerals, or stones). Two on performances (plus one in the process of finalizing a third song)….stay -literally- tuned for updates

Sponsor: As of March 21, two. Three as of March 27.

What next?

In our second week we will continue along all four lines of activity (1) looking for more “forgotten rock collections”, (2) identifying samples thanks to our chartered classifiers, (3) proposing “lithomusic” à go go, and (4) the research of more sponsors to improve the rewards for the most active participants, and to cover at least part of our operational efforts on the project.

To have a part in this project or for information on how to support it, please write to or contact + 393317539228 (if you don’t get an answer this may be because mobile coverage in Tatti is a bit shaky…so please send an SMS or a Whatsapp message).


We got to this point as a result of brainstorming and coordination of energies with (in alphabetical order by first name): Alberico Mattei, Amos Unfer, Carolina Cortesi, Cristian Carlone, Francesco Ceri, Guido Bendinelli, Jack O’Malley, Liliana Cafiero, Loriano Bartoli, Martina Busonero, Mauro Tirannosauro, Valeria Trumpy, Wolfgang Scheibe, and other folks you will learn about as their activities unfold.


  • [1] Italians don’t say literally “Between a rock and a hard place”…an equivalent expression is “Tra l’incudine e il martello” (i.e. between an anvil and a hammer)…but a lot of people know the Stones so we are using “Between a rock and a hard phase” also in our Italian articles.

Header image: Tatti and the land to the South (Mount Argentation is at the centre of the horizon).

Ricette Bone (Yummy recipes)

Tuscan recipes suggested by Aunt Eda in the Winter of 2010-2011. Available at present in Italian…

Pescando dall’elenco completo che trovate in fondo a questo articolo (ogni volta che si ricarica la pagina l’ordine cambia)

Per categoria:

Difficoltà: Facile Media Difficile

Tempo di preparazione: Veloce Medio Lungo

Altre categorie Antipasto, Contorno, Primo, Secondo, Sottolio, Vegetariano, Dolce

Per tag:

acciughe aceto aglio asparagi bietole burro cacao capperi carciofi carote castagne cavolo fiore cioccolato cipolla farina farina di castagne fichi formaggio funghi latte limone limoni mascarpone melanzane mele noci olio pane grattato parmigiano peperoncino peperoni pomodoro prezzemolo ricotta riso sale savoiardi sedano tonno uova verdure varie zucca gialla zucchero zucchine zucchini

Mauro Tirannosauro reading an article on salamanders on Il Tirreno

Mauro Tirannosauro, une of the folks from the core team of the Participatory Lithology project is concentrated reading an article concerning some potential relations of his. This is after he went through word by word on the article on the left, which actually talks about him and his colleagues.. .you can find the full article, in Italian on this page (Il Tirreno, Grosseto Edition, March 27, 2020).

…and all with a good glass of wine and a fancy soundtrack at the end of a long day classifying stones.

The “Giacomelli” Exo X27

This guitar was given as a present by Vittorio Giacomelli to Edo Giacomelli, his younger brother, in the early Sixties. It was then given by Edo Giacomelli to Andrea Giacomelli around 2005. Since then it has been used in various gigs and musical situations (including the riff for the super-scary Revenge of the Killer Chihuahua and of the can hear it in this trailer).

This instrument is often seen in performances of the Jug Band Colline Metallifere (Metalliderous Hills Jug Band).

The network, buiometria, and participatory lithology @ Radio Popolare Milano (March 26, 2020)

This was a long talk with Disma Pestalozza and Alessandro Diegoli, providing breaking news on Participatory Lithology, but also going into various flashbacks related to the network. These included “The Revenge of the Killer Chihuahua and of the Zombies” (2006), the ancient game of palla 21, buiometria partecipativa (participatory night sky quality monitoring), Aunt Eda’s yummy recipees, insight on Tatti, Southern Tuscsany, and how the COVID-19 lockdown is lived in lesser-known rural areas..all these stories are documented on the sito You may consider using this page as an entry point.

For more information: