My GP at Bagni di Lucca, Dr Vito Valentino, has been, since the election of 2012, a councillor in Mayor Betti’s administration largely concerned with organising events in the Comune. During Christmas 2012-3 he memorably personally upstaged what he termed the red-and-white “Coca-Cola” Father Christmas with a Green man version!
I am glad (in some respects) that I’m no longer seeing Doctor Vito in his Easy Rider Mark II role as he has so many responsibilities now lying on his head that I feel riding a super roadster may no longer be such a beneficial option for him.
At the time these photographs were taken in May 2006. Dr Vito, who was born in San Pancrazio Salentino near Brindisi and is, therefore, a Pugliese seems clearly more relaxed about things.
I regard Vito highly, not just as my GP, but as a doctor who takes a holistic account of medical states of affairs. For example, there was a remarkable situation some years ago when the wife of an English friend, who has a house at Mobbiano, woke up one morning and found she could not walk. Vito was called in to help. In a Christ-like fashion he looked into her eyes, laid his hands on her, and motioned as if to say “rise, take up your bed and walk” – and that’s exactly what she did!
I’m not suggesting that Vito is a faith-healer extraordinaire but he realises that so many illnesses have psycho-somatic reasons lurking behind them, is well aware of this and is able in a highly intuitive way to connect with them.
Vito is, not unsurprisingly, an artist of some distinction and I am only too sorry that he has never exhibited his enchanting pictures (some of which may be viewed in his surgery in Bagni di Lucca’s Via Contessa Casalini).
Vito is also a man of the theatre and a couple of years ago ran a show at our local Teatro Accademico with his volunteer red-cross staff (he is also “medico di guardia” i.e. he has to be on duty at the Red Cross centre on several nights of the week in case of sudden emergencies). During their time waiting for medical disasters to happen Vito decided to form a little theatrical group with his staff and I have never see the theatre so well filled or the applause so hearty as on the nights of his fluent and funny show.
Bravo Vito! Although he has lived and been a medical practitioner in the area for so many years he is still regarded by some as an outsider – Bagni di Lucca society can often remain so closed.
I respect Vito as a Doctor, I admire him for his creative visions and I enjoy his well-informed friendship.
Incidentally, Vito’s wife Dottoressa Iana Togneri, is medical director of the Terme di Bagni di Lucca and the first point of call if one is unsure about one’s health in taking the cures at the establishment there.
The other photographs I am providing form part of the youth theatre’s festival of 2006. Bagni di Lucca’s Teatro is quite well used – indeed, there will be a concert by a well-known singer tomorrow night – and long may it continue to delight audiences and attract new stars onto its boards.