The man who knows no foreign language, knows nothing of his mother.


Nobody ever told me
I could fly
Nobody ever promised
I won't die.
Yet without wings
I flew
And now without regret
For promises unkept
For things undone
Now without much pain
I feel like flying yet... again



Nessuno mi ha mai detto
Nessuno m'ha promesso
"Non morirai"
Eppure senz'ali
ho già volato tanto
e ora senz' alcun rimpianto
di promesse mancate
di cose incompiute
senza pena aggiunta o tolta
mi preparo a volare un'altra volta.

Tiziano Terzani (14 September 1938 - 28 July 2004) He attended the University of Pisa as a law student and, after graduating, he started working for Olivetti. In 1965, he had the chance to go on a business trip to Japan. This was his first contact with Asia and his first step towards his decision to change his life radically and explore Asia. He then resigned from Olivetti and moved to Columbia University in order to study Chinese language and culture.
In 1971 moved to Singapore as a reporter, with his wife and their two small children. He then offered his collaboration to the Italian daily newspapers Corriere della Sera and La Repubblica, thus becoming one of the most prestigious Italian journalists on an international level.
Terzani knew much about the historical and political background of Asia, but had also a deep interest in the philosophical aspects of Asian culture. Though an unbeliever, he always looked in his journeys for the spiritual aspects of the countries he was visiting. He lived in Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and New Delhi which became his second home. His stay in Beijing came to an end when he was arrested and expelled from the country for "counter-revolutionary activities". Based on his experiences, he wrote La Porta Proibita (Behind The Forbidden Door), a highly critical book about post-maoist China.
Terzani's experiences in Asia are described in articles and essays in newspapers, as well as the several books that he wrote. In the first book, which he wrote in 1973, Pelle di Leopardo (Leopard Skin), he tells about the last phases of the Vietnam war. One of his most interesting books is Un Indovino mi Disse (A Fortune Teller Told Me), the report of a journey through different Asian countries. The journey lasted for about a year. In this period, Terzani never took a plane, following the advice and warning of a fortune teller he had met.
In his last book Un Altro Giro di Giostra (One More Ride on the Merry-go-round), Terzani deals with his illness, (a tumor) which eventually led to his death, but not before he had travelled and searched through different and far away countries and civilizations, looking for a cure for his cancer and for a new vision of life. He spent the last months of his life in Orsigna, a little village in the Appenines near Pistoia that he considered "his true, last love".

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