Alessandra Giardini on the Rosea, while waiting for the Giro arriving today at Tortona (Alessandria), publishes this interview with Marina Coppi. A contemporary history of cycling, neverending thanks to La Gazzetta dello Sport. A heartwarming page of history, because Coppi will live forever and that was what Fiorenzo Magni, founder of Ghisallo Cycling Museum Madonna del Ghisallo and tied to the Campionissimo and his family by a sportmanship and human friendship, wanted.
By Alessandra Giardini (La Gazzetta dello Sport , May 17th 2023)
Opening picture by Archivio Digitale Musei Ghisallo_ACdB
In Tortona, waiting for the Giro by the finish line, there will also be Marina Coppi. She was twelve years old when her father Fausto “closed his wings”, like Orio Vergani wrote. For us Coppi is history and legend, for Marina he was the father that too soon she had to leave. «I alwasy feel like I don’t have enough memories, and maybe they’re not even all mine. I put them together by listening, more than by talking: every time I meet someone who knew him I add a piece. And cycling is a sport who never forgets».
A memory that is surely yours? «Us playing together. Especially with the dogs. Dad had a pair of hunting dogs, Birbo and Birba. One day we went together to a dog breeding and he got me a boxer puppy, his name was Ero. He was so attached to dad. We tried to keep him in the garden, but as soon as dad came back he followed him inside and never wanted to get out again.».
We picture Fausto as a serious man. «Reserved. Not sad, on the contrary. There was a lot of affection around him. I remember when his support riders came, there was always a lot of confusion in the garden. I liked it.».
Did you know you were Coppi’s daughter? «I had an idea, but for me it was normal.».
Did you go to the races? «I don’t even remember the last Giro d’Italia, seventy years ago. I was young. There weren’t the means of communication we have now, the tv, all this images… I only have some fragments, many pictures. I remember the afternoons listening to the Giro on the radio. The radio reports yes, I recall them. I feel like I’m nostalgic about years I didn’t live, it’s a weird, sweet but also bitter sentiment.».
A trip together? «We lived in Genoa, and during the winter, when there were no races, he used to take me to Marassi. He liked it, and his masseur worked alternatively fot the Genoa and the Samp, my dad went to see the matches out of friendship. I didn’t really care for the matches, I only wanted to be with my dad. We then moved to Novi to be closer to Castellania. Here I started elementary school, and I remember the joy of feeling at home on this hills. It’s a beautiful place. ».
Marina Coppi is also your vineyards name. «Francesco, my son, works the vineyards with passion. A wine is dedicated to Fusto, he called a Favorita Marine. That’s because now there is another Marina, my eldest niece, she’s almost 17 years old. Then there’s Linda, she is in her first year of high school, and Francesca, who’s eleven years old. They keep me company.».
Did you ever bike? «I like to walk».
Did you meet Bartali? «Yes, I met him numerous times. Him and my father shared a lot, they had many things in common, like the love and support of loads of fans, not just Italians. There was a rivalry, but just during the race: and in sports it helps, it isn’t such a negative thing. ».
Do you like cycling? «I follow it but without exaggeration. We can say that when there is the Giro, I like to be informed. I read that they changed Cima Coppi. It doesn’t matter: the Tre Cime is a beautiful place. I love the mountains. I really am a Coppi.».
Marina, do you know wh Evenepoel is? «I think so. Isn’t he Poulidor nephew?…».