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MarcoThe Interview
Marco Nizzardo

Local writer and storyteller, George Murphy interviews local characters and personalities

The story so far - in Marco’s own words:

“I was born very little in 1970 in Florence, where I grew up my first 10 years. My English mother came from Guernsey. Father had a restaurant called The Sword, near Piazza Santa Maria Novella.

We moved north in the 80s, near Milano. Father had a restaurant called il Passatore after a famous Italian brigand (the Italian Robin Hood, who used to rob the rich, full stop).

My family moved to Leeds in 1988 and I stayed in Italy as a student … After a few years, and a troubled period, I left for the Mexican rainforest (Selva) just after an uprising in Chiapas. After learning how life is difficult outside our Western bubble, I came back and worked in my father’s restaurant in Varies (he’d had enough of the English way of life, but most of all my mother).

Father died suddenly and my brother and I took over the huge restaurant for a few years. Local Mafia, politics and priests got in the way and we had to abandon the place … (from) 2001 I worked for 9 years before becoming fed up with the Italian way of life and decided to move to the UK with my children and Alba, my wife.

Marco and family

I bumped into Hebden Bridge and found the cafe I now work in. The previous owner wanted to sell it and I bluffed, saying I would buy it, even though I didn’t have a penny. I wrote a dreamtime story (I’m a passionate didgeridoo player and study aboriginal culture) and magically found all the funds I needed among friends. Since then the cafe has been run fantastically and given us many satisfactions. Now I’m a bit bored and the virus has got me thinking about the next phase.


Quick fire Q and A

What has made you laugh loudest? My ice hockey team mates.

Whats your favourite book? The Cicero Trilogy, by Robert Harris.

Have you got a motto? Strike with brightness what comes from light and with darkness what comes from darkness.

How has lockdown been for you? A blessing.

If you were locked in the condemned cell and offered a final meal, what would you choose? Duck a l’orange and “fritto misto” ( Italian fish fry up) and cool Traminer wine.

Can you tell us a moment that changed your life? The death of my father, I felt I had to become an adult in one moment.

If you could change one moment in your life, what would it be? I’m quite happy with how things have gone up to now.

What is your favourite place? Florence, via della Spada.

To whom would you most like to say “Thank you”? To my uncle Paul Cook.

To whom would you most like to say “Sorry”? To my ex girlfriend Pesca.

How do you rate living in Hebden (floods included)? It has been great, now though, I would like to have a house a bit higher up.

What gives you hope? My two children.

What question would you like me to have asked - and what would your answer be?

Have you got many friends?  Answer: Unfortunately not.

More HebWeb interviews from George Murphy

If you would like to send a message about this interview or suggest ideas for further interviews, please email George Murphy