The Miraculous Beach, or, Prize for Modesty by Massimo Bontempelli

Translated by Jenny McPhee and extracted from The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories, The Miraculous Beach is a story that demonstrates the power of our imagination to transport us to somewhere we’d rather be.


Only a few heroes and heroines stayed to watch over the city.

‘Darling, you must give me a small present, you must have a beautiful bathing suit made for me.’

Was it possible that this little story concerning the bathing suit marked the start of a campaign to get me to take her to the seaside?

I stared at her, ecstatic, and listened to the sea, which had come to visit us.

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