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The Light Conversations 27 : Bernard Anson

Writer, Storyteller, Lecturer and Founder of Storygardenz

Bernard Anson Silj aka Dado was born in Rome (Italy) 1948, of British father and Italian mother, educated at Harrow and Trinity College. His formative years between Britain and Italy and subsequent time as a young man, studying in India, fuels his tensions between north-west and south-east of the world.

In 1989, after 10 years in business around the world, he returns to Rome to pursue his passion for landscape narrative. In 1989 he founds Il Laboratorio dell’Umanesimo, with eminent thinkers dedicated to humanistic, scientific and transpersonal subjects.

In 2000 he expands his interest also into cultural travel and founds Storygardenz Ltd. based in Edinburgh and Rome, and develops a collaboration with the Scottish Storytelling Center, and the Ruskin Institute (Brantwood) for various projects, including Stories in Place dedicated to story mapping project, which he presented at the Edinburgh festival in 2017.

Storyteller, lecturer, artist and keynote speaker in Europe and USA, author of several works including Carmen Via, A journey in the songlines of Italy (Semar Press) and the one due to be published in 2021 “The Garden of Crossed Destinies”. In 2010, he featured in a film about his world, “Going DADO” by David Rich.

His current book “The Garden of Crossed Destinies” also investigates the founding stories and legends of his own estate, Villa Anson Silj ( in particular of Livia Drusilla and her husband emperor Augustus. In part of the estate is located the imperial Villa di Livia, with its famous nature frescoes, now conserved in Palazzo Massimo Museum. These represent one of the most ancient and important examples of its kind in the world. They have inspired an institutional project, promoted by Anson, dedicated to art, nature and biodiversity. For all 25 species depicted in the frescoes (eg. the laurus nobilis of the Livia legend) are still growing in the garden.

Also inspired by Livia’s plants is a project titled (provisionally) “Manifest of the living creatures” dedicated to plant intelligence. For all these rivulets of diversified work seem to flow into only one channel of pressing legacy: seeing the web of life needs hearing the voice of the plant kingdom.

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