Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò
Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò (koh-ZEE-moh peeoh-VAHS-koh dee rohn-DOH), who is twelve years old at the narrative’s outset. He is the eldest son in the Piovasco family and successor as baron of the Ombrosa estate. Cosimo is energetic and determined, an idealist who insists on acting on his principles. the central figure in the story, he sets the main action going when he refuses to eat a meal of snails prepared by his sister. Sent from the table, he climbs into a holm oak on his family’s estate and vows never to descend from the trees. Cosimo eventually develops instincts and senses different from other humans as a result of living in the wild and having to be ever watchful and alert. This vigilance becomes “his natural state, as if his eyes had to embrace a horizon wide enough to understand all.” Despite his arboreal life, he becomes studious and well read in the philosophy of the Enlightenment; as a reader as well as a tree dweller, he acquires, virtually and literally, a bird’s-eye view of his era.
Biaggio Piovasco di Rondò
Biaggio Piovasco di Rondò (bee-AHJ-jee-oh), Cosimo’s brother, eight years old at the outset of the action. He narrates the tales of Cosimo’s extraordinary life. Though at first regarded by Cosimo as weak because of his failure to resist their father, Biaggio is a close friend and confidant to Cosimo. Biaggio takes his brother food and supplies when needed and keeps Cosimo informed of events that Cosimo cannot observe. Throughout the narrative, Biaggio maintains an attitude of wonder and awe at his brother’s exploits.
Violante (Viola) Ondariva
Violante (Viola) Ondariva (veeoh-LAHN-teh on-dah-REE-vah), a neighbor to the...
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