• The big heart


Stories of women and men facing the challenge of cardiomyopathies

Il Cuore Grande recounts those difficult moments in which illness breaks into life and shatters old personal and family balances. There are twenty patients (or their families) of various age groups and geographical origin who tell each other. Twenty short stories that capture various stages of the progression of cardiomyopathies and their treatment. A dramatic common trait unites them: the sudden news of the disease overwhelms everyone like a terrible shock. Accepting it and learning to live with it is not easy. Someone denies it, and for a certain period refuses continuity of care. But there is never whining or self-pity in this book. And there isn't even that prevailing "social" mania of wanting to appear at any cost even in moments of fragility. In the Big Heart there is always the desire and the courage to regenerate by finding new life balances. There is the cyclist who discovers that his tired heart can't take it anymore but he doesn't give up, buys an electric bike and runs away. There is Giulia who wants to become her mother, they tell her not to, and she succeeds; in spite of everything and everyone. The photographer who rediscovers the charm of slowness in life, and reappropriates it by transforming it into a creative activity. And then there's a beautiful story of crossed destinies between those who give and those who receive a new heart: she would be worthy of a film screenplay. And yet nothing is fiction in this book. There is pain, yes, and a lot of reality. Together with a great desire for rebirth and a cry of hope that reassures us.


In contemporary medicine, the narratives of patients, or those involved in their care, are essential. Narrative medicine uses stories to guide treatment in the most effective direction, promotes the active participation of people in the decision-making process, allowing patients to become protagonists of their own healing process, resulting in more complete, effective and appropriate clinical decisions.

Il Cuore Grande, with its collection of stories, comments and different perspectives, is a valuable and unique contribution that allows us to understand and empathize with the world of cardiomyopathies. Furthermore, it strengthens the field of narrative medicine in Italy, enabling patients, healthcare professionals and organizations to participate actively and together in this transformational process.

Franco Cecchi presents Il Cuore Grande 

Get to know the authors

Laura D'Ettole
Laura D'Ettole

Laura D'Ettole, journalist specializing in the socio-economic sector, collaborates with the AICARM newsletter  AICARM NEWS. He has to his credit numerous collaborations with newspapers including Il Sole 24 Ore and Corriere Fiorentino, and has written numerous articles for books, magazines and online periodicals.

Prof Franco Cecchi
Frank Cecchi

Franco Cecchi, cardiologist, is the President of AICARM APS, an association founded in December 2019 together with other doctors and patients. Since 1992 he has promoted and carried out numerous scientific researches on cardiomyopathies in collaboration with national and international centres, and has introduced innovative therapies for patients with these pathologies. In 2014 he actively participated in the drafting of the Guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, largely derived also from the experience gained in the Cardiomyopathies Unit of the Careggi AOU in Florence.


Authors: Laura D'Ettole, Franco Cecchi Pages: 80
Editor: Polyprint Format: 15 × 21
Necklace: Socio-humanitarian, Medicine ISBNs: 978-88-596-2346-5

How to get the book

The book is distributed free of charge to AICARM APS members and benefactors.

The book can be purchased at the best bookstores or online at the Polistampa publisher's shop at the following address: The Big Heart