16 June, 2019
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Danilo Petrucci, Ducati’s rider, brings Umbria on track. The motorcyclist, born in 1990, comes from Terni and in his city he would like to open a track to make this sport known and loved.

Danilo Petrucci

 

Petrux, who rides in MotoGP since 2012 – the highest motorcycle category – this year achieved its best result: an eighth place in the final classification, climbing on the podium for four times. An important growth for the motorcyclist that comes from Terni, who writes a diary and relaxes in the woods of Umbria.

What’s your connection with Umbria? 
My beloved live in Umbria and not only in Terni, also in Perugia. I am very fond of my region.

I read in an interview that you write your thoughts on a diary: what would you like to write, that you haven’t written yet?
There are still so many pages that I would like to write and that I have not written yet. No one knows what I write in my diaries, sometimes I have thrown away some of them, without reading them again. I confess that there are two or three things, not only about sport, that I would like to write, but I do not say that because of superstition.

You are used to speed: what would you need Umbria to start running like other regions do?
It would need a little more openness and tolerance even towards the world of motorcycles. I am trying to do something for my city: I would like to open a track, but there is a lot of difficulty and little goodwill. They think we’re making too much noise and that’s why they hinder us. It is always very difficult.

How did you reach the MotoGP, starting from a region that historically is not so tied to the engines?
There have been many people, both in Terni and in Perugia, who have helped me financially to start this career, and I can only thank them. Then, if you want to realize your dream, you have to do a lot of kilometers: as a child, to do Motocross, I used to go to Marche and Lazio. In Umbria there is Magione, which has been my special track for many years. However, it would need a different eye on the engines world and above all that it would need a more importance, even in Umbria.

Have you ever felt that Umbrian stereotype of being narrow-minded, or did someone make it notice to you? 
In my work it is not useful to be narrow-minded, because often you have to speak necessarily. Umbrians are a bit strange: we are very small, but we quarrel. Terni and Perugia are almost enemies. I do not know if we are so closed, certainly we do not have the same resources as the other regions: we have neither the sea nor the real mountain. We have many beautiful places, but little known.

Three words to describe Umbria… 
Charming, secret, small.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region… 
The mountains where I like practicing Enduro. Here there are some of the best places in Italy to do it. I take the bike and relax by going around the woods.

 

 

More on Terni

Known by most as the town of the steel, as a working town, almost completely destroyed by the bombings, Terni still hides in itself a small treasure. The Universal Judgement, by Bartolomeo di Tommaso painter from Foligno and precursor to the Umbrian Renaissance, survived to the devastation of the Second World War. To jealously guard it, there are the walls of the Cappella Paradisi which opens at the end of the right nave of the Church of Saint Francis.

 

The cycle currently visible, is perhaps the most important pictorial witness of the Fifteenth century, yet its critical history began late. Indeed, the local historians could not speak about it until the Nineteenth century because the conventual monks, to whom the Church belonged, used that room as a warehouse for the convent’s wood and walled up the archway. The frescoes came to light again only in 1861, thanks to the work of the architect Benedetto Faustini.

A Controversial Attribution

Before the problem of the attribution, the critics faced the one of the controversial iconography. At first all the critics talked about illustration of the Divine Comedy. Actually, in 1872, Marino Guardabassi read in it «the deep concepts of Alighieri», and this reading seemed to be comforted by the attribution to Bartolomeo di Tommaso because the first printing production of the Dante’s Poem has been made in the town of Foligno.
In 1977 and 1978, Bruno Toscano and Pietro Adorno took care of the iconographic study, which having failed to find timely correspondence with the Dantesque Terzines, directed their research to another road which refers to the social and religious climate that the city lived in the mid-Fourteenth century and to the ties of the painter with the Franciscan Order and with Giacomo della Marca, travelling preacher. San Giacomo was certainly in Terni in 1444 and often preached in the Church of San Francesco against the vices he had observed. Terni, therefore lived under the spiritual guidance of this friar who one year later brought his oratory also to Foligno, profoundly influencing Bartolomeo di Tommaso.
It should be also considered that who commissioned the work in 1449 was Monaldo Parisi, a figure particularly linked to the Observance and the reform statutes that were wanted by San Giacomo.
Actually, the Last Judgement is a constant in the preaching of the friar, and one of the Sermones Dominicales, the De Judicio Extremo, seems to correspond step by step to the paintings of Bartolomeo di Tommaso, as if the painter had faithfully followed it by transforming the images into words. Thus Giacomo della Marca turns out to be the inspirational main source of the painter.

 

Universal Judgement

The decoration of the Paradisi Chapel lies in an imposing and terrible Universal Judgment. It begins in the entrance soffit with six quadrilobate frames framing the busts of the prophets who announced the return of Christ: Jeremiah, Daniel, Malachi, Isaiah, Jonah, and Abdia. Inside the Chapel, above the entrance arc, you will find two additional figures of semi lying prophets inserted in a woody and rocky landscape, the only naturalistic note of the fresco. The other walls are horizontally framed by a painted frame that divides them in half.
The action winds from left to right starting from the lower register where the space is divided into caves and a capital sin is assigned to each cave. Only five of those caves remain and in each of them there is an angel leaning forward his arms to the souls to lift them and point them upward.
In the upper register we find the figure of Christ with the red banner, darting figures are leaning towards the Christ.
Also in the central wall we find again the figure of the Son of God represented as Christ Judge in the Mandorla, sourrounded by the Baptist, by a Virgin with curiously oriental features, and three groups of angels and Patriarchs.
St. Peter opens the door of Paradise surrounded by the 12 apostles, Paul and Barnaba. Below the Archangel Michele, around him are the figures of the Chosen ones, among them a magistrate with the red cap is identified as Giovanni Paradisi, founder of the principals whose coat of arms is seen at the feet of the Archangel.
The wall on the right, however, is more damaged due to the fall of plaster. We can see the representation of the sinning souls falling to the hell pulled down by chains to the neck and violently struck by the angels that bring them into the spells. In the lower register a gigantic Satan stands framed by rings of fire. Some demons beside Satan give him the souls that he grasps and mauls. Fire springs are raining everywhere.

 


Bibliographic references: P. Mostarda in Arte e territorio. Interventi di restauro, Terni, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Terni e Narni, 2001

 

More on Terni

INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 medium size mushroom caps
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tuft of parsley
  • 30 g of lard
  • salt
  • pepper

 

PREPARATION:

Place the caps, well clean, on the grill. Dice finely lard, garlic and parsley, salt it, pepper it and place it on the caps, which you will cook on low heat first on one side and then on the other.

 

 

In the modern version we can use of oil instead of lard. Parsley, in some areas, is replaced with marjoram or mint. It was also used to prepare the fried mushrooms, or stew mushrooms, i.e. cooked in a pan with oil, garlic, parsley, tomato, salt and pepper.

“I assure you that it doesn’t need to be windy, because you would be in great danger. Even without wind, it is very horrible to see the valley from all sides and in particular to the right hand; because it is so horrible for the precipice and height that it is hard to believe (…) because if by misfortune your foot is missing, there is no other strength except that of God that could save it. ” (Antoine de la Sale, Queen Sybil’s Paradise)

The wind is undoubtedly one of the predominant features of the Sibillini Mountains, with that insistent and overpowering breath that seems to carry in the air an arcane voice, with its sometimes sinister flavor, up there, in that massive that rises impressive between Umbria and the Marche, in a zone heavily affected by the recent earthquake, but that guards, unchanged, beauty and wonder.

 

Sibilla Appenninica by Adolfo de Carolis

The unintelligible oracle

Right up there, between the Mount of the Sibyl, the gorges of the Infernaccio and Lake Pilato, are lurking ancient stories and legends, which are handed down, intertwined and transformed from generation to generation and still retain a magical and enchanting charm. In ancient times, Mount Sibilla attracted European people because it was thought that near its top there was a cave, oracle Sybil’s home.
We know that the cult of Sybil was very old, dating back to the classical era, during which the Sibyls were prophets who made ambiguous predictions, found in the leaves scattered by the wind.
Among the ten classic Sybils, however, does not appear the one of the Apennines, the one that gave the name to our mountains. Did the myth originate, as some scholars claim, from the Phoenician deity Cibele, the Great Mother, the goddess of nature and of the fertility that owned the gift of prophecy?
Or is it more recent, dating back to the Middle Ages, when pagan gods become Christian prophets? Was she “our” Sybil that, according to the legend, foretold the birth of Christ, and then, offended because God chose Mary as Mother of the Redeemer, rebelled against him and was confined for punishment in that lost cave?

The Queen's Double Face

The first person who talked about the Apennine Sibyl, in 1430, was Andrea da Barberino, with his novel Guerrin Meschino, a knight who asked Sybil’s advise trying to reveal the identity of his never-known parents. From this moment on, Sybil began to assume the semblance of a cruel and enchanting queen, a seducer capable of bringing a man to ruin, turning away from God and his precepts. And if Guerrin Meschino succeeded in contrasting her flatteries and, after a year, to escape the insidious kingdom and to obtain Pope’s forgiveness; the same thing did not happen to the German knight narrated a few years later by Antoine de La Sale in his opera Queen Sybil’s Paradise. The knight came to the Sibyl’s cave searching for adventures, but he was caught by her fascination so that only with great effort he managed to escape. He also went to the Pope asking for forgiveness, but the Pontiff hesitate in giving him his indulgence. So, upset, he returned to the realm of the Sibyl and didn’t come back ever again.
The popular legend, anyway, painted Sybil as a fairy surrounded by its maids, the Sibilline Fairies, who leave the cave mainly at night to go to Foce, Montemonaco, Montegallo, between Pian Grande, Pian Piccolo and Pian Perduto di Castelluccio di Norcia and Pretare, but they had to return before sunrise. It is told that during a dance they have lost their sense of time and, too late on the way back, they ran desperately with their goats’ feet, they formed the Road of Fairies, a fault at 2000 meters above Mount Vettore.

 

Drawing by Antoine de La Sale

A place devoted to the Devil

These are myths and legends, probably born for the necessity of understanding and, in some ways, justifying the impervious and imposing conformation of a territory that over the centuries has fascinated and at the same time frightened the inhabitants and the strangers who have faced their complexity.
So the Pilate’s lake, beautiful and impetuous, as the road to reach it, became the terrible place where Pontius Pilate was led, and, tied to a carriage of oxen by the will of the Emperor Vespasian, was dragged by the crazy animals at the very bottom of the little lake with “eyewear” where he drowned. Many writers and poets talk about Pilate’s lake as a place devoted to the devil, a destination elected by wizards and necromancers.
Fortunately, the pretty alpine pond, the only one in the Apennines, is still there, and contrary to what appeared to be after the 2016 earthquake, though with some backlash, the world’s most spectacular glasses keep watching us from the top of Mount Vettore.
Who loves hiking and nature’s majesty and, why not, with a little magical and fairy-tale flavor, does not miss the opportunity to go into these unique places, perhaps starting from Castelluccio di Norcia, who, in terms of legend, seems to be the favorite destination of the Sibyl’s Fairies during their night-time moves.

 


Andrea da Barberino, Guerrin Meschino

Antoine de la Sale, Il Paradiso della Regina Sibilla)

http://www.sibilliniweb.it/citta/la-sibilla-appenninica/

http://www.lifemarche.net/grotta-sibilla-linterpretazione-leggenda.html

http://ilcastellodelsole.blogspot.it/p/la-sibilla-appenninica.html

http://www.coninfacciaunpodisole.it/index.php/sibillinisegreti-il-blog-tour/189-sulle-tracce-della-sibilla-appenninica

Monti Sibillini, le più belle escursioni – Alberico Alesi e Maurizio Calibani (Società Editrice Ricerche)

 

 

More on Norcia

Michele Bravi left Città di Castello to conquer Italy. With charisma and a powerful voice he’s becoming certainty in the Italian music scene.

Michele Bravi

Michele Bravi

 

The Umbrian singer is touring the Peninsula with his NewPagineTour: his job keeps him away from home, but the bond with it is still strong.

What’s your connection with Umbria? 
I am particularly fond of this region, I have a lot of memories related to my childhood. I would like to come back more often; unfortunately my job doesn’t allow it.

Is there a song that could describe Umbria?
No, it isn’t. But I would like to tell my land through music.

X Factor, Sanremo and tour: would have ever imagine all of this when you lived in Città di Castello?
I dreamed it, singing has always been my dream. I could not imagine my life without music, everything I experience is transformed into songs and at this moment I am very satisfied with my achievements.

His tour is called NewPagineTour: what new pages would you like to write?
There are many things that I would still like to tell, but I did not have time given my young age and the little time available. After Sanremo, it was all a whirlwind of emotions and commitments. I would like to live new experiences to find new inspirations and interpretations.

Have you ever felt that Umbrian stereotype of being narrow-minded, or did someone make it notice to you? 
Umbria is at the center of our country and represents the beating heart of Italy. Surely the fact that it is difficult to reach can suggest that the Umbrians are closed people, but it is only an impression.

Three words to describe Umbria… 
Solar, green and intimate.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region… 
My home, my family, my origins and everything related to my childhood.

 

 

More on Città di Castello

Mauro Casciari i san easygoing person. Every part of him talks about informality, helpfulness and fondness, but also of urgency: to retrieve something that was sacrificed, to reinvent himself, to come back home. He is a real important person of our region, and we interviewed him.

Everything begun in Teleperugia Studios, Umbrian local TV, in 1992. The next stop, the one that lead him to the radio, came two years after: his voice echoed on Radio Augusta Perusia and on other local stations, until the end of Nineties, when his voice spread on national radios. First of all on Radio Italia Network,  then on Radio Deejay; in the end Italia Uno, where he’s one of the six deejays that granted his voice to the project Uno di Uno.

Until 2005, he’s the voice that announces the cartoons on Italia Uno: now we understand how Mauro Casciari could develop his expressiveness, and how he could inspire sympathy as soon as we met him. He comes back to the radio in 2002, with RDS and, from that moment on, he grants his voice alternately to television and to the radio – just think of the ads on Italia Uno and to the TV programs on Radio 2.

After that, in 2007, he became a correspondant for Le Iene, giving a face to the voice that spread on national radio stations. For ten years, besides a hyena, he was the host of several RAI, Sky Uno and TV8 programs – just to mention a few: Affari Tuoi, L’Eredità, Mi manda Raitre, Il Testimone.

In the last year, he decided to abandon Le Iene, and he was Radio 2 Rai and Rai 2 correspondant for the 100th Tour of Italy, with the program called Non è un paese per giovani.

But Mauro Casciari’s creativity doesn’t end there: he collaborates with Valigia Blu Association and he’s the president of Avnti Tutta Onlus, Umbria’s pride and joy.

Bevagna belongs to the Club
I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia

 


Games, competitions and historical rigour. This is the winning formula of the Gaite Market of Bevagna.

The Gaite Market

The Gaite Market, photo by Francesco Mancini, courtesy of Mercato delle Gaite

 

The Gaite Market was established in 1989 to enliven the life of the mediaeval village, taking inspiration from the Town Statute that governed the life of the village by dividing it into four neighbourhoods or gaite. Commonly known as Le Gaite, in few years it has become an indispensable event for the citizens, as well as for anyone who wants to fully enjoy this beautiful mediaeval town – one of the Borghi Più Belli d’Italia.

The recipe

The creation of Le Gaite was an absolutely smart move that had an enthusiastic response from people. Le Gaite goes beyond the good organisation of an enthralling competition. In fact, for the entire duration of the event, Bevagna becomes an entirely new town and offers visitors the illusion of a journey back in time, to reach the years when it was just a mediaeval village, in 1250-1350, during the peaceful festive days of the fair. Thanks to the organisation of a competition (archery) and three specific reconstruction challenges (the historical representation of two mediaeval jobs in each district, the creation of a convivial environment where to taste the food of the time and the market day), Bevagna completely recreates in every district a world now lost but still incredibly fascinating. Year after year, expert advisers have offered their help to improve every single aspect, every detail of the event: from the clothes to the scenography, to the techniques, and at the same time have a historical reconstruction that is as close as possible to reality. This magical event is repeated every summer when, in the last ten days of June, voices of merchants and people can be heard in the streets and in shops illuminated by the dim light of candles, craftsmen intent on their work can be seen using techniques now obsolete and mostly forgotten, and the town squares become a stage for political discussions and typical scenes of the everyday life… of many centuries ago! Scientific consultant to the Gaite Market is Franco Franceschi, professor of mediaeval history at the University of Siena. A jury made up of renowned academics, who teach or have published essays on subjects related to the Middle Ages, assign a score to the historical and technical quality of the representations. Until the final announcement, the results of each competition are kept secret, enclosed in envelopes jealously guarded by the Carabinieri, to keep tension and expectations alive  for the whole period.

 

The old workshops, photo by Giacinto Bona

The old workshops, photo by Giacinto Bona courtesy of Mercato delle Gaite

The expertise

But why is the event called the Gaite Market? The word gaita, derived from the Lombard word watha meaning guard, is found – as mentioned – in a Medieval Statute of which we have a 16th-century copy and which subdivided the mediaeval village into several districts called guaite or gaite. The four gaite that compete each year to win the competition are: San Giorgio, San Pietro, Santa Maria and San Giovanni. Each of them has demonstrated over the years several strengths and points of excellence: the gaita of San Giorgio can boast the Novus Ignis – a group of young people who have given new life to the music of the 13th and 14th centuries – a choir and a group of mediaeval dancers, and includes traditional craftsmen such as blacksmiths, minters and luthiers; the gaita of San Giovanni has won more competitions than any other gaita. Among the crafts that have made it famous are papermaking from rags and glass production starting from sand and river cobblestones; the gaita of San Pietro features a baker’s shop and an apothecary shop. It also offers the opportunity to observe how wax candles are made, discover the secrets of the Ars Tinctoria and watch fascinated as monks carefully illuminate manuscripts inside their scriptorium; finally, the gaita of Santa Maria is specialised in any kind of wool and hemp techniques, from spinning to weaving.

Born from the desire to enliven a village, the Gaite Market has also had the undisputed merit of finding the winning formula to rediscover and recreate traditional crafts and make them known to new generations with the enthusiasm of a competition and a game, so to preserve their memory.

 

Bevagna, courtesy of Mercato delle Gaite

 


 

Bibliography and websites

Caldarelli, Il mercato delle Gaite. Grandi storie di piccola gente o, forse, piccole storie di gente grande, Marsciano, La Rocca, 2011

http://www.ilmercatodellegaite.it

http://gaitasangiovanni.it

http://www.gaitasanpietro.com/

http://www.gaitasantamaria.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gaitasangiorgio/

 

 

More on Bevagna

(Monte del Lago 1854[1] – Rome 1910)
Son of the patriot Giuseppe and of the countess Giuseppina Becherucci, Guido studied first in Perugia, then he attended the Law Faculty in Bologna. He never got his degree although he achieved, with the highest mark, all of the eight exams he did.

Later he focused on literary studies and German language: when he was young he translated and commented on Van Plener’s Storia della legislazione inglese sulle fabbriche showing great proficiency and depth of judgement[2], and wrote about Ernesto Renan[3].

His political-administrative activity started early: in 1876 was appointed supervisor of the schools in San Feliciano and Monte Fontegiano, two years later he became councilman of Magione. In 1879, succeeding the baron Giuseppe Danzetta Alfani, he became part of Provincial Council and the following year he was asked to preside over the Congregation of Charity of Magione. At this time, already dense with activities, he began to collaborate with certain local periodicals such as «L’Unione Liberale» and «La Favilla»: his way of writing was «original, strict, very effective, the thought is clearly, no frills, mirrored in it, concise, without emptiness»[4]. In 1884 he obtained the delegation at the Administrative Commission of the University of Perugia from the Provincial Council. He held this office for the whole life. In 1885 he founded in Perugia the People’s Bank and the following year he was elected for the first time at the Chamber of Deputies. In 1896, thanks to his appointment of President of the Consortium for the Recovery of the Trasimeno Lake, he inaugurated the works for the new effluent. The 14th September 1897 he was elected President of the Provincial Council. He held this task for his whole life.

But not only local or national issues increased the thickness of his public figure. In 1899 he is sent as an Italian Plenipotentiary at the Peace Conference in The Hague and the following year is Undersecretary for Finance in the Gabinetto Saracco. In May 1906 he became Undersecretary for Foreign affairs during the government of Giolitti and the following year he represented again Italy at the second Peace Conference in The Hague[5]

He recognized in the poet Vittoria Aganoor, his life partner, his perfect completion: a woman with a strong character, strenghtened by great ideals, by a fervid intellect and by the goodness of her heart. Their union represented «the intimate fusion of the complex discretions of two exalted souls»[6] and that is why he couldn’t find enough energies and reason to outlive her. In May 7, 1910, following the news of Vittoria’s death, Guido committed suicide by shooting himself through a temple. This was the last shout of a wounded lion[7].


[1]The birth date has been recently corrected by the studies published in M. Chierico, Guido Pompilj statista del lago, Perugia, s.n., 1996, pp. 13-14.
[2]E. van Plener, Storia della legislazione inglese sulle fabbriche, Imola, Galeati, 1876.
[3]G. Pompilj, L’eau de jouvence di Ernesto Renan, Perugia, Boncompagni, 1881.
[4]G. Muzzioli, Guido Pompilj e Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj. Commemorazione popolare, Perugia, Guerra, 1910, p. 6.
[5]The informations on the tasks performed by da Guido Pompilj are taken from M. Chierico, cit.
[6]G. Muzzioli, cit., p. 22.
[7]Pompilj ordered the engraving of the motto “Ut Leo” in his villa in “Monte del Lago” that represented the brevity of his life in all its essence.

 

More on Magione

INGREDIENTS: 
  • 1 kg of quinces;
  • 300 g of carlina acanthifolia roots;
  • 1 l of cooked must
  • 200 g of sugar
     
PREPARATION

Wash the quinces, cut them into large slices, bake them in very little water for 30 minutes, peel them, remove their cores and place them with the baked must and sliced roots ​​in a stainless steel pot with thick bottom and walls . Cook on low heat and, when the apples are loose, combine the sugar. When a drop of quince jam, poured on an inclined plate, does not get down well, put in jars. Close the screw cap while the jam is still warm. Wait two months before opening the jar.

 
 

This quince jam is typical of the area of Norcia. The roots of carlina acanthifolia, with bitter taste, are collected in autumn, and they are useful inappetence and flu. You should not consume in excessive doses. 
 
 
 
Courtesy of Calzetti-Mariucci Editori 

 

More on Norcia

With her mezzo-soprano voice she enchanted Italian theaters and beyond. Marina Comparato, opera singer that comes from Perugia, has been living in Florence for some time, but takes Umbria into her heart.

Marina Comparato

Marina Comparato

You live in Florence, what is your relationship with Perugia and Umbria?
I was born in Perugia and lived there until I was 19 years old, when I moved to Florence to study and then to work, but I feel so linked with Umbria, because my family lives there. I have an emotional and a obviously familiar bond.

Do you think this region in your artistic field is well exploited?
It has so many cultural initiatives linked to theater and music, but the world of the opera, my world, is almost absent. This is a sore note for me. Perugia is perhaps the only Italian capital to have no opera season. There is only the Agostino Belli theater in Spoleto that rely on this art. The audience is interested into and you can see it in the rare shows, but it the political interest that lacks.

How could it be done?
In many regions, I think of Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Marche, all the small theaters associate and give life to very interesting opera realities. In Perugia there are Gli Amici della Lirica who organize meetings and events, but they are forced to go outside the region to see operas. It would need a real intervention by politics, but for now, they are not interested into this field.

You left your city due to career. Have you ever repented?
I was forced into leave, because I wanted to do this job. But I always miss home and go back whenever I can. But I must say that I have never regretted the choice I made.

Have you ever been adviced of the Umbrian stereotype of being narrow-minded?
No, I am not, because I was educated to be open-minded. But I have to admit that Perugia is a closed city to those who are not born there or to those who do not live there. Sometimes I feel a little cut off because I have not been living there for a long time. This closeness is an historical feature of Perugia: people had always been prickly and closed. The city itself has two city walls that defend it and the opening has certainly not been encouraged by public transport. Just think of the railway lines that make Umbria even more isolated.

Three words to describe Umbria…
Green, gloomy and strange.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking about this region…
Saint Francis and his travels. He started out from a small region and came across the world.

 

More on Perugia