16 June, 2019
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The bow, the inseparable Robin Hood’s weapon of choice, is still considered an instrument of great appeal.

Riser, limbs, string, button and arrow rest: these are the principal components of the bow. There are many new additional components in the modern bow, such as the stabilizer and the sight. Bows have become so diverse that they can be separated into five categories, which are: straight, recurve, delta, asymmetric and compound, all with varying shapes and sizes. The compound bow is the most recent category and the most engineered bow of our time. It has a sophisticated system of cable and pulleys which reduces the traction force, so much so that in the archery they are compared to machines rather than to the traditional bow.

 

foto di Mirko Giattini Moriconi

Forged on the archer

The origin of this magnificent object has deep roots in history. The first appearance of the bow was in the Paleolithic age as an hunting instrument. Over time its use bonded with the warfare, especially after the creation of borders between territories, in particular by the wish of their kings to widen them, becoming a permanent fixture in the battles. Historically each culture developed its own type of arch, based on the available material and manner of use. One of the biggest factors in developing the bow style was weather the archer was sitting on a horse or standing. In the first case the bow was longer, in the second one it was shorter. At one point in time the bow was customized to the physical needs of each individual archer to provide better performance. But after the Hundred Year War (1337-1453) the production of bows became a mass production, removing the peculiarities that characterized every single arch to conform in a standard bow. And because of that, new battle tactics emerged. Instead of being a precision weapon, the bow was now used in large groups so accuracy was not as large as a factor.

Olympic games

However the use of this tool has progressively decreased, replaced by stronger and more destructive weapons, and for almost three centuries the bow has been forgotten until the 20th century when it was resumed in the field of sport. In fact, at that time the archery became a Olympic Games sport, excluded then from 1920 to 1972. In Italy archery had success as a hobby for adolescents. Since the 1930s, under the fascism regime, it became a sport just for girls to such a point that a particular group called Giovani Italiane took form and the first female competition, organized by Accademia di Educazione Fisica, was held in Orvieto, a small town in Umbria. The first Italian archery company has been developed in 1956 in Treviso and managed the contests for both sexes. Nowadays in Italy there are two main Federation called Federazione italiana Tiro con l’Arco (FITARCO), born in 1961, that is divided in twenty regional committees, and Federazione Italiana Ariceri Tiro di Campagna (FIARC) created in 1983 representing the Italian association of the International Archery Association (IFAA).

 

foto di Mirko Giattini Moriconi

Philosophy

Now the archery is not just a sport. In fact, there are a lot of amateurs lovers of this practice that claim it as a hobby. The reason for this recent spike in interest in archery is due to many different factors such as the cinematography, the historical reenactment, and some tourist accommodation proposing it as a open-air practice to stay in contact with nature. But an interesting point is the Japanese philosophy about archery.
In fact, in Japan the archery is considered a life-style. There are many parallels with life itself, with its facets and circumstances, sometimes favorable and sometimes not, that culminate with the human development of self-control, whereby it is possible to reach any objective. One of the authors who speaks about this philosophy is Paulo Coelho in his book The way of the bow, in which he describes how the bow became a symbol to live with a self-awareness: the bow represents life, source of the human energy, while the arrow is the intention which means «the thing that leads the force of the arch in the middle of dartboard» (p.55). The dartboard is the goal to reach and, in order to do that, it is necessary to be in the proper spiritual condition, picturing it as it gets closer and closer to the archer. Shooting the arrow means that the man is aware of all the steps taken until then, where each one of them is essential with all its own intrinsic and inestimable values meaning that it takes a lot of time and effort to reach the moment before the shot. It’s something that would make anyone to begin this practice.

Becoming an archer in Umbria

For that purpose, the region of Umbria has many facilities that offer archery: there are a lot of agritourism that provide it as an activity to practice surrendered by the beauty of the Green Heart of Italy. Also, it is possible to participate to amateur classes with the release of certificates. For example, two associations of Terni, the sporting association called Gaia and the Dreavel agency, organize outdoor activity days, including archery, which is held respectively in Fiastra and Norcia, and right here people can attend to a course of bow’s construction. Always in Norcia, the Sibillini Adventure association holds specific courses about instinctive archery (the original bow), starting to the basic course of 18 hours, including both theoretical and practice lessons, with a final certification of participation. Finally there is the Activo Park in Scheggino, a little Umbrian village, immersed in the typical wild nature of Valnerina, where it is possible to do many activities for kids and for adults, among which is archery.

 

foto di Mirko Giattini Moriconi

Historical reenactments

But archery is not just a hobby. In fact in Italy we can find it in the aforementioned historical re-enactments, particularly present in Umbria. Usually, during these re-enactments are representation of days from the bygone eras, when the towns and Umbrian villages were divided into factions, often competing with each other. Historic marches, taverns and playful events characterize these moments, performed strictly wearing traditional robes and in specific times of the year. The challenges between factions, called by different names from place to place, are competitions whose the aim is the conquest of a prize, named Palio, which is namely a tapestry painted by some famous artist. In Umbria there are three historical re-enactments where the main challenge is a archery competition: two of them take place in Todi, the third in Città della Pieve.
In the case of Todi, both the archery competitions are held in the FITAST national championship (Italian Federation Traditional e and Historical Bow): the first race is in April and is known as Todi città degli arcieri, where 200 archers challenge each other on twenty pitches; the second, in October, is called Disfida di San Fortunato and provides a maximum of 120 archers competing on a course of 10 pitches, with the wonderful historical center of Todi as the background.
Alternatevely, the so-called Palio dei Terzieri is held in Città della Pieve in August. The town was divided in terzieri, portions of lend which were unevenly divided into the Castello Medievale, or knights class, that identified aristocracy; Borgo Dentro, referring to bourgeoisie class; Casalino, or pedestrian class, which means farmers class. The main challenge is known as Caccia del Toro (Hunting of the Bull), where three archers for each terziere has to shoot moving targets shaped like a bull, all situated on the same carousel. The competition is divided in three times, and every last one the speed of the gauges-target increase. The winner will get the prize (Palio), a tapestry in which the symbols of the three Terzieri and the high coat of arms of the town are depicted. That trophy will be kept by the winner until next challenge.
A sporting and historical instrument, and recently also endowed with a philosophical connotation, the bow represents a sort of link between the man of antiquity and modern man. This link allows the latter to escape from technologies that invade the everyday life and to savor the sense of the reality.

 


Sources:

Enzo Maolucci (2012) Arco per tutti, Hoepli, Milano.

Paulo Coelho (2003) Il cammino dell’arco; nuova edizione 2017 di La nave di Teseo, Milano. http://www.activopark.com

http://www.asgaia.it

https://www.dreavel.com/ita/4/attivita/214/norcia-corso-di-tiro-con-larco-istintivo/

http://www.fitarco-italia.org

https://www.fiarc.it

https://www.sibilliniadventure.it

https://www.paliodeiterzieri.it

«I would like to tell Umbria how Fellini did with his land in Amarcord»

Raffaella Covino receives the award at the Worldfest of Houston

 

«I’m all yours!» our chat begins in this way. Raffaella Covino, a director from Perugia, with his first work Dammi una mano, conquered the world, collecting 17 awards in Europe and America. A movie entirely produced in Umbria – between Perugia and Assisi – a movie on women, which has the lightness of comedy, but, for the issues it faces and for its narrative structure, is more akin to a noir.
Caterina is a young and successful psychologist. Her life is perfect: love, work, family, friendships are all she wants. But when her father dies leaving her full of debts and a boondocks scandal spoils her reputation, she loses her job and her husband leaves her. For the first time, Caterina is thus starting all over again to reinvent and rebuild her life. Raffaella talks about the land where she set the movie. About her land.

First of all: what is your bond with Umbria?

I was born in Perugia and I have always lived in this city. I have a close bond with this land and I always try to enhance its beauty, also welcoming the strangers who visit it.

Behind the camera, how would you represent this region?

It is a beautiful land, but not much represented on movies. I would show it without distorting its landscape and its potential. Umbria is a hymn to beauty and is an extraordinary location for any film.

Your film has won prizes and awards all over the world: which one are you most proud of?

The film has collected 20 selections and 17 awards. I am certainly very proud of the Special Jury Award at the 51st edition of the Worldfest in Houston. In this festival there were also Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and Oliver Stone. Americans have enjoyed the film and laughed a lot and I have already anticipated that they want to organize the world premiere of my next work. I’m also proud of the 4 nominations at the Nice IFF, the Nice International Film Festival, and the launch pad at the Italian Film Festival in Miami: Dammi una mano was presented next to Non essere cattivo and Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot, receiving many compliments from other directors. When this happens, you begin to realize that you can do it, that you are doing a good job.

How would you describe the movie with a sentence?

It’s a pretty and complete comedy. It has a consistency in history and makes people laugh. It makes you laugh not with the gags, but thanks to the characters’ features and their dialogues. They all laughed, especially Americans and French: they love Italian comedies.

 

In the film tells a boondocks scandal that has serious consequences on the protagonist: do you believe Perugia is still such a provincial city, or did you exaggerate?

I absolutely did not overstate, I told everything as it is, with a lot of realism. A small reality has its merits and its faults: it has the advantage of being a protected place in which everyone knows each other, but has the defect of chatter. A little like what happens to Caterina (Ilaria Falini), the protagonist, that a boondocks scandal spoils her reputation and makes her loose her job and her husband.

Tell us how a film is made without a budget, without a mega production behind it.

The film was produced by Each Frame in collaboration with Promovideo and Sound Studio Service, and realized thanks to crowdfunding and the participation of many Umbrians. In three years I managed to bring together Umbrian professionalism at the national level – two in all, Promovideo and Sound Studio Service, which materially produced and co-produced the film – actors, costume designers, set designers and communicators. Subjects who have freely gave their skills to create a quality film experiment from below, also designed to convey the beauty of Umbria – true co-stars of the film – outside the region. In short, we threw ourselves and we said: «Let’s see where we can get».
There was a path that I followed step by step: from the first crowdfunding, with which the € 5,000 needed to start work was collected, with the slogan «buy the ticket for the film that does not exist»; to the realization up to the distribution that, thanks to word of mouth, is filling the rooms. In Houston he also entered the American and Canadian distribution circuits, starting from the American circuit of Amazon prime, where it is already available. Everything must work in a film … and everything worked out. Being a first work is not perfect, but that’s okay!

What are your next projects?

I am thinking of a new movie, which will have higher expectations. We need funding and why not, even the intervention of the institutions. Moreover, on June 11th at Frontone Gardens in Perugia, we are going to celebrate all the awards won by Dammi una mano. We will also show the movie.

If Umbria was a film, how would it represent it?

I would like to describe Umbria as Federico Fellini represented his land in Amarcord or as Paolo Sorrentino brought Rome to La Grande Bellezza on the big screen. Tell a story and tell stories about the charm and beauty of a city.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Green, sunny and beautiful.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking of this region…

I often think of the beauty of the historical centers of the different cities of the region and I try to look at them through the eyes of a foreigner who sees them for the first time. They can appreciate what we have, which is often taken for granted.

 

The hanged man, the hunchback Severino, Sor Aurelia and two Chinese. These are just some of the mummies that can be known in the Museum of Ferentillo. Ferentillo is in the province of Terni and is in a very particular position staying in the intersection of two rocky ridges that almost meet each other, closing the Nera Valley. The village develops in two parts: Mattarella and Precetto, placed on the two banks of the river Nera.

Mummies

 

Precetto has a thirteenth-century urban structure and a well-extended fortification system: the crenellated walls running along the ridge of the mountain, and the mighty towers have been preserved along the centuries. The area expanding in the lower part, however, is more recent, dating back to the fifteenth century. Its reorganization was authorized by two men, Lorenzo and Francesco, of the noble family Cybo, who had planned the construction of some new churches throughout the territory. They established one of them had to be dedicated to Saint Stephan, and had to be in the area where a church of medieval origin (thirteenth century) had already been built. The old church was not demolished, but it was used as a base for the foundations of new buildings. The modified spaces made possible an alternative use of the church, which, incorporated by the new structure, was readapted to a sepulchral crypt of the upper church.

The crypt

The space was filled with debris, in all probability waste materials coming from the stone used for the upper church. It modified the level of the previous floor. Twenty-four meters long, nine meters wide and two high, the crypt still features architectural and artistic elements dating back to the medieval church phase of the thirteenth century such as the ancient portal and the remains of the apse. From the sixteenth century onwards, all of corpses of Precetto were buried in this place until 1806 when the Napoleonic edict of Saint Cloud, Décret Impérial sur les Sépultures, forbade the burial inside the city walls and imposed the construction of extra-urban cemeteries. In addition the edict also ordered the exhumation of the bodies and so we noticed the perfect mummification of some of them.

 

The museum

Since the nineteenth century the place has become famous for the collection of mummified bodies so it has stimulated the interest of numerous scholars and many visitors. Because of this great interest, in 1992 it was decided to give life to a new museum, using display cases for the conservation of the bodies and welcoming visitors with the singular engraving above the entrance door of the museum: «Today to me, tomorrow to you, I was what you are, you will be what I am. Think mortal that your end is this and thinks that this will be soon».

The mummies

To date there are 21 mummies exhibited at the Museum among men, women and children. There are too,10 heads, 270 skulls, a still sealed coffin and two mummified birds (one of which is an eagle). Moreover, during the last cleaning and maintenance of the crypt, burials have been found in the room before it, maybe destined for the unbaptized. The particularity of the museum, in addition to the extraordinary state of preservation of the dead, lies in the fact that we can really know the mummy that we are facing. In fact, some of them reveal the story that continues to be handed down orally or can be found in the ecclesiastical archives.

 

The Chinese

The Chinese

A particular reconstruction concerns the mummies of two Asians (recognizable by their characteristic physiognomy). The legends tell of a rich man and his bride, probably Chinese, on their honeymoon in Venice. «After a long and happy journey the two young people arrived in the Serenissima […] Being Catholic, the bride called Summer Flower, wanted to visit the city of San Pietro. So they came to Rome. There were a lot of people in the city: it was the extraordinary Holy Year (1750). Unfortunately  the two young men were struck by a terrible disease: the cholera. They fled from the holy city and went into the Umbrian hinterland, perhaps to go to Triponzo where the thermal springs could hope for the miracle of healing. It was a very hot day. The symptoms of evil were evident in Summer Flower […] They were found at dawn on the steps of the church of Santo Stefano. Flower of Summer held tightly the small golden crucifix given to her by her bridegroom A-Tuan». The legend is supported by the presence of their clothes, in good condition until the 1970s.  The lawyerA fun fact regards the body kept in the only still closed coffin in the crypt. It is a local lawyer who was stabbed several times, whose mummy is not exposed with respect to the descendants of the man still living and residing in Ferentillo. Even one of the assailants was killed during the murder, and his body is exposed in one of the museum display cases. «[…] The lawyer was sitting in his office still busy with the processing of some paperwork. Taken the light he hastened to open. He immediately recognized a friend of his. He had come to warn him that a flock was destroying his olive grove […] When they reached the crossroads with the path of the plain, suddenly there emerged two individuals from the great oak tree, who attacked them with a knife. The false and traitorous friend joined those and fell blindly. The lawyer, although he was caught off guard, as he was courageous and courageous, took from his pocket the knife, inseparable companion in those times, and began to defend himself vigorously. Struck to death by the three men, however, had the strength, before falling lifeless, to kill the traitor who now lies with him forever».

The greedy sir

«[…] He ate everything and went crazy for those aniseed donuts that are distributed to the commoners on the anniversary of Sant’Antonio Abate […] It had become the Fable of the country. They all mocked him but not in his presence because they feared his wrath. Very rich, he could afford any extravagance and revenge […] In the evening, while the sir was intent on munching a nice turkey leg, knocked repeatedly at his door. She was a poor old woman, covered in a few rags begging for a piece of bread […] Sir Francesco shouted to the servants to drive her out. The woman, desperate and humiliated, with all the hatred raged against him: “[…] The day will come that your body will not stand up to the weight of the bread you ate and your mouth will no longer be able to eat it”. The anathema must have had its effect since the sir was struck by an incurable disease that deformed his mouth and preventing him from feeding, soon led him to death. There are also the mummies of a young woman who died in childbirth buried with the stillbirth, the one of Sora Aurelia, an old peasant woman with still intact clothes, a bell ringer, a hanged man and the hunchback Severino».   Mummification In 1887 the Accademia dei Lincei published a detailed study on the curious phenomenon of mummification of bodies. The scholars Carlo Maggiorani and Aliprando Moriggia, university professors, supported by the chemist Vincenzo Latini, declared to be convinced that mummification was due to the type of soil rich in silicates of iron and alumina, of sulphate and nitrates of calcium of magnesium and ammonia and also to the ventilation of the room and to the presence on the skin of the mummies of micro-organisms which, by feeding on the decomposable materials of the corpses, dry them quickly. Subsequently the crypt ground was analyzed in an attempt to derive certain data to consolidate the hypotheses formulated on why the bodies were mummified, but the reliable reason has not been identified; however, attempts were made on the process of mummification with bodies of animals, which revealed the rapid process of mummification of the crypt soil. However, it seems probable that the cause of mummifying bodies can be a bacterium that dehydrates bodies.

 


Museum Hours:

1 APRILE – 30 SETTEMBRE Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13  Pomeriggio: 15 – 19

1 OTTOBRE – 31 OTTOBRE Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13   Pomeriggio: 15 -18

1 NOVEMBRE – 28 FEBBRAIO Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 – 13  Pomeriggio: 15 – 17

1 MARZO – 31 MARZO Aperto tutti i giorni

Mattina: 10 -13  Pomeriggio: 15 -18

L’ingresso al museo è consentito fino a 15 minuti prima della chiusura.

INFORMAZIONI E PRENOTAZIONI tel: 328 6864226 — 335 6543008

e-mail: info@mummiediferentillo.it web: www.mummiediferentillo.it

 


Bibliography:

  1. Favetti, Ferentillo Segreta… Storia di un Principato…, Tipolito Visconti, Terni, 2005
  2. Santini, Guida di Terni e del ternano, Tipolitografia Petruzzi, Città di Castello, 1998
  3. Carlo Favetti e Annamaria Pennacchi, Le Mummie di Ferentillo, Edizioni Quattroemme, Ponte San Giovanni (PG), 1993

 


Sitography: 

http://www.mummiediferentillo.it/mummie/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museo_delle_mummie_di_Ferentillo

http://luoghidavedere.it/luoghi-da-vedere-in-italia/cosa-vedere-in-umbria/museo-mummie-ferentillo-storia-orari-raggiungere_10680

http://www.museiprovinciaterni.it/context_musei.jsp?ID_LINK=508&area=47

 

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE
  • 100 g of hop tops
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 fresh spring onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

 

PREPARATION:

Wash the tops of hops, dry and cut them into pieces about 3 cm long; peel garlic and spring onion and chop finely. Put the mixture in a pan for omelettes with oil, add flavor, then add the tops of hops. Cook over low heat and pour, if necessary, a drop of hot water; lightly salt, then add the beaten eggs, to which you have added a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Let bind on both sides; the omelette can be served hot or cold.

 

The omelette with hops was widespread especially in the area of Terni. In dialect they call hops li lupari.

 

Courtesy of Calzetti & Mariucci

 

Is it better to start from the sandwich with the porchetta or from the sandwich with the Cicotto?
Hamletic doubt. I think it’s better to start with the delicate and soft taste of pork, and tomorrow move on to the more intense and rich flavor of Cicotto, enjoying the succulent pleasure of sandwiches without thinking about cholesterol.

 

A porchetta is nothing but roasted pork. But not all pork is the same, and so does porchetta. The one produced by three families in Grutti, on the plateau, is divine. Benedetti, Biondini and Natalizi have got roast in their DNA and follow the tradition elaborated by their ancestors. In an increasingly industrialized world, where every possible item can be bought on Amazon, Grutti’s porchetta is handmade prepared, cut and stuffed and each sandwich is sold through the company’s van around the region.
I visited Benedetti’s laboratory: I was expecting a horrid environment with blood splatted everywhere. Instead I found myself in front of a clean room like an operating room. White walls, white floor, clean operating tables, processing waste slipped into special buckets. No unpleasant odor, there was only the scent of aromatic herbs and pepper. The herbs that flavor the pork are collected in the area and chopped by hand, so they don’t lost even one molecule of aroma. It is a long job that a person does for two days a week. A huge amount of herbs, collected  to flavor the 20-25 porchette that will need to fill about 2500 sandwiches a week. The only spice that doesn’t grow in the area is pepper, which comes from India. All the pigs are born, grow up, are kneaded and sold by 40 kilometers from the starting point.
If we multiply the production by three – Benedetti, Biondini and Natalizi – it seems that the Umbrians of the plateau and the valley have withdrawal symptoms if they do not eat at least one pork sandwich a week.

 

Porchetta, photo by Facebook

Feed the hungry

Until the Second World War, the pig was present in every house for private use – sausages, meat, fat and more – and the pork was prepared only for parties, festivals and weddings. Then after the war, hunger began to bite and the money was few, then the butchers of Grutti let people collect the fat dripped under the spit during the long cooking of the pork. All for free. The fat was used to season soups, to cook and also to soak in bread.
Meanwhile, the economic boom was coming, during which the truck replaced the donkey cart and the porchetta became a regular presence in all weekly markets.

The Slow Food Presidium

Grutti also boasts a Slow Food Presidium of very ancient origins and now a real delicacy called Cicotto, a deformation of a Latin word that indicated the pork leg. Starting from the principle that all the pork is edible, butchers also used wasted parts. Ears, trunks, tongue, shin and tripe, after being thoroughly cleaned and washed, are placed in the container under the spit and bake in the oven together with the roast pig. The spit rotates slowly for 12 hours, letting the fat, gifted sixty years ago come down and ennoble even the scraps, creating a stew rich in aromas and perfumes that go to impregnate the round sandwich.
The Grutticiani are so sure of the goodness of their product that every year they bring the porchetta and cicotto to the streets, and they celebrate for three days. In Porchettiamo there are also the producers of porchetta from other regions and there are the stands of many typical street food.

 

Porchettiamo tenth edition

 


Scopri Porchettiamo, dal 18 al 20 maggio

«… between the south and the west / along the lake lies Castiglione, protruding / like a head or a peninsula over its waters, of its castle and towers / and of its fertile olive trees, proud» (Assunta Pieralli, Il Lago Trasimeno)

Castiglione del Lago «lies on a limestone promontory that, surrounded on three sides by water, projects out for half a kilometre over Lake Trasimeno like a large ship ready to sail»[1].

 

Polvese Island, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma

History

It has very ancient origins and it was inhabited even in the Upper Palaeolithic, as evidenced by some archaeological finds like the Trasimeno Venus. The pile dwellings in the area date from the Neolithic when «Lake Trasimeno was much larger and its waters were not contained […] by hills and terraces» and «Castiglione was an island, the fourth largest on the Trasimeno»[2]. The history of the settlement begins with the Etruscans though, who turned Castiglione del Lago into a colony and called it Clusium Novum. Evidence that it was inhabited in the Etruscan period is given by the remains of a temple dedicated to the goddess Celati. It then fell under Roman domination and «history has it that the Romans considered cutting the isthmus to make it impregnable, but they abandoned the idea and the place was left as it was»[3].
There aren’t any other historical records until the year 776 when Charlemagne returns Clusium Novum to Pope Adrian. Its possession, including the entire lake and the three islands, is passed on to Pope Paschal I in 817 by Louis the Pious. In 995, Otto III gave Castiglione del Lago to Perugia.

 

Photo by Enrico Mezzasoma

 

For a long time, because of its strategic position, it was contended between the cities of Perugia, Arezzo and Siena until 1100 when it was eventually taken over by Perugia which turned it into a defensive stronghold. Around the middle of the 13th century, Emperor Frederick II built huge walls to defend the settlement, transforming what was just a little castle into an actual stronghold that he called Castello del Leone, probably the origin of its current name.
From 1416 to 1424, the settlement was ruled by Braccio Fortebracci and at his death, it passed to Martin V.  In 1488, it was taken over by the degli Oddi family who controlled it until the Count of Pitigliano, a Florentine general who was stationed in Camucia, decreed that they returned Castiglione del Lago to Perugia. Its Signoria was offered to the Baglioni family though after they paid 800 gold ducats to the count. After the Baglioni family, its rule passed to the Papal States until 1554 when Pope Julius III offered Castiglione del Lago to Francesco della Corgna and to Ascanio, son of Francesco and Giacoma del Monte, the pope’s sister. Under the rule of the della Corgna family, who kept Castiglione del Lago until 1645, the village became a marquisate first and then a duchy, changing its urban structure and mutating into what it is today. Definitively passed under the rule of the State of the Church, it stayed in its possession until the Unification of Italy.

Palazzo della Corgna or Palazzo Ducale

Bought by the town in 1870, it currently houses its town hall. Originally, it was built as a tower‑house for the Baglioni family who even had Niccolò Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci as their guests. In 1563, Ascanio della Corgna acquired the title of marquess and began some works to completely turn it into a small palace. The palace was built from plans drawn up by Vignola and Alessi. It was built on four levels. The lowest contained cellars and stables, the kitchens and storage areas were in the basement, above them was the main floor while the top floor contained the bedrooms. It is embellished by frescoes by Niccolò Circignani, known as Pomarancio, and Salvio Savini that celebrate the glory of the della Corgnas through mythical depictions and representations of their deeds.

 

Mediaeval fortress

It was built by Frederick II of Swabia who began its construction in 1247 from plans drawn up by Friar Elia Coppi from Cortona. It has an irregular pentagonal structure with four towers at the corners (two of which were coeval with the fortress, while the other two were built in the 15th and 16th centuries to replace the previous ones that had been destroyed) and a triangular keep of about 39 metres of height. Palazzo della Corgna is connected to the first gate of the fortress through a raised walkway. It is one of the most interesting examples of mediaeval architecture in Umbria and in the 15th century it was considered to be almost impregnable.

Polvese Island

It belongs to the Town of Castiglione del Lago and it is the largest island on the Trasimeno. In 1973 it was acquired by the Province of Perugia and today it’s home to a scientific-didactic park, part of Lake Trasimeno Regional Park. The name of the island probably derives from the term polvento, downwind. It is certain that the territory was inhabited by the Etruscans and the Romans. The oldest historical record dates back to 817 when the island is mentioned by Louis the pious who gives Lake Trasimeno and its three islands to Pope Paschal I.

 

View of Lake Trasimeno, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma

 

Among the monuments on the island are the Churches of San Giuliano and San Secondo, the Olivetano Monastery and the Castle. More recently, we have the Giardino delle Piante Acquatiche – Piscina del Porcinai, created in 1959 by Pietro Porcinai. Regarding its ecosystem, there are mainly evergreen oaks, downy oaks, manna ashes, viburnums, laurels, butcher’s brooms, privets, pomegranates and rosemary trees, many species of insects but also foxes, beeches, hares, coypus and a great variety of birds such as grebes, coots, herons and mallards.

 


BIBLIOGRAPHY AND SOURCES

  1. Lupattelli, Castiglione del Lago. Cenni storici e descrittivi, Perugia, Tip. G. Guerra, 1896.

s.v. Castiglione del Lago, in P. Caruso, Benvenuti in Umbria. 92 comuni, Collazzone (PG), Grilligraf, 1999, pp. 114-117.

  1. Binacchiella, Castiglione del Lago e il suo territorio, Catiglione del Lago, [s.n.], 1977.

s.v. Castiglione del Lago in M. Tabarrini, L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario, v. A-D, Foligno, [s.n.], 1982, pp. 321-326.

  1. Festuccia, Castiglione del Lago. Guida al Palazzo Ducale ed alla Fortezza medievale, Castiglione del Lago, Edizioni Duca della Corgna, 2008.
  2. Festuccia, Castiglione del Lago. Cuore del Trasimeno fra natura, arte e storia, Castiglione del Lago, Edizioni Duca della Corgna, 2017.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castiglione_del_Lago

http://digilander.libero.it/Righel40/VEP/PAL/Grav/gaIT.htm

http://polvese.it/

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isola_Polvese


[1] s.v. Castiglione del Lago in M. Tabarrini, L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario, v. A-D, Foligno, [s.n.], 1982, p. 321.

[2]Ibidem.

[3] A. Lupattelli, Castiglione del Lago. Cenni storici e descrittivi, Perugia, Tip. G. Guerra, 1896, p. 4.

Music breaks the barriers of language and goes beyond superstructures, judgments or stereotypes

Nil Venditti is more than a promise, in the field of classical music. Born in Perugia, 23 years ago, she is a real “magic wand“. Despite her young age he has already directed many orchestra. Recenty she has performed with famous soloists like Fazil Say at the piano and the Philarmonica of Ljubljana or Vladim Brodsky at the violin and Rossini’s symphony. In October 2017 she won the second prize, and the special prize of the orchestra at the Jeunesses Musical competition in Bucharest with Lup Octavian at the cello. Now she is attending the master’s degree in conducting at the Hochschule der Künste in Zurich under the guidance of Master Johannes Schlaefli, one of the world’s most famous master for conductors.

 

Nil Venditti

What is your link with Umbria?

I was lucky enough to be born in the beautiful Perugia in a curious way: my mother is from Ankara in Turkey, she came to Perugia to study Italian at the University for Foreigners. My father, is from Ciociaria, he was born in Rome, came to Perugia supported in his studies by the ONAOASI. They met in front of the Fountain Maggiore, in Piazza IV Novembre, and there, their love story began.

You started studying and playing the cello, when did you decided to become a conductor?

More than choosing it, I was directed to it. I played in the Juniorchestra of the National Academy of Santa Cecilia and one day the conductor, Master Simone Genuini, decided to encourage some of us to direct , for educational purposes. He must have noticed something interesting in my gestures because he directed me to the best schools and suggested  methe best Italian teachers.

At the age of 23, you have already directed a Christmas Concert in the Chamber of Deputies and one at the Quirinale and in 2015, you have been awarded the Abbado prize instituted by the Miur: where do you want to get there? What is your dream?­

It seems perhaps banal, even a little naive, but my greatest dream has always been to change the world through music. Music has supernatural power, capable of breaking the barriers of language and communicating directly with that part of us that does not depend on superstructures, judgments or stereotypes.

How do you make yourself obey by an entire orchestra?

Rather than being obeyed by an orchestra, I would say that it would be better if you succeed in seducing its components. If you get on the podium with humility towards people who are unquestionably much more experienced than me, you will always meet smiling eyes and, I dare say, musicians will be always ready to help you in order to realize a wonderful concert.

And above all how do you transmit your ideas, your vision of music to the other components?

The first rule to convey your ideas is to have them in mind. The clearer the musical idea is in your mind, the easier it will be to find a gesture for expressing it. Then it is clear that when the gesture is not enough we can resort to the use of the word, but this usually occurs rarely.

A necessary characteristic for a conductor?

Empathy. Anyone can study music in every smallest detail for years and years. But what can not be learned is the ability to communicate with many living beings in a few thousandths of a second and be able to create a serene and productive work environment.

The gestures that a director  seem almost made by chance: which  are the characteristic of the relationship to create with the orchestra?

Every little movement of a conductor is always a concentrate of information for one or more instrumentalists. There are no movements that means nothing. In general we use the right hand to give information about the rhythm, while the left hand to manage the expressiveness and interpretation of the piece that is being performed. The orchestra is always to be considered as a family and the conductor as a stranger, “a guest” who becomes part of that family for a couple of days. It is clear  that, not with all the orchestras there is always the same feeling but in any case we should be able to build the best possible contact so as to be free to perform the concert without stress.

The Umbrians, and especially the citizens of Perugia, have the reputation of being closed: do you consider yourself as a close person?

I was born, grew up and I learned to love it. Of course having traveled so much, I do not recognize myself  in this characteristic and I can not say whether it is an advantage or a disadvantage.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Green, warm, protected.

The first thing that comes to your mind thinking of this region…

The wonderful Umbrian hills in the summer, covered with that particular green that we only have in our beautiful region.

Assisi, well-known as St. Francis’s homeland, as well as being considered a mystical land of saints and prayers, preserves and transmits the art of a typically feminine craft. It probably came from the canvases made and used by the Order of Clares in order to take care of their sister Clare, forced to infirmity.

The Assisi Stich, pic via

We are taking about the Assisi Stitch, a type of a geometric embroidery made by a simple technique, but with a very refined result. A typical monochromatic pattern is performed on linen cloth and, it is traditionally blue or rust brown (more rarely in green, yellow and red).

The dyes

Originally the canvases were woven by hand and the yarns were colored by natural dyeing. They made it so until the 19th century. At that time, there were a lot of dyeing plants which permit the main colors to be obtained: from the woad (Isatis tinctoria), for example, they obtained several shades of blue, from the vivid tones to a very pale one. Even from the humble origins of colors and raw materials used in the Assisi stitch speak of the vocation to the essentiality and poverty that strongly characterized the early Franciscans.

The technique

The Assisi stitch is a counted thread embroidery – twisted yarn n° 20 DMC – made on a natural linen cloth with a regular warp, which is called also Tela Assisi.
The embroidery is executed in three steps. First, the contours are traced with a filza stitch, using a black yarn or a darker one than the thread chosen for the fill; then the bottom of the tracing is filled with the yarn of the chosen color by cross-stitching. Finally the work is completed with the edges, executed in a square point. As a finishing touch, they used to embellish the corners of tablecloths or the cushions by applying three tassel made with the embroidery thread. They use a needle with a rounded point.

 

The Assisi stitch in History

There are testimonies of the presence of objects made in Assisi point already since 1300, as well as in the famous pictorial cycle made by Giotto in the Upper Basilica of San Francesco: in the Death of the Knight of Celano is depicted a tablecloth embroidered with the motifs of the Assisi stitch.
The early drawings (those that are now commonly referred to as work patterns) initially rather primitive become, from the 15th century, elegant and meticulous until they reach the great refinement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Frescos, portals, finely inlaid wooden choirs represent the greatest source of inspiration for the motifs to be embroidered on canvas. Each design has a precise name: the little queen is very famous, and represents winged animal figures.

The schools

The teaching of the embroidery technique – to which many young people approached because they wanted to create their own outfit for the future marriage, or to obtain a minimum of economic independence – took place inside the convents, while in the 20th century appeared the first schools such as the Scuola delle Figlie del Popolo at the San Francesco Laboratory, founded in 1902. Today, the San Francesco Laboratory is home to the Accademia Punto Assisi, an association that promotes and enhances this ancient art of embroidery. The latter, founded in 1998 on a ministerial project, occupies the historic premises of the first laboratory set up in the city. There are three fundamental words that animate the members: protecting, passing on and spreading. Traditional embroidery classes are organized for children and adults who want to approach this endangered art, providing opportunities for exchange, collaboration and socialization. The Academy also organizes themed events and competitions to promote embroidery at national and international level.

 


Sources: Tiziana Borsellini, president and founder of the Accademia Punto Assisi www.accademiapuntoassisi.com