16 June, 2019
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«I am from Ponte San Giovanni, born and raised along the Tiber. This river has meant- and still means- a lot for me».

My phone rings.

«Good morning, it’s Serse Cosmi. Can we have our interview right now, as I am busy later?».

«All right, give me five minutes».
I admit that I still had not turned on the computer and I was half sleepy, but I immediately woke up.
Rarely someone called me to anticipate an interview and not to cancel it: not Serse Cormi, he is one’s word! I did not confess it (now he will read it here), but I was at the the Curi stadium when he was coaching Perugia. Chatting with him was fun, there was more than a laugh. Despite having toured Italy to train many teams – from Pontevecchio to the Maremma, from Perugia to Genoa, up to Udinese, Brescia, Livorno, Palermo, to name a few –  he is genuinely from Perugia, as he says, «a perugino from Ponte San Giovanni».

 

Serse Cosmi

What is your link with Umbria?

The Umbrians are tied in a deep way to their land and their roots: having a profession that makes me trael around Italy, I feel a lot of this link. When you’re out, you appreciate even more where you were born and your home town. For me it is, and remains, a very strong bond.

Do you still consider yourself “the Man of the river”, a man from Ponte San Giovanni?

Absolutely yes. I am from Ponte San Giovanni (n.d.r. suburb of Perugia) and here there is a big difference: when I was a child, there were the inhabitants of the Perugia’s downtown and those of the “bridges”. I claim loudly to be from Ponte San Giovanni and to have being born near the Tiber, a river to which I have been linked since childhood.

What did the Tiber represent for you?

My generation is perhaps the last one who had a bath in the Tiber: I learned to swim in its waters, I played there and of course, I went to dance at the “Lido Tevere”. I spent my childhood near the river, growing up by seeing it flowing, is something that you carry in forever.

Today there is a plenty of coaches who didn’t work their way up the ladder, starting from junior teams as you did: what do you think, is a change of our time or the rush to have someone famous as a coach?

Both of them Who has been a great footballer has already had great privileges in that trade, but I do not consider it right, because if he undertakes another profession – that of coaching – he should before gain a lot of experience so as he did to achieve the highest levels as a player. Let me explain: who has played with Juventus, Inter or Milan has made its own path, starting from the minor series until playing to that high level. The same thing should apply to a coach, considering that it is another job. But if the profession of the coach is considered as an extension of the career of player, then I shut up! Obviously a great player can also become a great coach…

But not even the opposite is not to be taken for granted: a great player will not necessarily become a great coach…

Yes, indeed. I always remember a phrase by Arrigo Sacchi: “It’s not that to be a good jockey you must have been a horse”.

Gaucci, Zamparini, Preziosi… you met some real mastiffs: during these years do you think that the relationship between coaches and presidents has changed?

Times have definitely changed. The presidents are now more than managers, the passionate aspect has diminished – even if their managerial role has always been there. Many roles have changed in football, and that of presidents has also changed: today they are dealing with very different aspects compared to 20-30 years ago. They openly confront the coaches and talk to them about football as if they were doing the same job, but it is not interchangeable. Gaucci, for example, was one of the least intrusive presidents who I worked with. He was more a supporter so as his reactions, but I never had the feeling that he pushed me – even in a veiled way – to make me play one player in place of another. If it happened, it was so good that I never saw it! (Laughs).

Is there a player who you have a special relationship with?

There are many, but I was more tied to those of early career with whom I had shared many human and sporting moments. I think of the guys from Pontevecchio, from Arezzo and those of early years in Perugia. Then I also met other players that I often stay in touch with, but the most direct relationship I have maintained, is with those with whom I started.

Which player would you have wished to train but you never did?

Francesco Totti. He is a player who has always intrigued me.

Are you nostalgic for Perugia? Have you ever thought of coming back to train this team or is it an era that ended by now?

Not nostalgic. We are nostalgic for something that can never be verified again. As long as I do this job there could always be an opportunity to return to the bench of Perugia, the fact is that – during there 30 years as a coach – I have never went back to a society where I have already been.

Maybe for Perugia it would be possible…

Let’s say it’s one of the few teams I would do it for.

Is there an episode of your career which you remember with more affection?

The phone call from Luciano Gaucci in the locker room after our victory at the San Siro’s stadium against Milan: it was before Christmas and before his birthday. That episode will remain indelible for me because I had the perception of how much he cared about the team, the players and how much when he was involved humanely. At that time he was not a president, but a fan who had realized that his team had achieved an exceptional goal: it was the first time in its history that the Perugia team had won at San Siro.

 

Serse Cosmi dj

If you did not worked as a coach what job would you have done, the DJ?

Actually I’m a DJ who is a coach as a hobby! I am a teacher of physical activity, I had a gym for 10 years so I thought that I would remain in the field of sport. Even though, at the age of 60, I sometimes think about reinventing myself and doing another job. For me, music is a hobby and it remains so, “soccer” started as a hobby, but then it became a job.

Tell us something about you that your fans do not know…

When I won the championship with the Pontevecchio and I obtained the “D series”. My father was a founder of the company and the team had never arrived at playing in that category. I drived all night, thinking about my childhood and many other things. It was the most exciting thing since I have coached.

And a secret not related to the soccer world?

I would like to work at the theater, meet people and discover everything about it. It is a world that has always appealed to me a lot.

Do you do superstitious gestures?

When I was training amateurs I used to change my underwear for every game, I never wore the same. Or after winning a game I always did the same path.

Do you have an anecdote related to Perugia, when you were only a fan?

With the Perugia club of Ponte San Giovanni I went to watch a match in Foggia: halfway we were really in a bad condition, because of beers and various drinks. Fortunately, thanks to the long journey by bus, we recovered and we arrived at the stadium in a dignified way.

How do you consider the Umbrian soccer schools, how should they be strengthened?

When I will stop being a coach, my dream is to create or do something in the soccer field. Surely it will not be called soccer school, but youth sector. In my opinion, one of the worst aspect in this field, is the fact of having matched the word school with the word soccer: the school has a value and it is a place where there are teachers who train the boys, while in the soccer, the real problem are those who teach because they show soccer in a misrepresented way or at least in a different way from my point of view. This is the reason why my dream is to create a youth sector where you do not pay, where talent emerges and where soccer can be a real social value. A place open to everyone, where talent is rewarded, but also where everyone can play.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Tough- about the attitude of people – authentic, distant.

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

Spello.

“There is no form of art like cinema to shake the conscience, the emotions and to reach the secret rooms of the soul”. (Ingmar Bergman)
Filmmaking is an art in which the team – work is necessary. Everyone knows the actors and the director, but the most work comes from the different professionals who, employed behind the backstage, achieve the final purpose: the movie. This philosophy has inspired the Umbrians professionals who work in the world of the filmmaking, to put together their strengths, but above all, their tasks. This is the reason why the Associazione Mestieri del Cinema Umbri was established by Umbrian residents with a qualified experience in the departments of movie and in the television production. The association has among its members, collaborators and partners, over 100 people, with the common aim of developing the growth of the cinema industry in the territory of Umbria.  

Backstage of the film

  «Our goals are numerous: the first is the exchange of ideas. A second goal is that of enhancing a sector, that of cinema industry, which could create many job opportunities. And of course, the dialogue with the institutions, given that there is a 2016 law that should be applied to encourage the filmmaking. In Umbria there are many interesting festivals, but they are part of the distribution sector, but what we would like to focus on and to increase is the production of movies so that various professionals could be involved», explains Federico Menichelli, president of the association. «For Umbria it is a real novelty, nobody had ever thought of creating an association of this kind. Moreover, it is useful for a comparison between professionals and above all, to restart this sector in Umbria», echoes the costume designer Isabella Sensini, also a member of the group. The Umbria Film Commission has recently been established: there are new productions and above all, there are many cinema operators forced to work outside the region: «The Umbria Film Commission can dialogue with our association and could not only welcome new production, but also create products to exported», the president continues.  

Multimedia Center of Terni

  The importance of unity is also supported by Alessio Rossi, casting expert: «Many of us work in Rome or in other cities and this makes Umbria lose its chances of increasing production, for avoiding that, we could create job opportunities here too. Moreover, in the entertainment world the more we are united and know each other, the more we work». Karina Y Muzzio, make up artist, is happy to be part of this group because she believes it is a great opportunity to revive the seventh local art: «Umbria is a region that offers a lot, but it is essential to create unity in order to give a real boost in this sector». The business card presented by the Associazione Mestieri del Cinema Umbri was a short film entitled Umbria: La Rinascita, shot inside the Multimedia Center of Terni. «This is a very important structure, with two studios – one of 900 square meters and one with the green screen – that could be used for training or to attract productions from outside, also thanks to beauty of the surrounding landscape and villages. At the moment, the Municipality of Terni owns it, but it is an empty and unused place. Relaunching it would be fundamental», emphasizes Menichelli.  

The short film

The short film Umbria: La Rinascita was the first step in a technical-artistic movement that, after years of silence and isolation, has Umbrian professionals in the name of mutual respect for common projects. The short film was made with the complete and total investment of all the professionals of the various departments: they participated for free to support their region of origin.  

Valeria Ciangottini e Federico Menichelli

  «As a good craftsman, our first step was to shoot a short film. We are very satisfied because we have reached over 23,000 views and we involved artists likes Alfiero Toppetti and Valeria Ciangottini. Everyone gave what it is possible to give. Among the participants – and it is an important sign – there is also the municipal administration of Terni. Our next step is to attract the attention of entrepreneurs and the Region, which have to achieve the same level of the more advanced national panorama. A cinema fund is necessary and productions needs to be attracted to Umbria: the strength of the region lies in the fact that, on the big screen, it does not appear so often. Here, putting together all the pieces we can do a lot», concludes Federico Menichelli.  

«I’m an entertainer who offers dance music, I do not like being tied to a single genre. I love Umbria for its culture and for the ability to maintain its own peculiarities».

I send a message to DJ Ralf to plan the interview with a bit of apprehension –  something that rarely happens to me – but we are talking about Ralf. As a teenager I watched him many times (from a certain distance and in the dark) stood behind the console like a sort of untouchable deity of music. So I was quite excited. He answeres immediately to my text: “You can call me now, if you want, I have just came back from the spa”. We begins to chat, and I discover a Ralf, or rather an Antonio or Antonello Ferrari (all his names), unexpected and very close to Umbria. Born in Bastia Umbra and grown up in Sant’Egidio, dj Ralf does not need any introduction, he “made” dance – and he still does – millions of people allover the world, a true icon of night clubbing since 1987.

 

Dj Ralf

The first question is customary: what is your link with Umbria?

It is a very intense link, in fact, I have always remained here, despite Umbria has not a well organized trasportation system and I usually travel a lot due to work. I live near Lake Trasimeno and I have never thought about changing, even when it would have been more useful to live in a city with much more opportunities. Perugia and Umbria are very lively places from a cultural and musical point of view. So beyond the love that I have for my land, there is a real pleasure in living in a place with a strong presence of artistic expressions.

Why are you called Ralf?

It comes from the animated cartoon Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf that I used to watch with my friend Laura, at that time, I attended the first year of the middle school. I looked like the dog Sam, because of my long hair in front of the eyes were exactly like its. This dog used to greet the wolf saying: “Hello Ralph!”. I was very fond of this animated cartoon and everyone started to call me “Ralf”.  I became Ralf before being dj Ralf.

Why did you decide to use it also in your profession?

It’s not something that I really decided: I started playing and everyone already knew me as Ralf. This nickname has brought me luck, my wife – we got married last year after over 30 years of engagement – has always called me Ralf, but if I came back I would use my real name: Antonio Ferrari.

How much Antonio is similar to Ralf?

It’s not an alter ego even if I’ve often thought of doing something using my real name, but I’ve never done,  but who knows … I’m still young! Antonio is a nice name, but the last person who called me like that was my elementary school teacher because everyone always called me Antonello. I had an uncle priest and since there isn’t a saint called Antonello, I was registered as Antonio, but at that point my family always called me Antonello. From the first year of middle school I have become Ralf.

Many names mean many personalities?

I have many names but I am only one, even if each of us has different personalities.

From your console, how did you consider changes in Umbria during these these years, both on a social and musical level?

There have been changes to the same extent that there have been in other places. For example, as far as music is concerned, Umbria has very special events, which have become a real Italian heritage and not only. I talk of Umbria Jazz, of the “Festival dei Due Mondi” of Spoleto, of the Music Festival of Todi, of the Festival of Nations in Città di Castello and of the last UniverseAssisi, all very interesting realities. Not to mention the classical music by the “Amici della musica” of Perugia. Umbria has both cultural and musical excellences it is certainly a rich region. Even from the religious point of view it offers so much, even for an unbeliever like me: there are places of encounter, social and cultural exchange that go beyond religion itself.

Is there the lack of something in Umbria compared to other realities?

The first thing that comes to my mind is what I said at the beginning: the lack of infrastructures. But this is also its charm: who wants to visit Umbria, is someone who really wants to do it. The region has a niche tourism and it is no less beautiful than other regions. Surely it is no less beautiful than Tuscany: our villages have retained their typicality and their character much more. All this makes me love Umbria even more.

Have you ever thought about a concert in Perugia like the one in which you performed  years ago on the occasion of Umbria Jazz?

I often think about it. I would be gladly to do it again, but it does not depend only on me, someone has to ask me. I am very lively and willing to organiza these events. I like them because I have the opportunity to experience different musical types compared to the genre that distinguishes me. I’ve never had a specific musical direction: I’m an entertainer who proposes dance music, I do not like being tied to an unique genre.

 

Has your audience changed in these years?

Yes and no. The ritual that we organize and which we participate in over the years has not changed much. The music has changed, but the sense of going dancing has remained unchanged. The style to dance can be changed, but that style could go back in fashion: people love to dance and this will never change. Everyone loves a certain rhythm and a certain style of music, but every music has its own dignity.

When do you think of turning off the console permanently?

I never thought of it. The artists never stop, they continue until they want and until results are obtained: I still have both desire and results. Obviously things change over the years, but, I work as if it was the very first day.

Confess to the public something that nobody knows about you.

On some respects, I’m very compulsive, like as regarding food. An aspect that I should solve in some way (laughs). I like eating, as you can see looking at me.

What is your favourite food?

The bruschetta. It is a food linked to childhood: bread and olive oil with bruscato bread and nothing else. When I’m hungry, however, I prefer pasta.

I read that you use some kind of “supertitious spell” before your performances: are they always the same or have they changed during the time?

They have always been the same for years. In the console the suitcase of the new discs goes to the left while that of the older discs to the right: this is a ritual that I have never changed in my life. Then, if I drop my headphones, I beat them three times on the mix; without my battery I feel lost: even if there is enough light I have to use my flashlight to look for things and discs.

Inevitable is the black t-shirt…

Yes. Sometimes I try to get out of this routine and I wear T-shirts with some writing but I can not stand them more than an hour. In truth, I use black T-shirts because they make me look thinner, if I had another body I would also wear colorful T-shirts (he jokes).

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Vertical, shady, loyal.

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

The cake called torcolo.

«The emotion of winning an Olympics can only be overcome by the motherhood».

Diana Bacosi started winning medals in the skeet (shooting specialty) in 2004 with the first silver at the European Championships and from there she hasn’t stopped. One success after another, up to the gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016. Diana Bacosi is a woman, a mother and an Olympic champion, who took the shotgun for the very first time when she was 14 years old. «Tokyo 2020 is waiting for me now. After all, this is a sport that does not have age limits».

 

Diana Bacosi

Diana, what is your link with Umbria?

I was born in Umbria in Città della Pieve and I have always lived in Cetona in Tuscany, on the border between the two regions. It’s 10 years old that i have been living in Rome, but I usually train in Umbria and I often go back to relax.

As yu grown up in the province of Siena, do you feel more Umbrian or Tuscan?

When I am asked this question, I always answer: I fee l Italian.

I read that you picked up the first rifle at 14: what does drive a little girl to this type of sport?

Dad used to go the shooting contests and I follone him to spend time together . The first few times I only sat on one side and I scored the points. One time, my dad told me: “Diana, would you like to  try?” And from that moment on I did not stop shooting. I immediately enjoyed it and it became my passion.

Do you think that you will have Umbrian heir?

There is a boy from Spello, Emanuele Fuso, who is emerging and in the coming months we will see where he will be able to arrive.

Was it more exciting for you: to win your very first competition or the Olympic medal?

Winning an Olympic medal is a unique emotion, also because you get there after a long preparation.

More exciting than becoming a mother?

No, that’s above all and everyone. But gold comes soon after.

How do you prepare to face an Olympics?

It is a journey that lasts over a year. Step by step, race after race you arrive at the Olimpic. There is a physical and mental preparation with breathing exercises, cardiac controls and techniques to take under control the anxiety that may arise during the race. Then there is a schedule of competitions for the entire period that precedes the Olympics: they are only a few, always with the same weapon and the same cartridges.

Try to predict everything, but atmospheric factors are unpredictable. How do you deal with them?

Those can not be predicted, but we try to be prepared, training even in poor conditions and experiencing all the climatic factors. For example, I prefer a storm to the rain. A friend of mine instead loves shooting with rain.

Is there an ideal situation?

Yes, not too much sun, the blue sky and a clean background without mountains  or hills.

A little curiosity: where do you keep the medal?

In a bank safe.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Serenity, beauty and hospitality. Umbrian people have always been so close to me.

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

The woods and the green.

«Getting back to Umbria is like taking a breath of fresh air. I love this region and its food».

Camilla Ferranti is becoming more and more known after her participations in Enchantment, District Police, Angels and Diamonds, Don Matteo and the Honor and Respect.  Next year she is bound to be the opponent of Barbara d’Urso in the new season of the TV series Dr. Giò. Born in Terni, she has been living in Rome for years, but a part of her heart remains linked to Umbria. A heart that has recently been kidnapped by the actor Christopher Lambert. A love story born by chance on the set of the fiction and of which Camilla speaks in a whisper.

 

Camilla Ferranti, photo by Melissa Marchetti

Camilla, the first question is ritual: what is your link with Umbria?

It’s a blood bond, I was born and raised in Terni. Eventually, the university took me to Rome and I remained there. The first years after leaving my city I did not feel the separation, because I considered Terni a small reality. Today I usually come back with pleasure as I appreciate the city and the region: coming to Umbria is a real breath of oxygen.

How often do you come back to Terni?

My family lives there, so on the weekends or as soon as I can, I go back to the city, even simply for a dinner: I miss the Umbrian cuisine a lot.

 

Often the Umbrian people are seen  as very  closed: living outside the region, do you perceive it?

Absolutely not. Indeed, I find that the Umbrians are very open and easy-going people. They are welcoming to people who come from outside, differently from the inhabitants of other cities who I dealt with, because of my job. In addition, Umbria – despite its problems – is a dynamic region and I do think that it hasn’t extraordinary needs. Lately I feel very nationalistic and linked to my origins, to the Italian culture and history.

Soon we will see you in the tv series Dr. Giò with Barbara D’Urso: which is your role?

I am the medical director of the hospital where Dr. Giò works. In collaboration with the director of the department, I try to impede her plans: Dr Giò would like to create a center dedicated to women victims of violence – a theme that is also very current – but I, as head of the economic  division of the hospital, take care of my interests only. I am the bad of the series.

So is it a negative character?

She is a woman who thinks only of her career, putting herself on the side of the strongest and the most powerful. It is certainly not one who can be manipulated as she is a very determined woman. There will be a redemption too….

 

Do you recognize yourself in this role or are you the exact opposite?

I am also a determined woman, but I would never sacrifice my private life and never play dirty to achieve my goals. I am a honest person and I want to reach my goals thanks to merits and my strengths. This does not mean that, if there is to play and fight I am not ready for this. I am attracted by success – I have to admit – and I am very ambitious, but I play honestly.

 

Camilla Ferranti, photo by Melissa Marchetti

When will the tv series be on air?

It is not yet known with certainty, but probably at the beginning of 2019.

This television experience brought you love too, on the set you met the actor Christopher Lambert…

I do not talk a lot about my private life, I can say that there is a good story. It was an unexpected meeting, I did not even think that it could have happened, I was focused only on my work …

I read that you get married next year…

I do not want to say anything about it. 

What are your projects for the future?

I have several work projects, both for cinema and fo television. They are still top secret.

Returning to Umbria, how would you describe it in three words?

Genuine, tough, true.

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

Green and tranquility.

«A fragrant land that evokes the colors of yellow, green and orange».

The interview with Emanuela Aureli begins immediately with a joke: “Do you deal with excellences, so why are you interviewing me ?!” I am interviewing you because you are yourself an Umbrian excellence in your field. Born in Terni, the actress and imitator is nice and friendly, while we are talking on the phone she greets the neighbors and confesses that he is setting up home: “If I’m out of breath it’s because I’m cleaning.” The chat is fun, as if we had known each other for a long time and naturally we start talking about our region.

 

Emanuela Aureli

Which is your link with Umbria?

I have a very strong bond: it is my own land and I am very proud of it. In Umbria I have my family, I have memories linked to many moments of my life. My son was born in Perugia: we must go beyond the sports rivalry between the two cities. Given that I am not a football fan I can not understand it.

How did you get on television and gain fame, starting from a provincial town?

As a child, I knew and felt that this job was my destiny. I felt it inside and I managed to realize my dream. It all started in 1992 when my mother – without I knew it – enrolled me in the Corrida. I was already an imitator, but I felt really scared, in fact I initially got angry. My mum incited me saying, “Go, try it!” So I participated imitating Al Bano and Romina, Patty Pravo and Mietta. I won the episode and from that moment on, all has been starting. In a certain way it was my mother who let me enter this world.

Actress, imitator and TV character: what is the profession that suits you best?

All of them. On television you have to be prepared in the details and study a lot. Soon I am having an audition for a fiction, I hope it goes well. We must always be ready.

Is there a character that you would like to imitate, but that you has not yet done?

Yes, a lot. The first that comes to mind is Adriano Celentano. He is a very exploited character and it is very difficult to imitate his voice to the best

In order to avoid to do something that everyone does?

I prefer that he remains an icon.

If you were to imitate Umbria how would you represent it?

I would show the genuine people with their great humanity. Then the colors of the valleys and the scent of grass and the land. Often Umbrian people are accused of being closed, I do not believe it at all. Indeed, we are very hospitable, we are always welcomed. I do not recognize myself in this closure and I do not even feel it. Those who come to visit Umbria are aware of our hospitality: many have told me it.

 

I know taht you love painting: have you ever represented Umbria?

Instead of going to the gym, I paint. I really like it and it relaxes me. I have often painted Umbria, its valleys, its colors and its light. It is a luminous land: yellow, orange and green. I love our landscapes and recently I put Collesecco on canvas. I would like to organize an exhibition and bring my paintings abroad too.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Familiar, welcoming, warm.

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

The smell of home.

«Olive Oil and Umbrian wine are our cultural heritage such as Pinturicchio and Perugino».

Gianfranco Vissani does not need many presentations. It is perhaps the first chef appeared on television, when the chefs were still in the kitchen. Exuberant, outspoken and a genuine Umbrian. During our talk he remembers stories connected to his father: when he killed the pig or when he prepared the aromatic liqueurs so as the numerous things  that he taught him. Then the interview moves on to the Umbrian cuisine and to the bond to this land. At this point everything gets clear: “Mine is a true relationship with the territory”.

 

Gianfranco Vissani

What is your link with Umbria?

My origins are in Maremma but I was born in Umbria in Civitella del Lago in the province of Terni, At the lake of Corbara my father opened the first restaurant when there was still little electricity in the area and the streets were not very practical. When I was young, I was attracted by everything that was different, for this reason I traveled a lot thorough Italy: Venice, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Genoa, Florence and Naples, today all that is here represents my life. I love Umbria, I have a very deep bond with this land.

If Umbria was a dish, what would it be?

It would not be just a dish, but many. It would be hunting, the lentils of Castelluccio, the potatoes of Colfiorito, the truffle caved and not cultivated, the olive oil, the wines like Sagrantino, the torta al testo cooked under the embers, the “maialata” and the “sanguinaccio”, the thrushes of Amelia and the “palomba alla ghiotta” of Todi. We are a small region, but very important and innovative in the fileld of cuisine

An ingredient that can not miss on the table of an Umbrian…

Certainly the olive oil, for its small size, Umbria produces a lot, and the wine of Caprai and Lungarotti that were true innovators. These two products are our cultural heritage equal to Pinturicchio and Perugino.

How much, and how, has this region influenced your cooking and your work?

Very very much. Umbrian products are very present in my recipes.

Your latest book La cucina delle feste has this subtitle: “L’altro Vissani” Who is the other Vissani? Is there another one?

Yes, it’s another nuisance like me (laughs). It’s a subtitle that I enjoyed to choose.

A good chef is the one who cooks the best pasta with tomato sauce or the one who makes a great dish never made by others?

A good chef must know how to do both: starting from the simplicity of a pasta with tomato sauce to get to a more particular and complicated dish.

Little curiosity: is there a food that you can not stand? And one which you can not do without?

I do not like sauerkraut and I could not do without olive oil or ham, but the ham which doesn’t

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Hills, nature and green landscapes.

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

Quiet life and grape vines.

«The passage of time and not thinking about fatigue was the hardest part, but the warmth of the people and my companions helped me a lot».

Marco Fratini, professional doctor and swimmer of the Amatori Nuoto Perugia, has set a world record for passion: he swam for 24 hours, covering 70 kilometers and 300 meters. Everyone read about this challenge realized at the end of 2018, but few know the background of it and the kind of preparation involved. Marco, 45 years old, from Perugia, exceeded his limits, but he already thinks of another goal to achieve “I will keep you informed!”. We surely wait but, in the meantime, he has told us about the 24 hours spent swimming in the Pellini swimming pool in Perugia.

 

Marco Fratini

How did you come up with the idea of  this sports record?

There isn’t a specific reason. Last year I participated in traditional competitions both in the swimming pool and in open waters –  such as sea and lake, but I wasn’t keen on the idea of doing it again, so I thought of something different and I started to investigate in order to discover if anyone  has ever swam for 24 hours. I found out that other crazy people had already dared to deal with similar challenges, but there was nothing official: I was the first to involve the judges of the Italian Swimming Federation. Thanks to them and to the president of F.I.N., Mario Provvidenza, we wrote the rules and organized the event. The judges counted the number of pools which I covered, alternating every three hours to ensure the official record.

How did you prepare for facing the challenge?

I started doing long workouts: three hours of swimming interlaced with moments of rest. After several tests we ended up understanding that the optimal trend was about 50 minutes of swimming and 10 minutes of break. Eventually, we increased the hours, from 3 to 6, 8, then a whole night, up to 24 hours. Everything  has been coordinated by the nutritionist, Dr. Aurora Amato, in order to manage better the dosages of food. I must say that there was a perfect feeling among my trainer Stefano Candidoni, the psychologist, Dr. Anna Grazia Frascella and the nutritionist: in this way we have reached the best possible situation.

Many have asked themselves: what was going on in his head while he was swimming?

First I thought about the time it had to pass and how long it took to walk a tank. Then my head thought of many things: the problem, in fact, was to pass the time, because inside the water the time is dilated, but all the people who intervened and my swimming companions have accompanied me from the first until last minute of the race, helping me a lot to get through the hours. From this point of view it was less tiring than I thought. Of course, when the morning at 9 I realized that I still had to swim for nine hours and already I felt tired, it was hard. The psychologist is served right in these moments: I had with her pre-established breaks every 6 hours to recover both the body and the mind.

Would you like to try the same swimming in the sea?

I do not know. It is completely different: sea water helps to float, but it is not easy to have salt water in the mouth for 24 hours, it  is a problem for the salivation. The sea is unpredictable, the waves can influence, the temperature of the water and the climate: there coluld be too many unexpected events.

Are you considering any other sporting record?

Surely I will do something else, I’m thinking about it and I hope to have more time to prepare the new one.

Was it hard not to sleep for 24 hours?

I decided to start the challenge at 6pm so that to face the night right away.  However I did not suffer from the lack of sleep at all. On the other hand, we had to go through the problem of hypothermia using heated stoves and towels: a small crisis during the night occurred  but in the morning everything was solved.

Umbria is certainly not a region that inspires aquatic activities … where does your passion for swimming come from?

Up to 21-22 years I used to train to take part in professional competition, then I stopped, because of my study commitments. Two years ago I decided to restart and at the Pellini swimming pool I met my old friends of the Swimming Amateurs of Perugia who trained for amateur competitions, so I decided to go back to the pool with a lot of enthusiasm. They were the ones who encouraged me to organize this event, they never left me during the 24 hours. They also took care of the people who passed through and asked information about my condition … on the terraces of the Pellini pool there were over 300 people at the end. A really exciting experience!

Ritual question: which is your link with Umbria?

I was born and I have always lived in Umbria. It is my land.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Closed, heart, home.

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

Warmth.

«For me Umbria represents childhood and adolescence, but I could not live far from Florence».

I had in mind a thousand questions to ask Giancarlo Antognoni, but I had to summarize all my curiosities and above all synthesize a glowing career. Midfielder and historical member of Fiorentina football team – of which today is a sports manager – and World Champion in 1982: all this andch more is Antognoni. With San Marco Juventina he had his first experience in this world: “It is always intact in my mind the memory of the field in which I used to play, in Prepo. It was a dirt court but for us children it was a dream to play in it. I left Perugia when I was 15, but every time I visit it, the memory always comes back”.
Symbol of a team and a nostalgic of a football that is becoming increasingly faded: «It is difficult for a player today to wear the same shirt throughout his career». With us he talked about his Umbria and a football made of passion and dedication…

 

Giancarlo Antognoni

The first question is a must: what is your link with Umbria?

It is certainly strong, as I always carry with me the pleasant memories of the region in which I was born and I spent my childhood. Now, no longer having my parents who live there, I am in Umbria less frequently, even if I still have relatives in Perugia.

In Perugia your father had a bar that was also an AC Milan club and you dreamed of playing with Milan: in your heart is something left linked to the “Rossoneri”?

The memory and the sympathy for Rossoneri remained, even because my whole family was cheering for Milan. But eventually, in my heart, the purple color clearly prevailed.

You were a flag and a symbol of Fiorentina team: why is it so difficult today for a player to become a symbol of a team?

I believe that this is a wider phenomenon. Today football is completely different from how it used to be when I played. Now everythingis has completly changed: it is difficult for a player to wear the same shirt throughout his career. There are different dynamics between a player and the world of TV and sponsors. The players too tend looking for different life experiences:  fori stance many of them go to play in China, Australia or in the USA.

You started playing as a kid with San Marco Juventina team: do you have any anecdote related to those years that you’d like to tell us?

They are the indelible memories of a kid who kicked a ball, the desire for freedom and to play for fun. Then it is always intact in my mind the field in which we played, in Prepo: it was a dirt field, but for us children it was a dream to play in it. I left when I was only 15 years old, but every time I visit Umbria, the memory always comes back.

After 36 years, what is the first thing that comes to your mind thinking about the victory of the World Cup?

There are so many beautiful things that it is difficult to remember them all. Certainly I can say the arrival at Ciampino with President Sandro Pertini with two wings of crowd that escorted us to the Quirinale. Then, unfortunately, there is also the great regret of not being able to play the final due to an injury.

What would you recommend to a kid who is bought by an important club?

The advice is to never change, to face the experience in an important club like when I started playing football. We must always maintain serenity, passion, dedication to work, without thinking of having arrived.

Have you ever thought of going back to Umbria, maybe in the Perugia team staff?

Honestly, I haven’t, even because I left Umbria when I was too young. Perugia for me represents childhood and adolescence, but later Florence became my home and it is difficult for me to see myself far from here.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Hospitality, beauty of nature and territory and good food.

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

I remember my childhood, when I was a child, the beauty of this region and its extraordinary quality of life.

«If Umbria was a comic book? It would be fun and colorful»

Sualzo

 

Antonio Vincenti, better known as Sualzo, defines himself as a missing saxophonist and a self-taught artist. With his pencil he illustrates and tells stories: «For me it is important to tell beautiful stories. I always choose topics that are close to my heart».Winner of several awards, his works have been published not only in Italy, but also in USA, Russia, France, Spain, Poland, England, South Korea and other countries: November 30th will be in Russia to represent Italy at the Moscow International Book Fair. But Sualzo remains closely linked with its territory, with Umbria and above all with the Trasimeno Lake: «Umbria is often represented in my comics and the lake appears often as a background of my drawings».

The first question is a must: what is its link with Umbria?

I was born in Perugia, but I have been living in San Feliciano for twenty years. I feel very closed to the physicality of this place, I feel it mine so much; here I met my wife, here my children were born.

Would you like to explain how a comic book takes shape? The idea, the inspiration…. 

I usually work with two types of stories. I need six to seven years to make a book with a story completely mine: the work starts from an idea that appears in my mind, or I work on stories written by Silvia Vecchini, and at that point the creative process is faster because a process of change, elaboration and refinement of the story can begin.

What does come first? The texts or the drawings?

Usually the texts, even if sometimes, a text can be generated by an image. However, generally, first of all there is the writing. Writing is, for me, the most important part.

What are your characters inspired by? 

In the stories I write, I always put a part of myself. The characters are not 100% autobiographical, but they resemble me a lot. It is very important in my books, to talk about things that I have experienced, and above all, of subjects that are close to my heart The same can be applied to children’s books: the choice of topics is always oriented to communicate something inspirational as the motivation must be strong.

 

Sualzo and Silvia Vecchini

Do you work more on comics or graphic novels? 

At the moment, more graphic novels, even for children. 

Which of the two do you prefer? 

For my perspective, I have always been fascinated by the idea of ​​a non-serial narration, closer to the novel, a story without presuppositions and consequences because I do not care to tell a character, but only stories.  

This year with La zona rossa you won the Attilio Micheluzzi prize for the best comic book for children: could you talk about this work?

La zona rossa is a comic book that tells the kids about the earthquake. Before realizing it happened that the displaced people of Norcia were guested in some structures of San Feliciano and for some time they lived with us in the country. Even if only by spectators, we had  the chance to entered their real experiences and to tell more closely. Moreover, a part of the proceeds of the book financed a theater school in the earthquake zones: it is important to rebuild, but not only things. Next year La zona rossa will be released in the United States and in Korea: a local history can also have an international dimension.

Is there a common thread among all your works? 

What always is present in my work is the need to communicate a concept and a basic thought. Also in the comic books for children Gaetano and Zolletta – which tells the story of a father and son donkeys – there is an important topic: the role of fatherhood. Silvia and me wanted to deal with this aspect, which in the books for children is not very represented or, at least, only marginally. I want to specify: they should not be pedagogical books, but books that tell a meaningful and captivating story. It is our priority.

But you don’t write books only for children… 

The stories I write with Silvia are for children and teenagers, but the ones I write on my own, are for an adult target.

If Umbria was a comic book, how would you represent it? What are the aspects that would you like to highlight? 

Surely it would have a comic humor: the Umbrians have a belly humor, they are not as musoni (sad) as they seem. They know how to be funny. However, it would be a colorful comic: Umbria is full of colors. Even in my works the landscapes of the region are very present. After all I see them every day from my window. 

How would you describe Umbria in three words? 

As a crossroads, a place where walking and a mystical land. 

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

Rest for the gaze.

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