Peel the onions, cut them into thin slices, roll them out on a baking tray and sprinkle with salt. Leave them for a hour, then squeeze them well. Grease a not too high rectangular cake tin, arrange the bread dough in a no more than a centimeter layer and sprinkle the surface with washed and dried slices of onion and sage leaves. Sprinkle the surface of the flatbread pizza with a little olive oil and cook it in the oven at about 180 ° for 30-40 minutes. The white flatbread can be served both cold and hot.
The crushed onion – which in Città di Castello it is called pampassato – is known throughout Umbria. The white flatbread can be made with the onion only or with the leaves of rosemary and, in the absence of anything else, only with a little salt on the surface. In Norcia, where it was usually made together whith the bread and where it was also called “spianata”, next to the poorer versions (with salt, ciccioli or rosemary), it is matched with zucchini, tomatoes and sometimes potatoes.
Title: Perugia Undergroud, stories of sex, women and power in Perugia, during the Twentieth Century
Author: Andrea Maori
Publisher: Francesco Tozzuolo Editore
Year of Printing: 2018
Features: 108 pages, photos cm 21 x 15, paperback illustrated black and white
In his latest book, Andrea Maori – archivist and researcher from Perugia – leads us to discover three stories, in which women are the main characters. Three events that go through the last century and which, thanks to an accurate documentation and specific researches, bear witness to the condition of subordination of women and of their denied individual freedom.
The first story, Bell’Epoque in Perugia: “Illicit relationships” in the women’s prison house is set in 1909, in Perugia, inside the reformatory and the women’s prison of the city, in which at that time, happened violence and abuses on prisoners. These violences came to light thanks to two brave women, Zita Centa Tartarini and Maria Rygier, who brought the issue to the attention of the public.
In the second one: At the margins of history: Cecilia Aurora and Agostina between prostitution and anti-fascism the author Andrea Maori followed their lives of marginalization through few traces found in the archives. Two women, Cecilia Aurora Tavernelli from Città di Castello and Agostina Tortaioli from Perugia, recorded as anti-fascist prostitutes forced to move from one city to another until we lose their traces. From that point on, it is possible to find their faint presence only through police files.
In the third one: Public morality from the approval of the Merlin Law to the seventies. The case of Perugia the author analyzes with punctual numbers and data, the phenomenon of prostitution before and after the the Merlin law, which would have given dignity to women and avoided exploitation situations. In addition, Maori examines the constitution of the female police whose purpose was to safeguard public morality and to monitor the press by repressing that which was considered immoral.
«The book brings to light three local stories that inevitably are linked to the national italian context of that time. In every one of them, the central topic is the subalternity among social classes and, above all, the male domination on the female sexuality», as professor Paolo Bartoli underlines in the preface.
Remarkable is the striking image on the cover, which reproduces the work that the Spanish artist Daniel Munoz created in 2012 on the outer wall of the former Perugia women’s prison. The mural (acrylic on cement) entitled Abandoned Women of the Perugia Prison was destroyed in 2017 during the restoration works of the building. «The idea of the mural» explains the artist «was to create a symbolic representation of the submission of women through history. I chose this topic because the building was the prison of women».
«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».
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…
The title of this article, is also the name of the project presented to the press at the Rocca Albornoziana in Spoleto. It is emblematic of the spirit o f the project itself and of the objectives that it intends to pursue.
La Rocca is the symbol of Spoleto, a city that is a chest containing distinguished treasures, not only within and outside its walls, but also beyond the fortress itself, which has stood for centuries as a its suggestive sentinel. Behind the fortress, commissioned by Pope Innocent VI and built under the guidance of Cardinal Egidio Albornoz,there is what is called the Spoleto Mountain. The ridge extends for about 7000 hectares between the Flaminia state road and the Nera Valley. It contains many natural, historical and religious treasures, which can be experienced through suggestive paths that are worth to be known and appreciated.
Dalla Rocca alla Roccia aims of enhancing, promoting and redeveloping the strong bond between Spoleto and its mountain by proposing routes that from the “Rocca” – heart of the whole project – wind both towards the city center and towards itineraries in the heart of the mountain.
The project, winner of public tender: “Por Fesr 2014-2020 Cultural and Creative enterprises”, will be realized by the Icaro Network, composed of three Umbrian companies of excellence: Hyla Nature Experience (project leader), an association through which experiential initiatives are organized in contact with nature; Int.Geo.Mod. Srl, former spin-off of the University of Perugia, which deals with research and development in the field of local marketing and by the Link 3C Cooperative Company which has developed the Umbrex Circuit, an innovative platform which facilitates traders in buying and selling, and offers the chance of using commercial credits for the payments.
New technologies to support the tourism
Dalla Rocca alla Roccia has been recognized an innovative idea because it offers an integrated solution of new technologies to supporttourism and provides a complete answer to the different needs of the potential tourist. Innovative supports have been identified, in order to promote sustainable tourism and improve the accessibility for disabled people. Moreover, the project includes the creation of immersive experiences for tourists, thanks to green paths and light mobility networks. Dedicated packages for families and schools will be available, so as specific tools designed to communicate the beauties of the territory to children, thematic events about the environment and the local history, scientific conferences and enogastronomic itineraries.
The multimedia center and the innovative app
The Rocca of Spoleto will become a multimedia center where, through totem touchscreen, it will be possible to have multilingual information about the main sites of interest in the area. The Rocca will be the centre where renting special laptops which will accompany the tourist through the path choosen. The App of virtual reality, through a highly innovative technology, will automatically activate near the sites of interest identified by the project, and will provide information, photos and videos.
Rocca Albornoziana di Spoleto, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma
Tourist packages and commercial credit circuits
Specialized excursionist guides will guide the visitors to the discovery of the Spoleto’s mountain paths. We are talking about: the “Greenway del Nera”, the “Fontanili of Monte Fionchi”, “Monteluco” and the hiking network of the environmental areas of the Spoleto Municipality. These itineraries will be included in real tour packages through an activity involving the receptive structures of the territory. Furthermore, they will be proposed in the complementary regional market of the Circuit Umbrex and in the commercial credit circuits of other eleven Italian regions, through the internet portal www.viaggiareincrediti.it.
The Laboratory of Earth Sciences
Another remarkable element of the project will be the Laboratory of Earth Sciences: a special classroom with panoramic projections for providing an immersive educational space thanks to video mapping techniques. Here there will be a bookshop too, for the sale of books / guides about the territory and gadgets inspired by the branding of the project.
The project will be promoted through the Internet websitewww.dallaroccaallaroccia.it – currently under construction. It will provide updated information, the chance of online booking of the services offered, links with the accommodation facilities of the territory. The access to a virtual newsstand in which the digital editorial material on Spoleto and its highlights will be collected.
The love for a craft work which turns into art: this is the story of a boy who has preserved an important heritage, guided by his grandmother.
Photo by Claudia Ioan
The meeting is at the Retificio Mancinelli, in San Feliciano (Magione). To frame the garden there are the plastic circles of the larger nets, bundled on one side to indicate the industriousness of that villa on the lake, apparently quiet. Andrea Mancinelli and his grandmother welcome us in the large and bright work room. The morning sun cuts it obliquely like a perfect diamond. On one side, stacked wooden chairs rise face to face with a particular hanger, which instead of cloche, shows some nets.
Andrea Mancinelli and grandmother, photo by Claudia Ioan
A room lost in the past
In a room with many windows, Andrea and his grandmother sew the nets. The Retificio Mancinelli could be reduced to this luminous box, where the boy learns an ancient trade and gives it new life. Andrea is guided by a person who is really well known in this area. It does not seem so out of place that table, dangerously similar to the teaching post, sandwiched between boxes filled with nets and covered with sinkers and needles.
A room that seems lost in the past, with the cotton models of the nets and the photo of the late patriarch to keep under control every element of a craft work that has its roots in the daily life of the Trasimeno fishermen.
Photo by Claudia Ioan
To complete the scene, a sort of wooden stool placed above a cabinet – which I will later discover to be a support for the large nylon traps – and some pulleys hanging from the ceiling, to which Andrea immediately hangs a tofo.
While the photographers are unleashed, I observe the technical perfection of this creation, with its deceptions that trap the fishes. Andrea, meanwhile, gives us a practical demonstration of how the net is attached to the circles, counting the points one by one: every fourpoints, he stops and makes a knot. This is suggests a rather repetitive work, which demands an extreme attention. What he calls the needle, is actually achecella, a sort of comb with only two teeth that Andrea uses smoothly and careful as if he were combing the hair of his beloved.
Photo by Claudia Ioan
According to his grandmother, Andrea still has much to learn. I try to understand if she is proud of her nephew, and of how he has decided to preserve a craft work to which she has dedicated her life. Instead of answering me, she starts talking about herself.
Since 1955 this was her work, but for a year now it has been taking a break because of her health conditions. She has worked a lot and with passion, but now she feels that her energy is fading.
The worry for the health, as well as the difficulty of resigning herself to the inevitability of this situation, make her voice crack – but I do not need to tell her that she is a warrior and that we all would want to have a grandmother like her.
Photo by Claudia Ioan
Accuracy and experience
From the demonstration by Andrea we understand that this type of work is extremely complex: it requires precision and experience, as well as an extremely high attention. Andrea deploys a trammel spreading it between the hanger and the window to the east: the nylon, initially a very light blue, seems almost to disappear, suspended between the dust and the late morning sun.
Photo by Massimiliano Tuveri
Now I understand why the room is so bright. It should not be easy, moreover, to remember the innumerable patterns of the equally innumerable types of the nets. Then some worn out notes appear, stored in the drawers of the teaching post: schemes, numbers, updates. All you need to build a perfect net is written there, on unfolded accounting sheets and notebooks, a humble looking heritage that is worth more than a rare treasure.
It is this knowledge that allows the construction of complicated trammel nets and similar hare hunting nets, or those used at the sea, for the sport, for the shop windows, for the restaurants and for children’s games. Those nets that generations and generations of fishermen have used as their work tools on the Trasimeno Lake, whose pastel green stands out discreetly at the end of the road.
If you remove a diamond from a perfect building, everything seems to crumble …
On the cover stands out this perfect diamond and, while I was reading, I wondered what was the reason why a diamond is on the cover of a book, mostly set in Perugia. Then, continuing to read, everything appeared perfectly clear to me. Not only because the action moves to Ferrara and it is mentioned the legend linked to “Palazzo dei Diamanti”, but because the diamond also represents the precious uniqueness of each member of a group. Inside this group, if an element is removed, it produces a terrible explosion that inevitably leads to the fall down of the unit. From that moment on, everyone alone, has to choose his own path to become an adult.
The stories of Santo, Babila, Elettra, Mirro and Sandrino, if on one hand bring us to think of what it is the most fascinating film about adolescence – Stand by me: memories of a summer, from the famous novel of Stephen King – on the other hand, they make us enjoy the memories of a Perugia where life was marked by different rhythms. The city center was not only for tourists, but it was a lively place, the beating heart of the city. A downtown perhaps more run – down than today, but full of real life.
Love at the time of design is a charming book that tells not only a love story, the story between Santo and Babila, which, as a common thread, accompanies us from the very first page to the last one. At the same time it takes us back to a difficult period of the Italian history. These events make everything very real, without weighing down a story that is so captivating, thanks to the capacity of the author to influence the events that disturb him, through the force of his mind.
Like every book, this one too is partly autobiographical, in fact Stelio Zaganelli remembers all the cities dear to him: Perugia where he has always lived, Ferrara where he was born, Florence where he obtained his degree as an architect and Milan which he often visited both for work and for pleasure. When he talks about the escalators and the restaurants of the city center of Perugia, it is inevitable of thinking of a tribute to his grandfather, of whom, Stelio brings the name. He was mayor of Perugia from 1977 to 1980.
Certainly also in the characters, so alive and authentic, there probably be the memories of people met by the author. The fact of choosening special names – which appear a little curious, in the vivid narrative of a time that seems so distant to many of us – helps to hide real identifications and to remain in the field of pure fantasy.
Of course, at the end of the reading, an entire generation of inhabitants of Perugia will carefully put this book on a shelf, but it surely remain in their heart and mind, because of the personal history, recognized in it.
“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.
“The town looks solemn and powerful, with its doors, the main road and the church of San Francesco” (M. Tabarrini)
Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan
Set on a hill along the Corno river valley, Monteleone di Spoleto is among the most fascinating and characteristic villages of Valnerina. Over the centuries, thanks to its position, it gained the appellation of Lions of the Appennines. Its territory is part of one the most typical and uncontaminated environment of the central Apennines.
The city is like a small casket which has been keeping precious objects of history, art and architecture for centuries: in fact, Monteleone boasts very ancient origins, as evidenced by the numerous tombs found in the surroundings. About the ancient wars and battled fighted in the area, numerous testimonies remain. Among them, the famous chariot of the sixth century BC stands. It was found here in the early twentieth century. Inside the local Church of San Francesco is preserved a splendid copy, while the original one is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The town, since ancient times, appears solemn to the visitor in all its majesty; witness of its ancient vestiges, Monteleone shows off all the pride of its history to the traveler. The city, in fact, isolated among the bleak mountains of the Apennines, is rich in symbols and meanings. Such as the repetition of certain numbers: three are the city walls and, each of them, is provided with three doors, moreover, there are six towers and eight ramparts in the city. The castle, surrounded by solid walls, watchtowers and gates, preserves the typical medieval and renaissance appearence, with its houses, churches and noble buildings that overlook alleys and squares. Characteristic element of the whole country is the local white and red rock, which makes the architecture unique, able to recall the magical two-color of the ancient orders of chivalry. The territory has four residential areas (Ruscio, Rescia, Trivio and Butino), whose main activities were agriculture and sheep – farming. But the area was known due to the industrial activities too; such as the Ruscio lignite mines and the iron mines. From these mines according to the tradition, was exctracted the raw materials for the Pantheon gates in Rome.
The spelled, photo by Claudia Ioan
Excellence in Monteleone di Spoleto
To make Monteleone di Spoleto an even more wonderful town is the amber color that distinguishes its land: the spelled of Monteleone is among the excellences of Italy. Thanks to the efforts of local producers, it was possible to request and obtain the DOP brand (Protected Designation of Origin).
Monteleone di Spoleto, photo by Claudia Ioan
Church of San Francesco
Crossing the town’s walls, it is possible to discover, through pleasant alleys, important historical and artistic treasures. The Church of SanFrancesco, built between the 14th and 15th centuries, is one of them. The church is the most remarkable and suggestive monument in Monteleone, because it has been witness of the most significative historical periods of the town.
Originally, the church was dedicated to Saint Maria or better Madonna dell’Assunta, but it has been always commonly known with the name of the poor of Assisi, since the early Franciscans settled there around 1280. The Franciscan order in Monteleone always used the Church for their functions and in every official act, a seal bearing the image of the Assumption abducted in heaven with the initials S (Which stands for Sanctae) and M (which stands for Mariae). Various frescoes decorate the church walls with devotional images probably painted by artists of the the Fourtheen Century Umbrian School
Church of St. Nicholas
The church is located at the highest point of the historical center; It dates back to the early Middle Ages, in fact the first documents date from 1310. It has a single nave with ten chapels with its own altars. The ceiling is coffered and covered with a tempera painted canvas with floralmotifs. Among the several works of considerable value, we mention the decollation of St. John the Baptist between St. Anthony from Padova, St. Isidore and La Maddalena, attributed to the painter Giuseppe Ghezzi and the Annunciation, probably a work by Agostino Masucci.
Church of Santa Caterina
In 1310 five Augustinian nuns, coming from the Monastery of St. Catherine in Norcia, asked for a small church and a house in the lower part of Monteleone in order to build a monastery there. Both the house and the church were outside the circle of walls, and they had been built in 1265. The nuns remained there for almost five years. Of the eighteenth-century church, only the perimeter walls remain.
Church of Santa Caterina, photo by Enrico Mezzasoma
Church of Santa Maria de Equo
The interior of the church is typical of rural churches: in the center of the church there is an eighteenth-century altar, adorned with a wooden statue of the Madonna with Child; on the sides, inside two niches, there are the wooden statues of St. Peter and St. Paul. Along the left wall is the venerable Gilberto or Liberto, a hermit who lived here for many years.
Bibliography: L’Umbria si racconta. Dizionario E-O, Foligno 1982 di Mario Tabarrini.
Let’s talk about the numbers: 150,000 / 180,000 flowers of Crocus Sativus cover an immense field beautiful and violet, and from all that field you get only one kilogram of saffron.
A huge amount of flowers for a small product: of course this causes a raise in the price, as the caviar, but unlike this one, the saffron has a thousand-year history that oscillates between magic, health, prestige and cuisine. It has been a successful product for centuries, to the point of obtaining the nickname of red gold. It was a multitasking product, used as a dye for real fabrics, but also as a precious aphrodisiac and cosmetic to revive pale cheeks.
In Italy the word saffron immediately evokes the risotto alla Milanese, while in France it is an ingredient of bouillabaisse (fish soup) and in Sweden it is an element of the Grande Amaro Svedese.
Everyone uses saffron. In fact it is really requested and 180 tons a year are produced in the world. 90% comes from Iran. The powder of saffron is one of the spices which is most subject to fraudes and to be adulterated. The powder can be mixed with turmeric or with calendula, but there are those who do not hesitate to add powdered minerals or synthetic dyes. Moreover, as in ancient spices shops, there is also the risk of buying a badly preserved product.
Saffron of the dukedom
Once, the saffron arrived from the East following the path of the Via delle Spezie, eventually it started to be was cultivated in Italy too, above all in Abruzzo and in the territories of Spoleto and Terni.
Various historical and economic events had made it disappear from the domestic market, but now it is back and it is becoming really very important. In Italy it is not produce so much, but we cultivate the red saffron variet, which is really precious. In order to face the expenses and difficulties of cultivation and harvesting, forty Umbrian producers created an association with the evocative name of Saffron of theDukedom, to rember the presence of the Duchy of Spoleto. One of the associates, Mr. Giuliano Sfascia, explained to me the characteristics that the product must have to be of the highest quality, and brought me to the field, where I observed the saffron itself.
The flowers, the crocuses, are born from the bulbs that are placed in the ground in July, but they do not bear the intensive cultivation, they need space and air, they grow on the hills, they need light and well drained soils, sandy or silty. The 180,000 flowers, needed to obtain a kilo of saffron, can only be picked up by hand, bent over the crocuses, early in the morning, when the flowers are still closed. Each flower has only three red stigmas (antennines) that contain the spice which is the saffron. This harsh harvest is called overflowing and is done in October.
Once the flowers have been collected, the three stigmas are delicately come off, placed in a glass vase and immediately left to dry. The first they dry, the better the taste of the spice will be. Saffron production requires effort and many hours of work and it is subject to a thousand risks, bad weather and parasites. To all this we must add that every collection, to obtain the quality certification, must be analyzed by an authorized laboratory. Crocina, the color, Pirocrocina, the bitter taste and Safranale, the aroma, are the three substances that characterize the saffron, but only if the presence of these substances is high we have the saffron of the best quality. No magic. Good cultivation helps the three substances to give their best. So, good “risotto” to everyone.
«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.
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…