14 December, 2019
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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 four points, 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

Since 1955

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.

 

Photo by Massimiliano Tuveri

 


Retificio Mancinelli

«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.

«… 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.

The English painter Graham Dean creates «beautiful models, athletes, crazy bondage enthusiasts, identical twins, people with skin imperfections» using their bodies as «vehicles of expression»[1]. Through his stunning and innovative watercolours, he narrates emotions, ideas and memories, playing with colour contrasts and multiple layers. Looking at his reds, we can easily imagine the brightness of India, but we can barely imagine that he could be inspired also by Umbria.

 

It was 1992 when Graham Dean, born in Birkenhead, Merseyside, came to Italy to spend six months at the British School in Rome. He won a prestigious art award – the Senior Abbey Award in Painting – and he had the possibility to live for a while in the residential institution of the British School and to visit Rome and the cities nearby. From that moment on, Italy got under his skin.
During his many visits out of Rome, Graham went to the well-known town of Assisi and then, on his way back, he stopped in a village near lake Trasimeno.
«I didn’t know anything about Umbria and I was taken aback by the lake and its surroundings, wondering why that place was such a secret. Why didn’t more people know about this place?» states Graham. «Back in Rome, I vowed that one day I would return to buy a house and, if possible, a studio».

 

 

It was just the beginning: Graham Dean, who has made a lot of solo exhibitions all over the world, got struck by Umbria’s and now, he owns a studio-house between Migliano and San Vito, about 15 minutes out of Marsciano. He visits the house, surrounded by fields and the river Fersinone, about five or six times a year.
«I work on projects in the studio or on ideas. I found an enormous time to think and reflect. I have found, over the fifteen years I own the house in Migliano, that is the only one environment where I can completely relax in. There is an atmosphere that is difficult to describe unless you experience it, but everyone who visits says the same thing. I’m trying not to view through rose tinted glasses, as I know it can be economically harder for people to make a good living, especially for the young».
As a painter of the human body, Graham Dean has found that he’s slowing turning his attention towards the idea of landscape and the sense of other that he and his friends experience at the house. He feels like Umbria is a new territory for him to explore.

What would it be his next step? He would like to put on a large showing of his work in Umbria and he’s still waiting to be asked! Even though a number of younger painters wanted to show him, the authorities didn’t, so it slowly came to a halt. But who knows? We bet that sooner o later you will see Graham Dean’s large paintings in one of the Umbrian museums.

 


Sources:     www.grahamdean.com

 

[1] Adapted from an article by Galerie Maubert, Paris. September 2011, in http://grahamdean.com/about/

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

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

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

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

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


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

 

More on Magione

It was the end of 1900 when an accidental meeting in Venice would change, oversetting them, the poetress Vittoria Aganoor and Umbrian parlamentarian Guido Pompilj’s solitary existence. 

villa

Villa Pompilj, pic by Giovanni Maw

 

A Scornful Temper

Vittoria was immediately struck by this man she would call «the strong soldier for Good», in fact in him she saw «a clear ethical dimension connected to a humanitarian and solidarity based impulse which had been previously unknown to her».[1] At the time, Guido held the position of Undersecretary of the Ministry for Finance in the 1st Saracco Government. As will be described by his close friend, Giuseppe Marinelli, Guido had an «undemostrative character, hard, undeterred, wanting in conciliating sentiment, had an aim in view, careless of the obstacles, and despising whoever blocked his way. He didn’t bend before anyone’s wishes, that’s why he had many opponents who, whilst admiring his lively mind, could not explain his indomable and contemptuous attitude».[2] Still, in private he was capable of showing «a sweet lovingness, almost of a childish kind”; furthermore, his conversation was “witty and cheerful, never mordant or sarcastic, always circumspect and enthusiast together».[3]

Deep Black Eyes

Vittoria, then forty-five-year old, started writing to Guido and «pouring out all of […] herself into the letters – emotions, longings, activities and concerns – getting so to scrape Pompilj’s laconic discretion».[4] Actually, the forty-six-year old Guido, bound up in his own policy preoccupations, didn’t think to share the rest of his life with a woman anymore. Though, soon this woman to whom «nobody who had nearly approached her would have been able to avoid the irresistible charm radiated by her small body all grace and lightness; by her big dark and deep, passion twinkling, gloom and misty eyes; by her candy and ladylike amiability»[5] won Guido’s heart, so that he started loving her more and more so as to become a single identity.

villa alta

Villa Pompilj, pic by Giovanni Maw

An Abode in Monte del Lago

The letters became increasingly fond and kind up to the one of 16 May 1901 where she stood ready to marry him, confident to have found «the perfect companion, who, taking all her soul, would give all his in return, without any restriction or limit».[6] Vittoria, defying conventions, wrote:

«[I] always thought that getting loveless marriage is a shame; maybe it’s false, but this is what I always thought. In the past I had a liking for someone whose body I was merely keen on, but I knew I was charmed by the looks and nothing more, and that their souls and mine were totally different. That, I thought, it’s not the true and full love. Why would I like getting married now? Because it would be the only way to live with You, for You, next to You; because, if there was an alternative way to do this, I wouldn’t ask You… I mean, I would have never asked You to marry [me] […] Know […] that not only I would have left Venice for Rome, but even for Siberia indeed [in order to] live with You and settling for any habit of his».[7] 

In November that year, they got married in Naples and their love became all-absorbing and full, «united in mutual respect, kept together as by common artistic and cultural interests as by an identical appreciation of simple and rural things they could find in the beloved lake Trasimeno»[8] on the which banks they chose to live just married, in that Villa Alta at Monte del Lago, Guido’s birthplace. Vittoria and Guido lived years of an intense and absolute love, as deep as only the blue can be: incomprehensible and impenetrable like the depths of the waters and unbounded like the blue of the skys. Thus when Vittoria died in May 1910, following an ovarian cancer surgery, Guido despairing killed himself leaving the words «I couldn’t, I would not survive without her».[9] 

 


 

[1] A. Chemello, Vittoria Aganoor e il suo mondo, in M. Squadroni (curated by), Vittoria Aganoor e Guido Pompilj. Un romantico e tragico amore di primo Novecento su Lago Trasimeno, [Perugia], Soprintendenza archivistica per l’Umbria, 2010, p. 135.
[2] Quoted from M. Chierico, cit., p. 14.
[3] G. Muzzioli, Guido Pompilj e Vittoria Aganoor Pompilj. Commemorazione popolare, Perugia, Guerra, 1910, p. 5.
[4] P. Pimpinelli, Vittoria Aganoor. La poetessa, in M. Squadroni (curated by), cit., p. 111.
[5] G. Mazzoni, in «La Favilla» fasc. ill. in honour of Vittoria Aganoor (Jul.-Aug. 1910) quoted from L. Grilli, Introduzione, in V. Aganoor Pompilj, Poesie complete, Firenze, Le Monnier, 1912, p. IV.
[6] «La Donna», 20 May 1910, quoted from F. Girolmoni, Il fondo bibliografico Aganoor Pompilj della Biblioteca comunale di Magione, in M. Squadroni (curated by), cit., p. 184.
[7] Letter from Vittoria to Guido Pompilj dated 16 May 1901, quoted from L. Ciani, Aganoor, la brezza e il vento, Nuova S1, Bologna 2004, p. 92.
[8] G. Chiodini, Vittoria e Guido. Un suicidio concordato, in «Il Messaggero Umbria», 23 Apr. 2010.
[9] ASPg, Fondo Aganoor Pompilj. Ada Palmucci, Testamento di Guido Pompilj, 4-5/5/1910.

 

 

More on Magione

 


Do you want to discover every shade of Umbrian blue? Take a look to BLUE

One of Balzac’s porttraits displayed in the exhibition in Castiglione del Lago

In order to remember the centennial of Pablo Picasso’s trip in Italy, in Castiglione del Lago has been organized an exhibition of more than ninety works made by the artists.

 

Inside the beautiful Della Corgna Palace, until November 5th, will be displayed Honoré de Balzac’s portraits, etching and aquatint illustrations, graver-carved tables, sculptures and ceramic work of arts.

Openings: everyday from 9.30 to 19.00

 

 

 

 

More on Castiglione del Lago

Paciano, a delightful village of just nine hundred and forty inhabitants, is placed on the green hills overlooking Lake Trasimeno. It’s known as one of the most beautiful villages of Italy (Borghi più Belli d’Italia) and it has been chosen by many foreigners as the ideal place to buy a second home; it hosts an atypical museum within the Seventeenth Century Palazzo Baldeschi in the heart of the historic centre, whose main aim is to show-off its rich heritage made up of memories, recollections, and accounts of craftsmanship and know-how.

This is Trasimemo, a memory bank, a museum of artisan wisdom for all of those trades and occupations that were part of daily life on the shores of the lake.

what to see nearby lake trasimeno

Community's Jewel in the Crown

TrasiMemo is an innovative project the residents of this small town wanted and were keen to have.  They are keen to preserve an heritage in which they see a generous propulsive thrust toward a future of renewal. On entering the hall of the museum, the feeling of community is palpable. It is not uncommon to find local citizens volunteering at the Info Points; each one of them has a story to tell or a tale of a particular local character which enriches the visit to this unique museum.
The setting and decor is very pleasant. The ambience is welcoming, the typical noise of work introduces visitors to the reality of artisan crafts through sound; warm lighting illuminates the path and draws attention to details that should not be taken for granted. The exhibits are organised through an archive to clearly indicate where various types of documents are held, divided into four main areas: iron and metal working, wood, terracotta and textiles.


Memories

Dear Visitors, you will not find big book to study; you will find drawers full of treasures: embroidery bobbins, coloured threads, loose, grippers, files, planers and then designs, colours and majolica. Every drop of traditional handicraft summed up into small objects that have strong evocative powers. And then there is the register, full of faces of those who still work with passion in the craft or those who would like to pass the baton to valid heirs.

These craftsmen are the protagonists of the stories on the walls of TrasiMemo and suppliers of the material stored in the Bank of Memory; they support many of the works that still form part of the urban fabric of the village and they also take part in the workshops run by the museum. From time to time, it is possible to participate in the workshop which is available for both adults and children, in order to try out the real handicraft work!

A Smart Museum

Visiting TrasiMemo is exciting for everyone. In addition to touching and seeing important and fascinating objects, there are four large summary panels, one for each area, which recount anecdotes and secrets linked to daily life and to the history of that profession. There is also the use of multi-media content to make the museum experience more interactive.
The wall of words or, to use technical jargon, the wall of the semantic fields, provides the exhibition a great visual impact. Visitors are encouraged to have fun choosing and taking pictures of the one that best describes their visit, to remember it. On leaving the museum it is important not to forget to looking for the symbols of artisanal activity that adorn the streets of Paciano. Public lighting, house numbers painted on majolica tiles and the iron structure of the communal well are just a few examples.
So why you should go visiting TrasiMemo?
«TrasiMemo is a place for everything and everyone: it is for craftsmen and those who have a memory of local knowledge; it is for the people who live in the region and who continue to think of workspaces and life; it is for heritage professionists who, through research, try to protect memory, organising it for the future; it is for visitors who decide to visit the Trasimeno area, wanting to better understand the relationship between its inhabitants, its landscapes and its local resources.»

TrasiMemo, Museum of Handicraft Memory – Paciano

More on Paciano

Strangozzi, stringozzi, strozzapreti, bringoli, umbricelli, bigoli, umbrichelle, lombrichelli, ciriole, anguillette, manfricoli: if you ever had the chance to take a ride in the Umbrian taverns, sitting in the rural atmosphere of those rooms and probing the delicious menu, in the section dedicated to main courses you see something with an ambiguous but evocative name.

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Flour and Water

It is not easy to reconstruct the history of a dish with an ancient birth, especially when confusion still reigns even on his name, as it is contamined by the vagueness of the spoken language and by the use of certain customary terms rather than others.
But let’s go in order: first of all, we are talking about a type of fresh pasta, rustic because its handmade processing and therefore inaccurate, coarse, whose goodness lies in the roughness of its own composition. Sources agree on the poor origins of this dish, made of the sole water and wheat flour. What makes the difference, however, is the shape it assumes: so, the same dought produces many types of pasta, whose names are often confused because of their etymological similarity.

In Spoleto, «Erti de stinarello e fini de cortello»

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The stringozzi of Spoleto -called strangozzi in Terni, manfricoli in Orvieto, anguillette in the area of Lake Trasimeno, umbricelli in Perugia for their resemblance to earthworms, or even brigoli, lombrichelli or ciriole – are a type of stubby and coarse spaghetti, with a circumference of 3-4 mm and of a length of 25 cm, hand-rolled on a work surface. As the saying goes, the dought must not be excessively stretched; you will pay attention to the thickness only when you cut the phyllo dough lenghtwise with a knife.

Strangozzi must be cooked in plenty water, and you have to dredge them up at the exact moment they emerge. They are seasoned with meat sauces, truffles, parmesan cheese or vegetables. Beyond doubt, the most characteristic preparation is the one holding up the name of Spoleto – “alla spoletina” – where tomatos, parsley and hot pepper enhance the taste of pasta.

A Linguistic Tussle

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It is curious that strangozzi – for their assonance with the verb “to strangle” – are often confused with strozzapreti, another preparation made out the simple mixture of water and flour.
Although the names are often used interchangeably, the shape of strozzapreti is very different from strangozzi one (and their counterparts): strozzapreti are shorter and the strips of dough are rolled up on themselves; their shape looks like shoelaces, once made of tough curled leather.

Someone had to end up choking

The legend says that the anti-clerical rebels used these strings to strangle the walking ecclesiastics, during the Pontifical State domain. An hypothesis that does not seem too remote, if we consider the constant struggle of Perugia against the interference of the Papal States: when we think about episodes like the Salt War of 1540 or the XIX century anti-clericalism resulted in massacres of Perugia, we do understand the lack of love of the population towards the prelates. The latter, indeed, in addition of collecting taxes were notoriously gluttons, always ready to scrounge meals off the poor people.

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Another interpretation says that strozzapreti were so called because the housewives, forced to halve the portions to their beloved ones to serve prelates, whished them to choke with the food they were eating. A variant says that the housewives cursed the priests that wanted the eggs as a tribute, forcing them to make a “poor” dought, only composed of water and flour.
A further interpretation – that confirms the enormous appetite of the curia – is given by the poet Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli, Roman vernacular master:

 

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Nun pòi crede che ppranzo che ccià ffatto  
Quel’accidente de Padron Cammillo.  
Un pranzo, ch’è impossibbile de díllo:  
Ma un pranzo, un pranzo da restacce matto.  
Quello perantro c’ha mmesso er ziggillo  
A ttutto er rimanente de lo ssciatto,  
È stato, guarda a mmé, ttanto de piatto  
De strozzapreti cotti cor zughillo.  
Ma a pproposito cqui de strozzapreti:  
Io nun pozzo capí ppe cche rraggione  
S’abbi da cche strozzino li preti:  
Quanno oggni prete è un sscioto de cristiano  
Da iggnottisse magara in un boccone  
Er zor Pavolo Bbionni sano sano. 

(G.G. Belli, La Scampaggnata) 

 

 

 

Thus it appears that the echo of the hungry stomachs of the prelates had spread up to Rome: their appetite was so huge to overcome even the difficulties that the particular shape of strozzapreti gave to the act of eating them. Other than choking: it takes more than a bowl of strozzapreti to extinguish the appetite of a religious!

A filling dish

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Today, though strozzapreti are produced on an industrial scale, a processing implemented with a bronze die plate makes them rough as homemade ones, allowing the full absorption of seasoning with which they are served. Between the contour of its profile, in fact, the sauces deposite and there remain, giving the palate a pleasant sensation of texture and body, and so are all the flavor of the ancient types of pasta..