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«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.

In 1863 and 1865, Domenico Golini found the world-famous frescoed tombs that were named after him, in Orvieto’s territory, more precisely at Poggio del Roccolo di Settecamini, between Orvieto and Porano. It is a pair of monuments of exceptional artistic and documentary value that form a unicum in the territory they belong to (another painted tomb, which belonged to hescanas family, was discovered in the same area). For obvious reasons of safety and preservation, wall paintings were detached in 1950 and moved to the Orvieto National Archeological Museum where are now displayed in a space that has been designed to replicate the original tombs.

Tomba Golini I. Banchetto infero alla presenza di Ade e Persefone; restituzione grafica (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006, p. 69).

The Golini I tomb

The Golini I tomb, also called “dei Leinie” consists of a single, large quadrangular room with a tuff partition partition dividing it in two which, starting from the bottom wall, arrives at almost half of the sepulchral room. The fresco depicts a scene from a banquet in the underworld celebrating the dead man’s passage to the hereafter, where is welcomed by his ancestors with a feast. Very interesting is how architecture and painting merge using structural parts to separate materially and conceptually the illustrated scenes; the tuff partition, in fact, not only divides the area, but also separates the servile part from the main one; so the picture represents an essential ideological division and the two different stages of the feast: the scene from preparations and the scene from the real banquet.

Tomba Golini I. Servo con pestelli (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006)

The frescoes in the space on the left depict scenes from preparations for the banquet, showing servants and chefs who are preparing dishes and accompanied by an Etruscan flute player; very realistic is the picture of butchered carcasses hanging from hooks nailed to tables, as well as the scene of a slave who butchers meats. Another illustration depicts the other preliminary stages of the meal, as it shows the scene of the slave who is grinding foods, maybe spices, with pestles in a big three-feet bowl; there are also people who are lighting a fire or those who are preparing a long trapeza with tableware.

The frescoes in the space on the right depict the dead man who, on a chariot pulled by horses, with a winged genius (lasa), reaches the hereafter before Hades and Persephone; the underworld couple, seated on a litter, presides over the banquet attended by the ancestors and members of the Leine’s family, whom the tomb belongs to, whereas naked slaves prepare a magnificent tableware in an area lit up by high candelabras. Almost all characters represented in both the areas, as well as animals, are accompanied by inscriptions, a kind of captions aiming to recall the genealogy of the family members, the positions they occupied, but also the different roles played by slaves.

The Golini II tomb

The Golini II tomb or “delle due Bighe” (the tomb of the two chariots) consists of a single rectangular sepulchral chamber where stand out the illustrated scenes, unfortunately very damaged and sometimes illegible. The subject is very similar to that of the above-mentioned burial, the arrival of a pair of dead in the Hades where is taking place a banquet cheered by lituus and trumpet players.

Tomba Golini I. Inserviente che prepara pietanze (da P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006)

The main characters are depicted on the sides of the entrance door; the man on the left arrives on a chariot drawn by two horses, behind him the wall is painted with a procession of six characters going towards two klinai, where there are two couples of banqueters who are identified by inscriptions as members of cnezus family. To the right of the door there is another chariot led by a charioteer, whereas the wall shows three klinai similar to the previous ones; the characters depicted are identified by inscriptions as members of the Vercnas family. The frescoes that adorned the bottom wall are now badly deteriorated, except for few fragments concerning figures of warriors.

A Pictorial School

Both the monuments date back to the second half of the IV Century B.C. and show a consistency of conception that points out the existence of a studio or a local pictorial school which, most likely, stopped working after the destruction of the city in 264 B.C.

In conclusion, it is worth stressing that the above-mentioned tombs not only are a valuable and rare historical and artistic evidence of the Etruscan Volsinii painting in the late classical and Hellenistic age, but also they have an important documentary value due to the photographs of the daily aspects and of the customs that characterized the aristocracy life of the time. They also represent one of the latest signs of the figurative theme of the symposium in the Hereafter where the living and the dead feast together; then the subject of grave painting will be replaced with a new concept of tomb which becomes a three-dimensional representation of the Underworld where all the family members buried there take part in an eternal banquet.

 

More on Orvieto

 

 


-F. Boitani, M. Cataldi, M. Pasquinucci, Le città etrusche, Milano 1973.
-M. Cristofani, Etruschi. Cultura e società, Novara 1978.
-M. Cristofani, Dizionario della civiltà etrusca, Firenze 1985.
-P. Bruschetti, Gli Etruschi a Orvieto. Collezioni e territorio, Città di Castello 2006.
-Camporeale, Gli Etruschi. Storia e civiltà, Torino 2000.
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-M. Torelli, Storia degli Etruschi, Bari 1981.
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-M. Torelli (ed.), Gli Etruschi, Milano 2000.