Tag Archives: history

Twilight over Scanno, Abruzzo – 1928 by Estella Canziani

Twilight Scanno Abruzzi

Leave a comment

Jul 26, 2014 · 11:59 am

the old macaroni factory…

Macaroni factoryThe Lucini macaroni factory (circa 1859) is said to be the oldest building in Australia built by Italian-Australians. There are 150-year-old frescoes inside that unfortunately remained hidden as it was closed the day we came by. Sitting in the main street of Hepburn Springs in Victoria, the building was also the location for Jan Sardi’s film, Love’s Brother, about two Italian brothers in Australia and a proxy marriage to a girl in Italy.
Macaroni factory 2

2 Comments

Filed under australia

Homemade arancini with ragù alla Bolognese…

homemade aranciniIt is claimed that arancini originated in Sicily as far back as the 10th century. The balls of rice with various fillings are shaped, crumbed and fried, resembling an orange – the Italian for orange being arancia. (Rice cooked the day before and cooled in the fridge works best.) In Messina, they can be more cone shaped, while in Naples they are pall’e riso (rice balls) apparently. I think ours (made 11 centuries later in Australia!) ended up being influenced a little by both cities.

3 Comments

Filed under australia, italy, kitchen stories

il Corno in Caserta…

il corno in Caserta…this 13-metre high sculpture of the ancient amulet,
il Corno (to protect against the evil eye)
appeared in the middle of one night to gain attention regarding
the deterioration of the world heritage listed Palazzo Reale in Caserta,
and has since been creating some heated debate.

2 Comments

Filed under italy

Togetherness and separateness within la famiglia…

…this family from le Marche were photographed by Mario Giacomelli during time he spent with them between 1964 and 1966 for his series, la buona terra – the good earth, in which his aim was to capture the story of work, of life, throughout the revolving seasons, and endlessly repeated throughout a lifetime.

la buona terra

Related article: Priests dancing in the snow

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

‘alla fontana’ ~ to the fountain…

Civita d'Antino AbruzzoThe woman in the foreground carries two conche, the copper vessels traditionally used in Abruzzo to collect water from the village fountain for the household. Perhaps she was teaching the young girl to carry it back on her head (depicted by the women in the background). The village women used to do so to transport all manner of heavy things with evidence of this including iron bedheads and, on occasion in very steep areas, even coffins.

The artwork pictured here was painted in Civita d’Antino in Abruzzo by Danish painter, Kristian Zahrtmann (1843-1917) who first travelled to the mountain town of Civita d’Antino in June 1883. Zahrtmann came to consider it his second home as he was fascinated by “the life there, the strong Italian sun, the brightness of colours, and the exoticness of Catholic Church rites”.

He spent every summer from 1890 to 1911 in Civita d’Antino where he stayed with the Cerroni family, and was named an honorary citizen of the town in 1902. In Civita d’Antino, a memorial plaque to Zahrtmann is set into the wall of the Cerroni house near the town gate.

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

the art of birds…

“Birds don’t only use their beaks to build: they press their breasts against the inner wall to make it round, imprinting their shape on their home, an interior formed by the steady rhythm of their beating hearts.”

Janine Burke
from Nest: The Art of Birds

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

Castrovillari, Calabria…

I first learnt of this town when reading Old Calabria by Norman Douglas (published 1915), and on the map it looked a good halfway point to stay between Palmi and Pompeii. This part of the old town reminded me of some of the lanes in Fossa, (not so the 40 degree heat at the time) and even though it appears not to have changed much over the years, the town was quite different to the one Douglas had encountered about a century before when brigands were still imprisoned in the castle.

1 Comment

Filed under books + writing, italy

Litografia di Maurits Cornelis Escher…

Goriano Sicoli, Abruzzi, 1929, by M.C. Escher (1898-1972), a Dutch graphic artist known for his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints.

After finishing school, he traveled extensively in Italy, where he met his wife Jetta Umiker. They lived in Rome from 1924 until 1935, during which time Escher travelled throughout Italy, drawing and sketching for the various prints he would make when he returned home.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

a beautiful place to sit and read, or lie and daydream…

Painted by Estella Canziani (1887-1964) who wrote {as well as drew and painted the illustrations for} one of my favourite books on the Abruzzo about her 1913 travels – Through the Apennines & Lands of Abruzzi.

She painted this picture {oil on paper} from inside her house in London at 3 Palace Green in 1922. The white bird in the painting one of the many birds she rescued and cared for.

3 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing, inspiration

the stillness of time…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy

Neve in Roccacaramanico…

I grew up with stories of villages in the Abruzzo being snowed in, sometimes the snow so high people couldn’t open the doors and had to climb out their windows. Hearing this in the heat of a subtropical summer in Australia, I could only try to imagine….


{Neve in Roccacaramanico. Photographer: Andrea Basciano.}  

5 Comments

Filed under inspiration, italy

the copper chocolate pot…

Among the Spanish paintings of royalty, religion, death and destruction at the Masterpieces from the Prado exhibition is a small portrait of a copper chocolate pot with its wooden whisk, pieces of cacao, bread, and biscuits shaped like churros.

Still life with chocolate service {Bodegón: servicio de chocolate}, 1770 was painted by Luis Meléndez {1715-1780} who was born in Naples and died in Madrid, a pauper, his paintings unappreciated, and owning only his pencils.

242 years later, among all the other talented artworks, it was his that stopped me still the longest.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, kitchen stories

Writing and witches…

Perhaps because my great-grandmother Maddalena was known as the village witch, there is something that appeals immensely about Italy’s most prestigious national literary prize, the Premio Strega being named ‘the witch prize’. In 1944 , Maria and Goffredo Bellonci began hosting at their house in Rome, Sunday gatherings of writers and artists that became known as the Amici della Domenica, or Sunday Friends. This resulted in 1947 the Belloncis, together with Guido Alberti, owner of the Strega liqueur business, inaugurating a prize for fiction, the winner being chosen by the Sunday friends.

Winners include Italian writers such as Umberto Eco in 1981 for Il nome della rosa – In the Name of the Rose and Giuseppe di Lampedusa posthumously in 1959 for Il gattopardo – The Leopard.

Liquore Strega has been distilled since 1860 in the town of Benevento, located roughly between Rome and Naples, the place where witches from all over the world gathered (and still do at a certain time of year). There is an old legend, still very much alive, this drink was a love potion witches created to forever unite couples who drank it. Strega liqueur continues to be tied to the sorcery of its origins. Some modern covens use the liqueur in their rites, burning it in bowls for various purposes.

Leave a comment

Filed under books + writing, italy

Estella Canziani bookplate…

Bookplate: Estella Canziani {1887-1964} artist, writer and folklorist, London {by Frank Brangwyn}, c1919, woodcut, 10.2x9cm.

 

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

To the beach!

To the beach! ~ Gina Lollobrigida

Photographer ~ Gina Lollobrigida {from her book Italia Mia, which my father purchased in the early 70s}.

1 Comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

A lovely way to spend an hour or two….

“If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need.” 

~ translated from Cicero’s Latin quote.

{The Artist’s Wife in the Garden at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1893}

Related articles: A lovely spot for lunch…  (zoeboccabella.com)

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, books + writing

Roasted chestnuts….

Autumn means chestnuts, castagne and I always think of my Italian grandfather, Nonno Anni whenever we roast them. In the Abruzzo in the 1930s, Nonno Anni harvested chestnuts beneath Gran Sasso, later taking them to turn to flour at the stone mill with the wooden water wheel on the canal below his village of Fossa.

2 Comments

Filed under australia, italy, kitchen stories

Life in the Abruzzo in 1913…

Maria with cooking pots”, painted by Estella Canziani in Mascione, Abruzzi, 1913. Part of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery collection and printed in Canziani’s book, Through the Apennines and the Lands of Abruzzi.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

3 year anniversary of Abruzzo earthquake…

On April 6th it is 3 years since the earthquake hit the Abruzzo around L’Aquila in 2009 and most residents are still in temporary housing. This photograph shows residents also in temporary timber housing or barracks, taken in L’Aquila after the area’s previous major earthquake in 1915 killed more than 30,000 {epicentre Avezzano}. The humour of the man on the roof bending looking through his legs is heartening considering the recent trauma they must have experienced.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Freshly baked bread…

For many centuries, baking in most Italian villages took place mostly once a week or even a fortnight. Both my grandparents told me how they recalled the women of the village taking their dough to the forno (often the only oven in the entire village), and that each piece of dough had an identifying mark on it for when the women came back to collect their baked bread.

In Palmi, Calabria my great, great grandmother and bisnonna baked for their area in a large, wood-fired oven or forno in a room beneath their house.

While I’d heard these stories and have been to the village forno I had never seen any pictures so I was thrilled when photographer, Carla Coulson recently sent me this Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph. It was taken in 1953 in the Abruzzese town of Scanno as women were carrying their dough to the forno for baking.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Dancing in the snow…

This picture of young priests
dancing in the snow
was taken at a seminary in le Marche
in the early 1960s by Italian photographer,
Mario Giacomelli (1925-2000).

Initially they reminded me a little
of whirling dervishes but it is not any
type of ritual, merely an innocent time of
relaxation. The seminarians were
playing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’,
unaware of being captured by
Giacomelli’s lens as he hid up in a roof.

Later, he gave them cigars,
which the young priests enjoyed
but the rector wasn’t too pleased.

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Michetti’s Abruzzese shepherdess…

Francesco Paolo Michetti - Shepherdess Carrying a Bunch of GrapesBorn in 1851 in Tocco da Casauria of Pescara province, Francesco Paolo Michetti was an Abruzzese artist who aspired to paint ‘real life’ capturing people, animals, and local events. The Abruzzo was his inspiration and in 1883 he purchased a convent there as his home and studio. For the next 20 years, the convent was a meeting place for Abruzzo’s artists including writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Time moves slowly in the Abruzzo and fortunately some landscapes such as in this painting remain.

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy

Pasta drying in Naples, 1897…

Leave a comment

Filed under art + photographs, italy, kitchen stories

Cherry wood and Estella…

Piedmontese peasant wood-pipe carved from cherry wood that writer, artist and folklorist, Estella Canziani presented to The Folklore Society of London in 1911. She donated it along with other items from her travels in northern Italy when she wrote and illustrated her first  book, Costumes, Traditions and Songs of Savoy (before she ventured to the Abruzzo in 1913 to pen Through the Apennines and Lands of Abruzzi).

I saw a similar pipe sitting on a stall table at the antique market in Arezzo and am still regetting not having bought it…

2 Comments

Filed under art + photographs, inspiration, italy