Agnone is a small historic town in Alto Molise. We get to know the locals who participate so much in our immersion learning, but we took time this summer to see some other towns and villages where no one speaks English!
Edoardo Lalli in Pescopennataro, known for its stonemasons and sculptors, showed us his work and demonstrated his craft. The Parco di Pinocchio, on a hillside overlooking Abruzzo, is home to a series of sculptures telling the fable of Pinocchio.
Edoardo’s were definitely our favourites – simple, clean lines – and articulate.
Edoardo showing us his work: Pinocchio in prigione (in prison).
Edoardo uses tools handed down by his grandfather, who travelled the world working on some of the great cathedrals with other Italian craftsmen.
In Vastogirardi, higher in the Apennines, the courtyard of the castle is made up of independent houses and a church. We came upon Lorenzo fixing his car and before long other locals come out to join in the conversation.
They regaled us with stories of their winter – snowed in for 5 days with little to do but play cards! Someone ran to get the key to the church and one of the restored castle apartments. It was a glance into a forgotten world. Maria took a shine to Helen and we had to finally pry her away!
Vastogirardi fills to capacity for the annual Volo dell’ Angelo – when a 6 year old girl ‘flies’ from one side of the square to the church reciting prayers dressed as an angel!
The international Festa delle Zampogne is in Scapoli. Some of the oldest bagpipes in the world come from Molise – we saw the museum, caught some of the musicians and saw workshops of the master bagpipe makers – another craft handed from father to son.
They process to honour Sant’Anna, the patron of Pescolanciano who protects them from earthquakes. Carrying huge bales on their heads – you don’t not have to be religious to find it an incredibly moving spectacle – they are serious and dignified.
The traditions of these mountain people go very deep but they are dying out slowly. We very much hope that by bringing guests to this hidden part of Italy, we can help, in a very small way, to keep these Italian traditions alive.
by Jenifer@ liveandlearnitalian.com