In Vino… Venea it’s a 25-acre winery on the hilly backcountry around Fossacesia (Chieti). The name recalls a former Roman temple dedicated to Venus Conciliatrix (“the peace maker”), on whose ruins the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere was built in the IX century A.D.… Italian Flavors :: In Vino… Venea
One of the most relevant projects regarding tourism on two wheels is the Ciclovia Adriatica or Corridoio Verde Adriatico (Adriatic Bike Route), a 1,300 km bike track from Trieste to Santa Maria di Leuca. Some sections are alredy being used by cyclists, especially the ones in coast towns, and longer segments will – hopefully – be achieved in the near future on the Trabocchi coast, from Ortona to San Salvo.
For the time being, let’s enjoy some scenic ride from the main road and from some detours like the Riserva di Punta Aderci. From June to September, don’t miss the chance to stop by a trabocco and have a fish lunch on this peculiar stilt house facing the sea. Lock your bike and relax. The landscape and the food are worth the journey…
“La grande macchina pescatoria composta di tronchi intrecciati, di assi e di gomene biancheggiava simile allo scheletro colossale di un anfibio antidiluviano…. pareva vivere di una vita propria avere un’aria e un’effigie di corpo animato.” ~Gabriele D’Annunzio, Trionfo della morte
“The large fishing device, made of intertwined trunks, planks and hawsers, gleamed as a huge white skeleton of an antediluvian amphibious being… it looked as if it had a life of its own, a feeling and a shape of a living being.” Gabriele D’Annunzio, Trionfo della Morte
To put it bluntly, I don’t like cakes, sweets, pastries and so forth. If I needed a treat, I’d rather go for a slice of pizza, some “pane bruschettato” or some focaccia. But. (There’s always a “but” in a categorical statement as the one above). I didn’t like sweets much until someone (may he be blessed a thousand times) introduced me to a pastry tart called bocconotto.… #PastryNotes :: “Bocconotti di Castelfrentano” A bit of Heaven
We all complain about the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are all looking for some quiet places where we can spend some days off. … Off the Beaten Tracks… (but on the right way to happiness) :: Maufiki B&B
In these days the Adriatic coast around Pescara is flooded with 2000+ participants to the IronMan Italy 70.3. Someone who, in a reasonable time, can swim about 2k, bike for 90k and run 21k can be regarded as an “iron” man (or woman). But someone who handles iron as if it were modeling clay and is able to create a piece of art from some scrap iron, he well deserves the name of “Iron Man”, too.
I met Filippo Scioli in his workshop in Guardiagrele, (Chieti, Italy), a mid-sized village nesting at the foot of the Maiella massif. Filippo is 72 and, when I asked him to describe himself, he just said “I am a blacksmith”. However, it is quite an understatement, since from Filippo’s anvil and hammer unique masterpieces come out. His father was a farrier and his grandfather’s job was farming tool maker. His main feature is that his artistic works (be it a dog, a rose or an andiron) do not need soldering because he just need one single piece of iron to accomplish his idea. He just need to hold some scrap iron in his hands and he knows exactly what he can obtain from it.
He likes to say that he is a “cittadino della Terra” (citizen of the Earth) because he does not like labels or definitions. “We’re all citizens of the Earth”, he says. And that is enough for him.
His works can be admired in Texas, Canada, Czech Republic and many other places, his presence is required at the most important arts and crafts fairs and Filippo rarely says no.
Just like the real great artists, he is not jealous of his skills, he willingly teaches everyone who is interested how to forge iron.
His workshop frequently hosts classes of students of every age, but Filippo’s eyes sparkle when he tells me about the disabled students that, on regular basis, visit his shop. “I don’t care if they don’t hit the iron, I am happy to teach them the things I can do.”
Filippo is like a river in full spate. While we talk, he is busy forging a rose with his hammer. I immediately realize that there is no noise inside the shop, but sound. And indeed, the hammer falling on the anvil creates a rhythm that Filippo composes every time he forges a new item. He says “iron talks, the hammer sings”.
You might think that this man in his Seventies is a laid-back guy. Not in the least. He radiates energy and stamina in every single move, his favorite music is country music – two cd players work at full blast in the shop and his favorite singer is Johnny Cash. This larger-than-life blacksmith is a man of parts. Besides being a talented craftsman, a big-hearted man, a great entertainer, he’s a poet, too. When the rose is finished, before we say “arrivederci”, he says these words.
“Come vedete, questa rosa non ha spine. Questa rosa non appassisce, non muore mai. Potremmo dire che è una rosa perfetta. Ma ahimè, al mondo niente è perfetto, anche questa ha il suo difetto. Il difetto che ha è che non profuma. Comunque, io c’ho messo il mio cuore di artigiano per farla. Chi la compra ci metterà il suo profumo.”
“As you can see, this rose has no thorns. This rose does not wither, it never dies. We can say that it is a perfect rose. But, alas, in this world nothing is perfect, this rose has its flaw. It has no smell. Anyway, I made it with all my craftsman’s heart. Whoever buys it, they will choose its fragrance.”
Next time you see some scrap iron, try to look at it with Filippo’s eyes. It may conceal a rose. And a fragrance, too.
Contact: Maestro Filippo Scioli
Mobile: +39 335 6073140
Telephone: +39 0871 86349
Workshop: Via Occidentale, 21 – 66016 Guardiagrele (Chieti)
When we are kids, we are used to have the same food and beverages. We are creatures of habit and we don’t like exploring new ingredients. We just stick to what we like – usually three or four dishes – and that’s it. Then, we grow up, we try new food and those flavours, tastes and smells disappear.
Last year I was at Fritto Misto All’Italiana, an annual food show focused on fried food. Regional recipes with fried ingredients are offered at stands, and even though fried food is a sort of bugbear for high-cholesterol-level people (i.e. almost everybody), visitors wolf down every single piece of food, showing no regret at all. While I was strolling around the stands, I got close the beverage stand and I saw it. Perhaps I haven’t seen it for forty years.
I felt as if a time machine took me back when I was six and I was sipping my favourite soft drink with my cousins and my uncle. I believe that was the same feeling Marcel Proust experienced with his madeleine.
My madeleine is the spuma, whose taste is hard to explain, since it is not an orange juice, it is not a coke. Nor any other popular drinks that kids usually have these days. The best thing is to try it out. As for me, when I opened the bottle, the gas hissing out of the crown cap was like music for my years and the taste on my mouth was the taste of happiness. The taste that just a comfort food can give. I raised the glass and had a toast to my uncle. He used to spoil us, and needless to say, we deeply loved him. One of his treat was to take us to the local “osteria” and he would ask for a glass of wine for him and a small bottle of spuma for us kids. He is no longer with us, but every time I drink a glass of spuma, I know he’s right beside me. Cheers to my uncle, wherever is now!
This post originally appeared in Italian on Verba Volant Il sapore della felicità (ovvero: Na onbreta par mì e na spuma pa’ i boce)