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Christmas is celebrated in the various part of the world in different ways. In the German-speaking countries the Christmas tree is set up and the four Advent candles are lit.
In the Scandinavian countries, where the night is very long, behind each window, candles are placed, as their lights reflecti on the snow and make the night less dark. London, Paris and New York show off more and more beautiful Christmas lights. In Rome too all the traditions are respected with the monumental Christmas tree and the representation of the nativity in St.
In Umbria, the tradition of the cri bis dominant. In Massa Martanacribs are made with all kinds of material, including ice. They come from all the regions of Italy and they are of variouskind: traditional and very modern, classic and abstract. The town of Massa Martana is an evocative setting for the nativity scenes: every alley and every square celebrates the Christmas time.
In the small town of Marcellano, the ancient eastest possession of Todi that still retains the eagle tuderte, is staged every year a picturesque living nativity scene.
It i san event which attracts a growing public. The village dates back to the early s, and built inside the castle. For the past thirty years Marcellano has staged the living nativity scene, an event that attracts a growing public.
The initiatve involves all the inhabitants of Marcellano who, inside the castle, recreate scenes of daylife as they probably were at the time of Jesus. Eventually, when night falls, commercial activities stop and on the church square the sacred representation begins.
It starts with the Annunciation.
Tourists are pressed in front of the church, then the action moves towards the valley, in the cave where there are the main characters: Maria, Giuseppe and Baby Jesus. Tourists are still in the village when the comet star appears, croaking down a line to the cave and leading the way to the Magi Kings.
The Magi Kings go to pay homage to Jesus and to bring their precious gifts, on horseback. Only now tourists can move and get off.
These music is both religious and popular and have been handed down over the centuries almost unaltered. Hearing them, it is possible to experience the traditions of the shepherds, the images of cribs and the music of the pipers. A pleasant experience that professor Paoli makes live again thanks to the concert which is held every year during the Christmas feast days, in the plateau of Gualdo Cattaneo.
a kilo and a half of bread dough, forming a mixture to divide into three parts like separate loaves. On these you can practice a deep cross cut. When the mixture is leavened, you have to cook it in the brick oven». This type of food due to its ingredients is extremely energetic and corroborating, so that it was choosen as as the perfect snack for those who, during the cold November days, struggled along the grassy ridges because of the olive harvest.
In fact, the small size of the damaged breadpan was perfect for having something to eat without weighing down.
Although there are several versions, both sweet and savory, the original recipe is the the one from Todi, which benefits not only from the softness of lard, but also from the sweet-savory contrast of raisins combined with pecorino. It seems that this preparation had already been codified in a treaty of the sixteenth, but similar preparations were already widespread in the classical world.
The patriarch of Jerusalem Sofrone, during the sixth century, talks about a type of cheese bread for children, not to mention the innumerable preparations spreaded in the ancient Rome and then refined over the following centuries. A delight that spreaded from Todi throughout the Umbria. The torta al testotypical product from Umbria, has arrived in Tokyo and it is bound to become an innovative haute cuisine dish. This is thanks to the chef Narisawa who spent in Europe a period of time to know the best of Italian, French and German cuisine.
He tasted, appreciated, learned and brought back to his country many different European specialities, which he transformed according to his inspiration in order to satisfy all the senses. He introduced a refined product in his minimalist restaurant in Tokyo, which combines ancient and modern traditions: the Bread of the Forest. This bread is made with wheat flour, chestnut powder and a Japanese chestnut compote. The chestnuts are collected in a virgin forest without pollutantswhere flavors and aromas are expressed to their maximum.
A novelty in Japan.
In the past, the chestnut tree was called the Tree of Breadbecause from its fruits, it was obtained a nutritious and cheap flour. This happened when wheat flour was expensive and reserved for wealthy people, while chestnut flour, was left for the poor working class. Now the situation is opposite: the chestnut flour is expensive, seasonal and chic. Narisawa made the Bread of the Forest something special to taste. Two forms of raw pasta are brought to the table. Add a dose of natural yeast and mix with fingers.
All in front of the customers. Customers observe the miracle of the floury growth. In a few minutes the future bread reaches the expected leavened, then it has to be cooked. On the table, of course. The dough, already leavened, is spread out like a pizza and placed on a large stone wheel called testo.
The testo is positioned inside the fireplace in front of the fire. On the top of the dough an iron cover is placed and the embers are glowing over it. The torta al testo cooks under and over, while the fireplace fire warms up.
Then the torta al testo is ready. Cut it and bring it to the table with cured meats and cheeses. Here, the Umbrian ritual of the torta al testo starts: it involves opening the slices of cake with your handsstuffing it with the cured meats and eating it with your hands. 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». 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». 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.
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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. 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. In the stories I write, I always put a part of myself. 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. What always is present in my work is the need to communicate a concept and a basic thought.
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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. 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. The first thing that comes to your mind thinking of this region…. When Autumn comes, it is time to harvest and to collect olives.
Once, in our countryside after the harvest, the rents had to be paid, and if the harvest was scarce, the farmers had to move. The colors are so special during this period: the hills that surround the town of Montefalco are cultivated with the Sagrantino wine variety, a multi-awarded DOCG red wine. The beauty of Sagrantino explodes in the colors of its vineyard : at a distance, they seem to be mainly red; but if we go closer, we can note that the leaves have taken the whole palette of autumn colors, ranging from yellow to red, passing through the burgundy, and with shades of dark green.
The Canadian maples have become a worldwide attraction for the magnificence of their autumn leaves: the vineyard of Sagrantino is no less beautiful, but at the moment it is little known.
Compared to the others vine varieties, the leaves of the Sagrantino do not take on the sad and crumpled aspect of the vineyard that are bound to die, but they widen and seem to acquire a still summer vitality.