Collezingaro My Love

By Domenico Cianci

Maybe, once upon a time, tired of wandering, a gypsy settled permanently between these hills. Or maybe not, gypsies with origins in these parts have nothing to do with it. Certainly, I know that the present day inhabitants of this place are anything but wanderers, what’s more they move about ever less and less, and if the good Remo (may God always protect him) were to build himself that Post Office as promised so many times, the “Massaruoli[1]” at Torricella wouldn’t ever see him again.

Agricultural town continually undergoing transformation and growth, Collezingaro has now become Torricella’s largest district. The remaining youngsters have built their “little houses” (casette) on their fathers’ lands, most of them work for Sevel, but amongst them there are some good, honest craftsmen; amongst them I would like to mention the Antrillis and the Piccirillis for fixtures, the Di Fabrizios, the Di Luzios and the Del Ducas for building. But Collezingaro is not only the largest of the districts on Torricellan land, it is also the most rebellious and ambitious. Politics, the only wind still able to shake the souls of Torricella’s people, has repeatedly damaged the equilibrium of relationships and friendships which inevitably are numerous on either side.

Thus in a not very distant past, Collezingaro was actually split into two factions, but with the events that then followed and thanks to the historic compromise between the DC[2] and the PSI[3], (considering that in these parts the wind of great change was blowing much sooner than in the east), the district united under the banner of M. Piccirilli, well known Mayor in this neighbourhood. Boredom and the bad centuries of abandonment of these high lands at Collezingaro have been overcome. The suburb is active and appears to be ever more alive in the many events within its boundaries.

Work, sport, relaxation and even the threat of a religious schism, have filled this summer at Collezingaro. For the moment only culture is lacking, but soon, now they’re saying, they too will have their summer and without even dragging in Bellini. Last, (but not in importance) a sign of the changes taking place in these parts, comes from the Restaurant “La Grondaia”  the real flower in the buttonhole of the suburb. The Bar-Restaurant has given to Collezingaro that movement and that night life that turn four houses into a village, creating that point of reference where people can meet. The proprietor, a certain Camillo, was already a personality even before becoming an excellent chef. Slow and sleepy in appearance, but alert and professional in substance, he really is not a “Massaruolo”, and has been able to integrate himself perfectly into the local reality, thus acquiring straight away the sympathy of the residents. His great experience in the field and the correctness of his prices did the rest, so that today “La Grondaia” is visited by ever more people, coming from all over Abruzzo and elsewhere. Speciality of the house!!? First of all Camillo makes you feel at home, because although the locale is small it is never “full up”, like some none too honest managers would say when faced with a large number of requests, then it is by choice, and remember that the restaurant’s menu is based on fish. Yes, fish, until yesterday an exclusive privilege only for the nobility and Torricellan businessmen; today, thanks to Camillo, it is within everyone’s reach. The fish is there, ready to be eaten, without the need to undertake long and tiring journeys to Francofila (Francovilla?) or Vasto; and after dinner there is even the pavement that leads upwards to the silent Fountain of S. Agata, and there, in the dark, together with the crickets, you can live your evening, filling it with high notes, even in a loud voice, until you have digested the good meal you have just eaten. Then tomorrow will be another day, and maybe there will even be another beautiful evening spent in the country together with Camillo.
Translator's notes:

[1] “Massaruolo”
a townsperson's nickname for a person living in the countryside, (similar to “a country bumpkin”) - which name is used in a superior way and tends to give offence – and the bumpkins get angry!

[2] DC – Democrazia Cristiana – former political party = Christian Democrats – The party was in part a revival of the Italian People’s Party (Partito Popolare Italiano) created in 1919 by the priest Don Luigi Sturzo but declared illegal by the Fascists in 1925. In the latter years of World War II, the Christian Democrats started organising post-Fascist Italy at first in competition with and then in coalition with the parties of the centre and left. Breaking decisively with its former Communist coalition partners in May 1947, the party went on to win its greatest election victory in April 1948 with the support of both the Church and the United States.
From 1948 until 1992, the DC was the largest party in parliament, governing in successive coalitions with the smaller Liberal, Republican and Social Democratic parties and, after 1963, with the Socialist Party. Basing its electoral majority largely on the Catholic countryside, the party moved over time from its reformist origins to a more conservative role. In the 60’s, increased political influence of left wing factions, led by Amintore Fanfani, moved the party to a centre-left strategy based on a coalition with the Socialist Party.
Party life came to be characterised according to adherence to respective factions, each identified with individual leaders. Among the leaders who built the DC, notable names include those of Alcide De Gasperi, Antonio Segni, Amintore Fanfani, Giulio Andreotti, Aldo Moro and Francesco Cossiga. Many DC members were attacked in the 1970’s, and in some cases murdered, by terrorists (i.e., Red Brigades). The abduction and murder of Aldo Moro in 1978 removed one of the party's most highly-regarded leaders.
Having ruled the nation for over 40 years, many DC members in time have been involved in smaller or greater scandals. In the 1960’s a deputy was indirectly involved in the so-called Montesi scandal (a girl killed after a drug party), and the same chief of the state Giovanni Leone was forced to resign after the scandal of Lockheed aeroplanes. The P2 scandal caused the premier Arnaldo Forlani to resign because he had delayed the publication of the list of adherents. The minister of Public Health Carlo Donat-Cattin was supposedly helped by the minister of Internal Affairs, Francesco Cossiga, to let his son Marco escape from police while wanted as a terrorist (Prima Linea). But the party came under unprecedented attack in 1992 when a team of Milan magistrates, dubbed the "clean hands" (mani pulite), started investigating corruption at its highest levels, instigating many spectacular and sometimes controversial arrests and resignations. After two years of mounting scandal and secessions, the party disbanded in 1994.

[3] PSI – Partita Socialist Italiana – former political party = Italian Socialist Party - the old Italian Socialist Party was disbanded after an impressive series of corruption scandals in the early 1990’s – it has been replaced by the New PSI (Partito Socialista – Nuovo PSI) which is a small party professing a socialist ideology.

© Amici di Torricella             Year 3 No 12 December 1991 page 12

Translation courtesy of Dr. Marion Apley Porreca

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