“I also ask myself what remains of the Abruzzo farmer, and I have to say, well, everything; and my pride in my roots catches me out when I least expect it.
Among the positive things about my background in Abruzzo are also Christian compassion (down our way a man is still called “nu’ Cristiiane”), the gift of humour, simplicity, honesty in friendships; and consequently that habit of stopping at the first impression, and not changing my mind about people, accepting them as they are, recognising their defects as my own, seeing my defects in them. Our sense of hospitality, maybe the result of the isolated shape of our land, almost an island (Boccaccio’s Decameron mentions Abruzzo just once, as a remote region: “He is further away than Abruzzo”); an island squashed between a quintessential sea, the Adriatic, and two mountains which cannot be ignored, monumental and free: Gran Sasso and the Maiella.
We have to be taken as we are, people from the borders (of which state or nation? Or, perhaps, which time?) with a single moral value: work. Work well done.
And with our Madonnas dressed in mourning and the seven daggers of the seven sorrows piercing her heart. I know a little about my Abruzzo, the little I carry in my blood.
At heart we are still with my family, simple farmers bringing corn, potatoes and beans to market!!”