The church bells of Poppi rang with celebration calling the faithful to Christmas Eve mass, while the bells of all the other hamlets and castles built on the bare mountaintops of the Casentino responded to the invitation. The clanging rose all the way to the hermitage at Camaldoli and the peak of La Verna, and it was so loud it seemed to come from every direction.
In a house in the tiny village of Farneta, on the road to Camaldoli, the Marcucci family was gathered in the kitchen under the low, broad hood of the fireplace that extended almost halfway into the room. A heavy beech log crackled and sizzled on the hearth which was truly enormous. How else could it have held such a great number of souls?
Translated by Lori Eileen Hetherington in her book entitled, Tuscan Tales: The Fantastic Fables of Emma Perodi, December 29, 2020.
The above are the opening lines to Emma Perodi’s short story entitled “King Solomon’s Scepter and the Queen of Sheba’s Crown” found in her book Grandma’s Stories (1893).
From a small farm among the sacred forests of Dantean and Franciscan memory in the Casentinesi Forests National Park to the Ferramonti di Tarsia Concentration Camp, as well as from all the Literary Parks we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a peaceful Hanukkah (Dec. 18 - 26) and a wonderful 2023.
In 2022 we shared important anniversaries. The two hundredth anniversary of the Italian State Forestry Corps, the centenary of the establishment of the Abruzzo National Park (later Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise), and the centenary of the promulgation of the first "Landscape Law” presented by Benedetto Croce. An organic legislation aimed at the recognizing, and protecting the landscape that from Petrarch to Pasolini evokes a state of mind and understanding of the territory, evidence of the evolution of the interaction between man and the environment, and identification of local sensitivities.
Reading, knowing and recognizing the Environment that surrounds us is at the heart of the 33 Literary Parks dedicated to well-known authors in Italy and throughout Europe, a fundamental engine for guarding the territory from abandonment in the name of that “infinity of nameless men” who over the centuries have contributed to creating a unique cultural wealth to be defended (Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Form of a City, 1974).
We remembered it at the University for Foreigners of Perugia on the occasion of the inauguration of the Center for Literary Tourism, in Comiso, located in southeastern Sicily, during the establishment of the Gesualdo Bufalino Literary Park, at Villa Reale in Monza for the Peace Concert dedicated to Aurelia Josz, at Palazzo Altemps, the National Roman Museum, during the conference on Sigrid Undset and her contemporary Grazia Deledda and their Literary Parks of Lillehammer in Norway and Galtellì in Sardinia, as well as in the over 300 events that have accompanied us throughout 2022.
We will be repeating this as early as the first months of the next year, which marks the 150th anniversary of Alessandro Manzoni’s death, as well as from the places of Virgil's Georgics and Bucolics to Florida Atlanfic University classrooms as we continue to invite students of Italian descent, but not only, to retrace the paths and words of their ancestors with pride and who neither want to forget the places of their origins nor their interpreters.
Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights, which commemorates both the 164 BCE rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and the reestablishment of religious freedom for the Jewish people , highlights women. The lighting of the Hanukkah lamp is lit at the Literary Park created in the Ferramonti di Tarsia Concentration Camp in order not to forget those who, stateless, were imprisoned there, but also those who born there and return annually every 27 January to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The most advanced social advocacy is the cultural one and the awareness of a united community transcends borders in the rediscovery of its tangible and intangible heritage, history and traditions; it is fundamental for the personal growth of the people who inhabit a place and those who are linked to it historically. Together they help create the cultural base of today and tomorrow.
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Special thanks to Amy K. Rosenthal for translations