Preserving Cultural Heritage for All

Tradition flows through Irpinia like the waters of the Ufita or the Ofanto— it is just as much a part of the area’s history  as its own natural landscape. For Valentina Taccone and Nunzio Gaeta, preserving that cultural heritage in a way to reach modern audiences has become a passion. Their latest project, Etn.ia, plays on the word “ethnicity,” bringing people to a fuller understanding of what it means to be from Irpinia and how the region’s traditions can, and should be preserved for everyone, with the ultimate goal of encouraging the area’s young people to stay as well as to encourage tourism. In this week’s post, Valentina Taccone shares the vision for Etn.ia. Continue reading

Advertisements

On the Trail of the Lombards

grottaOne of the Irpinian towns I know quite well is Grottaminarda, as I stayed there several times while visiting when lodging was unavailable in Guardia. Grottaminarda is a beautiful city in the area surrounding the Ufita River– it’s also the access point from the autostrada to most of the Irpinian towns, including Guardia Lombardi, that are closest to my heart.

I follow the Facebook page for the Comune di Grottaminarda on Facebook and was happily surprised recently when I saw that the town recently put its guide, “Grottaminarda within Longobard ways across Europe” on its website. As the Lombard tribe is the tribe from where my ancestral town of Guardia Lombardi derives its name (it means “lookout of the Lombards”) and my own last name, “Longo,” directly comes from the tribe’s name, I knew I had to take a look. The Lombards did settle in Irpinia and several towns, such as Guardia Lombardi, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, and Torella dei Lombardi, recognize their influence in their names. Continue reading

Two Easter Traditions from Irpinia

17880310_10100695021079288_159852403336886501_o

A slice of my mother’s amazing Pizza Chiena or Italian Easter Pizza.

Easter is tomorrow and while this year is not a traditional one in my household due to several unforeseen circumstances, that doesn’t mean I don’t get to write about two Easter culinary traditions that come directly from Irpinia.

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has made Pizza Chiena (filled pizza), also known as Pizza Rustica or Italian Easter Pizza. The recipe for this amazing concoction was passed down through her family, with my Nonno Joe teaching her how to make it. She swears the secret for the crust is using butter-flavored Crisco!

Continue reading

A Holy Week Tradition in Vallata

processione75

On April 18 and 19 in the town of Vallata (AV), a Holy Week tradition will take place as it has done for nearly 500 years.

The Via Crucis, or Holy Procession, representing the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, is a popular commemoration of that fateful event throughout all of Southern Italy; however, the Good Friday procession that takes place in Vallata is considered one of the most evocative and most representative of what really happened.

Continue reading