Never send money home!!

Le Marche region is one of the most beautiful and less well known regions of Italy. It lies to the south of Venice and is bordered to the east by the Adriatic Sea. Technically it is Central Italy, but in terms of landscape it has more in common with neighbouring Tuscany and Emilia Romagna than the south. The countryside is green and lush, fields, woodland and hills create a patchwork of colours. On almost every hill top there is a fortress town, often with vast medieval walls and watch towers still standing guard over the surrounding area. One of the finest examples of a hill top town is Corinaldo. The walls still encircle the historic centre and entry is through one of half a dozen imposing medieval gates.

During the summer months it is a pleasure to visit Corinaldo in the evening. The elevation of the town above the valley offers a cool, refreshing breeze on even the hottest August night. A stroll through its historic streets reveals small terraces and balconies where breath-taking views of the surrounding countryside seem, on first sight to be imagined, they are so beautiful. The verdant, green, rolling hills are almost too perfect. It was this landscape that inspired Giacomo Leopardi, one of Italy’s most famous romantic poets – he wrote about Le Marche in his poem L’Infinito. 

Le Marche, Italy - countryside - inspired the poetry of Giacomo Leopardi. www.educated-traveller.com
Le Marche, Italy – countryside – inspired the poetry of Giacomo Leopardi. http://www.educated-traveller.com

IN SEARCH OF WORK – However, like many rural areas of Italy, this was an area of poverty and deprivation for centuries. Many Italians left Le Marche travelling to the ‘New World’ in search of opportunities and a better life. They went to Argentina and worked on the farms and haciendas of the Latin American pampas. Or they travelled to the United States: New York or Chicago to find work with a relative or friend in a restaurant or a construction company. One typical migrant left Corinaldo in search of fame and fortune, back in the 1930s, his name was Scuretto. Being a loyal and considerate fellow, he sent money back home to his father in Italy, at regular intervals.  His intention was that the money should be used to build a house.

Unfortunately this young man had a father who loved to frequent the local bars and hostelries of the town. Each time some money arrived from abroad, the father headed for the local bar and cemented his position in town as an ‘ecellente bevitore’  meaning quite literally, an excellent drinker, or as we might say, a boozer or a drunk. Needless to say, the money sent from abroad did not go towards the construction of a house. Instead the father drank away his son’s hard-earned cash. After several years the son asked his father how the house he was building, was coming along. Scuretto Senior released that something had to be done immediately. He organised for the front wall, the facade of the house to be built, complete with spaces for the windows, and even the number of the house written on the wall. He then took a photograph of the front wall of the house and sent it to his son. There was nothing behind the wall, apart from fresh air!! There was no house, just a facade.

Corinaldo - the facade of 'Casa di Scuretto' www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – the facade of ‘Casa di Scuretto’ http://www.educated-traveller.com

The citizens of Corinaldo have a huge affection for the ‘Casa di Scuretto’ which remains to this day as a landmark in the town. Even though the money stopped arriving from the United States long ago the brick wall of the house remains standing. A funny and sad story that demonstrates human fallibility, and the fact that none of us are perfect. Was the father wrong to spend his son’s hard earned cash in the drinking establishments of Corinaldo? Yes of course! But it probably wasn’t the father’s intention to drink away all of his son’s earnings. He was probably going to start work on the house tomorrow or next week, or maybe even next year. But definitely very soon, there’d be no doubt in his mind about that!

So next time you are in Italy, include Le Marche and Corinaldo in your trip if you can. it was a fun-filled destination for my family and I this summer on a hot and humid August evening. Particularly when we came across the Casa di Scuretto just a few feet from where we were eating dinner.

Map of Le Marche region. South of the Veneto and east of Tuscany.
Le Marche region is located south of the Veneto and east of Tuscany. It borders Italy’s Adriatic Coast.

Corinaldo – the facade of ‘Casa di Scuretto’

Corinaldo - one of the many staircases leading to the centre of town. www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – one of the many staircases leading to the centre of town. http://www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo - spectacular medieval walls still protect the town www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – spectacular medieval walls still protect the town http://www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo - medieval walled town, Le Marche, Italy - www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – medieval walled town, Le Marche, Italy – http://www.educated-traveller.com
A night in Corinaldo, Simmonds, Panagakis & Howe Families
A night in Corinaldo, Simmonds, Panagakis & Howe Families
A night in Corinaldo, Simmonds, Panagakis & Howe Families & Becky too!
A night in Corinaldo, Simmonds, Panagakis & Howe Families & Becky too!
Corinaldo - La Nova Taberna - great food and lovely outdoor terrace
Corinaldo – La Nova Taberna – great food and lovely outdoor terrace
Corinaldo - delicious dinner at Nova Taberna
Corinaldo – delicious dinner at Nova Taberna
Corinaldo - historic town centre - www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – historic town centre – http://www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo - historic town centre - www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – historic town centre – http://www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo - historic town centre - www.educated-traveller.com
Corinaldo – historic town centre – http://www.educated-traveller.com

Notes:

  • Corinaldo is a charming medieval town, well worth a visit if you are in Le Marche.
  • Italian Blogger Nadia Stacchiotti has also written about ‘La Casa di Scuretto’ so here’s a chance to practice your Italian:  La Casa di Scuretto
  • Corinaldo values its medieval heritage – they have an annual programme of historic re-enactments including the”Contesa del pozzo della polenta” which is a procession and ceremony in honour of the town’s victory over local aristocrat and bigwig the Duke of Urbino. He laid siege to the town for 20 days in 1517, but the people of Corinaldo would not surrender. Thanks mainly to the strength of the walls that encircle the town.
  • Corinaldo is a town of history, tradition and heritage.
  • For more on Le Marche check out other articles written by www.educated-traveller.com for example: Italy and Italian Countryside – Recanati
  • Gastronomy of the Adriatic – Senigallia, Italy
  • Published: 07-10-2018

5 thoughts on “Never send money home!!

  1. Thank you, so good to see such a nicely written article promoting Le Marche region. I suspect stories like Scuretto’s have been repeated many times.

    I live in Montalto delle Marche, in the province of Ascoli Piceno (sadly Montalto is not featured on your map, although it is historically more important, and larger, than Montedinove or Rotella).

    If you are coming by again, let me know. I would love to give you a free personal walking tour of this beautiful town.

    Find me here: https://myhilltoptownitaly.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/madre-terra/

    I have written about the Mezzadria system, which I found very interesting. It explains a lot about why people left this region for the New World. And why some stayed. And why the food and wine is so good here.

    Saluti, Annmarie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annmarie – I’d love a tour of your home town – it sounds wonderful. I’m in Naples in October and then Rome in November. I work with the Senigallia tourist office from time to time – so next time I’m in Le Marche I’ll let you know. Have you read Christ Stopped at Eboli – it describes brilliantly the terrible poverty in the south in the 20s and 30s. Let’s stay in touch – thank you for your kind comments. Janet 🇮🇹🇬🇧💚

      Like

      1. I did read that, thank you. Very good. Italians have really suffered in the past. My own grandparents left to seek better prospects too. Please let me know next time you are nearby, we can meet up. Annmarie.

        Liked by 1 person

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