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.
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.
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.
Corinaldo – the facade of ‘Casa di Scuretto’
- 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