Santo Stefano Belbo in Piedmont and Brancaleone in Calabria
 
SEARCH IN AN AREA

A little tour through the villages of Cesare Pavese

Sun, 30 Dec 2018
A little tour through the villages of Cesare Pavese

Here we are with some news on villages and writers. This time the event involves a truly immense scholar in the twentieth-century Italian scene: Cesare Pavese, born in 1908, the famous author of "Lavorare stanca" and "Il mestiere di vivere".

And here are two villages between North and South. Two curiosities and two places expressly mentioned in his literary production. Different areas of the country because Piedmontese Langhe was our writer, but then knew the South even in the sad occasion of fascist confinement in the early '30s. So Pavese stayed in Brancaleone, extreme southern Italy, province of Reggio Calabria.

LANGHE, LAND OF BIRTH

Santo Stefano Belbo
Photo from Cuneodice.it

Santo Stefano Belbo, in the land of Cuneo, is the country of origin of Pavese. Here his birthplace, where then the family always went also later for the summer holidays.

"La luna e i falò" is one of his books in which the country returns to the pages. But the village is also mentioned in the wonderful poems of "Lavorare stanca". Suggestive the famous little station of the small town, as well as the hotel dell'Angelo, which existed before the war.

Pavese rests in the cemetery of Santo Stefano, a town of 4000 inhabitants, famous for its wine, born on the banks of the Belbo, a tributary of the Tanaro river.

Earth regretted by the writer after the transfer with his in the city.

The Pavesiano Center takes place in the birth house, with exhibitions and various prizes at its center. Sandstone, 175 meters above sea level, there are areas with peaks of 500 and more meters above sea level, especially on the sides of the river in the area to the north. Right at the foot of a hill, a real treasure: the Roman abbey of San Gaudenzio, Benedictine (an important order here, also for the cultivation of the vine).

Also worthy of mention is the sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve.

History as a relatively young center (XI century), also had the Cistercians in the church of San Maurizio.

Santo Stefano Belbo, therefore, a simple, rustic center with an ancient flavor: what was dear to the poet.

BRANCALEONE, THE CALABRIA OF THE CONFINO 

Brancaleone
Photo from Giornale di Calabria

The village of Reggio was Pavese's confinement: seven months, from August 1935 to March 1936. We are on the Ionian side. A relationship to highs and lows, that between the author and the villagers. Of course, Pavese openly defended the honor of the Calabrians, silencing at the root every supposed legend about, even, the "filth" of these people.

Here are his direct words: "They are cooked by the sun.The women are combing in the street, but vice versa they all bathe.There are many pigs, and the amphorae are poised on the head". Again: "Brancaleone, after all, looks like Santo Stefano Belbo and the boys and the men remind me of the time of childhood." Beautiful.The villages resemble each other.

And then: "Here I found a great reception. Good people, accustomed to the worst, try in every way to keep me good and dear ".

We draw these words from the opera "Il quaderno del confine".

But even the novel "The prison" speaks of it. Words reminiscent of those of Carlo Levi, the artist and writer, also from Piedmont, but exiled to Lucania: first in Grassano and then in Aliano, in the materano.

In 1967, edited by Giuseppe Taffarel, a documentary was created entitled "Il confino di Cesare Pavese", now available online.

But what to do and see in Brancaleone?

Center with a curious name, it has a beautiful and popular seaside resort and an abandoned historic town, with ruins of the old Bruzzano and the fortress of Rocca Armenia. Brancaleone Superiore was the name of the old village, from the origins dating back to the VI century AD about. It was finally abandoned in 1953, after a bad flood.

The role of the Basilians was decisive for the growth and then for the stability of this area: the monks knew how to enrich the area, also in culture.

Many caves and crosses characterize the rock area, a few kilometers away from the city center.

Splendor derived also from the contact with nature, therefore.

A community with a certain consistency: hence the castle, of which today there are only small ruins. Earth also of historical earthquakes, this: think of those of 1783 and then of 1908, circumstances that, together with the depopulation left by the unification of Italy, have contributed to the drastic demographic decline.

A history common to many southern centers.

Two villages, therefore, where the song of Pavese breathes: the native and ancestral one and then that of a land where ours did not go for pleasure, but who managed to make his own, joining the Calabrians, in the best optic of meeting between the people and the cultures.

Related News

Carloforte: a village to see live, not only on TV
Carloforte: a village to see live, not only on TV
Filming is about to begin on the third season of the Canale 5 fiction series 'L'Isola di Pietro' and, for those who have never been to this Sardinian town, it may be the right occasion: the production of the TV series is looking for extras...
By Joni Scarpolini
 San Leo and the centuries-old tradition of jesters
San Leo and the centuries-old tradition of jesters
The village of Romagna is very attached to the ancient street jugglers, so much so that they dedicate a festival of exquisite medieval taste to them
By Joni Scarpolini
Acerenza, the village of mysteries ... between the Holy Grail and Dracula's daughter
Acerenza, the village of mysteries ... between the Holy Grail and Dracula's daughter
According to legend, the Holy Grail is hidden in the cathedral of the Lucan village. And not only: here the body of Count Dracula's daughter would lie
By Redazione
Bellagio, the favorite village of the 'big' of history
Bellagio, the favorite village of the 'big' of history
Many great people from the past stayed in the 'pearl of Lake Como'. That's who they were...
By Joni Scarpolini
Bomarzo as Giza: discovering the hidden pyramid
Bomarzo as Giza: discovering the hidden pyramid
In the Park of the Monsters, near the village of Lazio, among the gigantic mythological sculptures rises an artifact with a mysterious origin ...
By Redazione
 When Asinara Island was the Italian Alcatraz
When Asinara Island was the Italian Alcatraz
Next to the Sardinian village of Stintino stands the former super prison, today a tourist destination and national park. Only one bandit managed to escape from the bars, fleeing in a rubber boat. All others served their sentence until the end. One step away from the blue sea
By Joni Scarpolini

Most read articles of the month

Fontanellato through history, gondola tour and street food
Fontanellato through history, gondola tour and street food
We take you to the beautiful medieval village in the province of Parma to discover the majestic Sanvitale Fortress, surrounded by a navigable moat, and culinary delicacies from all over Italy and the world: a real gastronomic siege!
By Joni Scarpolini
 The bell tower of Lake Resia and the ancient submerged village
The bell tower of Lake Resia and the ancient submerged village
We tell you the story of an ancient South Tyrolean village that in the 1950s was submerged by the waters of the dam. And what remains is a surreal show, from fantasy film...
By Joni Scarpolini
Cerenzia and the legend of the seven-headed dragon
Cerenzia and the legend of the seven-headed dragon
The inhabitants of the ancient Calabrian village are devoted to San Teodoro di Amasea, who defeated the terrible monster in 1528: they dedicated a day of the year to their leader to celebrate his exploit
By Redazione
 Inside the narrow prisons of the Fort of Bard
Inside the narrow prisons of the Fort of Bard
We take you to the dungeons of the great Savoy fortress, which only Napoleon managed to conquer
By Stefano De Bernardi
Rezzonico, the medieval pearl of Lake Como
Rezzonico, the medieval pearl of Lake Como
On the western shore of the Lario, a few kilometers from Menaggio, in front of Bellagio and Varenna, stands a small ancient village, worthy of a beautiful spring trip
By Joni Scarpolini
 Domenica in Vigoleno, a small (medieval) world apart
Domenica in Vigoleno, a small (medieval) world apart
We tell you about a fresh spring day spent in the tiny medieval village on the green hills of Piacenza
By Joni Scarpolini
e-borghi travel - la rivista per chi ama viaggiare tra borghi e turisimo slow

Read e-borghi travel for free, your new travel magazine

With the patronage of