THE TOWNS IN THE VULTURE - The bread of Sant'Andrea

The bread of Sant'Andrea

edited by Pasquale Tucciariello
translated by Susanna Dubosas



ARgomenti correlati


Servizio in Lingua italiana
I Borghi del Vulture
Il pane di Sant'Andrea

Testo in Lingua Inglese
sezione Multimedia
sezione Multimedia


Towns in the Vulture

The Bread of Sant’Andrea di Atella

      Translated by Susanna Dubosas


When there is snow on the ground the territory looks just like any other place, the snow conceals the beauty of the planes and the ruggedness of remote, mountainous heights. All around you can observe the charm of this undulating countryside, reminiscent of the hills in Ireland which fall gently into the valley then re-emerge softly, rising again to form a multitude of rounded hilltops rolling on and on until they disappear into a sudden ridge or are broken by a steep crag. Like an artist’s paintbrush, the snow can blot out precipitous paths and fill out cavities created by landslides; in the snow the ruins of an abandoned house appear no different from that of an occupied farmstead. Wind and snow dispense justice making everything equal, planes and mountains diminish behind hills, there is no distinction between wealth and poverty in this landscape buried beneath a white mantel. Here, in Basilicata, which is our Ireland, the majestic ponderous mass of Mount Vulture rises proudly in the territory of Rionero and Atella, surrounded by the hills of Sant’Andrea di Atella, Sgarroni, San Vito, Monticchio lakes and Monticchio Bagni. Its south face gazes into the distance, beyond the hills of Carmine, Santa Croce and Li Foi; from its north-east face you can glimpse the sea of Puglia and the Gargano, home to Saint Michael and Padre Pio; while its north-west face looks across to the Irpinian mountains.

The small settlements, which are usually perced on hilltops in this mountainous territory, have preserved their local customs and traditions, yet at the same time they are in perfect synthesis with our modern age. The inhabitants enjoy good, healthy life styles and are known for their longevity. In these towns you will encounter exceptional sounds and smells, delightful landscapes, a way of life that is in perfect harmony with mankind – things which only the most distracted and listless of visitors could overlook and not wish to explore.
It seems that time has come to a standstill here. But it is not so. It is the snow - when it snows - that accentuates the passing of time and the dynamics of nature. Snow and wind produce a sense of  timelessness, urged on by the piercing cold we strive to find our way, each one of us seeks courage and his own path through life. The passing of time changes pace according to individuals’ habits and the stages in their lives, and seems to merge with space forming a single space-time continuum. In this place men and women, the young and the old, boys and girls, live happy lives, accepting what they find already at their disposal or seeking alternatives, many achieve academic success.

Time marches on even in these towns, yet at Sant’Andrea di Atella they still make bread in the old fashioned way, as they used to do in the olden days. Guess what local proverb is used to say that a person is good and well-meaning. They use the expression: “He is as good as home made bread”.  Bread is a metaphor. Nothing is ever completely forgotten. Indeed time has the power to renew. These very towns are proof that time is a regenerating force. Here you will still find customs and traditions, good habits, unique sounds and smells, whispering landscapes on TV and the internet, in the picture galleries of smartphones and tablets, captured by a webcam or as the background to a selfie in which someone appears holding a rabbit lovingly in their arms, technology cannot wipe out traditions. Not only have these customs survived the passage of time, but they are still considered precious. They also make bread at Sant’Andrea di Atella, which is excellent because it is home made and traditional. These smells and tastes are extraordinary. How strange is the silence that reigns here, it stimulates the imagination and the will to embark upon new projects and it encourages initiative.