by Carlotta Lombardo
Out of 3,200 nominations, only 8% won the coveted banner which contributed to their rebirth. Young people? They are graduates and they are going back to live there. To perpetuate old traditions but with a pinch of innovation. Have you ever tried roveja beer?
Slow tourism, authentic and respectful of the environment. If today going to the villages is a trend, much of the credit goes to the Italian Touring Club, the oldest (1894) association for the promotion of tourism in our country: first, 23 years ago, it seized and enhanced the tourist potential of small towns in the hinterland contributing to their renaissance. Because the Orange Flag, the recognition that, year after year, the Touring confers, after a thorough and rigorous selection, to the villages with the excellent results, a real godsend. Arrivals (+ 45%) and accommodation facilities (+ 83% on average, from the year of assignment) multiply, and (our) awareness is growing that Italy, the cradle of civilization in the village , is an asset that must be protected more and more. Thus, tourists arrive there, but also new inhabitants. Not a little. Especially if they are young and have decided to take advantage of studies and experiences to perpetuate the traditions of the region.
The new orange flags
Out of more than 3,200 applications analyzed during these 23 years, only 8% obtained recognition: the Touring today awarded the 262 Orange Flags for the three-year period 2021-2023, confirming 251 already in place and awarding 11 new locations: Canelli and Castagnole delle Lanze, Revello, Rosignano Monferrato, Susa and Trisobbio in Piedmont are tinged with orange; Badalucco and Vallebona in Liguria, Bridges over the Mincio in Lombardy, Nocera Umbra in Umbria and Subiaco in Lazio. The initiative is a concrete example of the commitment of our Association to take care of Italy as a common good – says Franco Iseppi, President of the Italian Touring Club – with the aim of disseminating knowledge of the territories, especially the less known, educating about the beauty of the landscape and the environment. Beautiful villages (the localities all have a precious historical, cultural and environmental heritage) and with many stories to tell. Because more and more young graduates choose them to live there, who have preferred to return to their origins in the city.
Giorgio, who has a degree in economics and is a necciaio
Like Giorgio Filippelli: he is 32 years old, he comes from Pescia, in Tuscany, and works as a necciaio. I make necci, which is the poor version of bread, made only with water and chestnut flour. I studied economics and business, then writing and theater, but I’ve been cooking since I was little. Everything I know about necci I learned from my grandmother Lina, who taught me how to prepare them with the mixture of Turkish wheat and salts. At the end of 2019, I decided to found a company (the Necciaio di Filippelli Giorgio, in Necci di Collodi) and to recover a culinary tradition of the mountains from which I come, the Swiss Pesciatina, adapting it to the contemporary trend of the distribution of street foods. With his mobile workstation, Giorgio first made a name for himself in Florence, also starting a collaboration with Eataly who offered him a pop-up inside the city store. I opened the business for this in the village. There, you live better, if only for the presence of nature. I am confident that the future of small villages is downhill.
Abandoned lands and roveja beers
Let’s stay on the territory to work! I am a journalist and my veterinarian cousin; our great-grandfather owned a mill where, in the 1950s, flour was stone-ground. In short, why not start from there. Alessandro Orfei, 31, studies literature and then journalism in Perugia, in Nocera Umbra he also stayed to live. Here, the quality of life is incomparable to that of the big cities – he emphasizes -. If I fancy a cinema or a theater, I go to Foligno, 20 minutes away by car. In large cities, it takes up to an hour to get to work. So in Nocera Umbra with his cousin Emanuele Paggi, he gave life to Agribio Monte Pennin, highlighting ancient cultures, selecting the varieties most suited to the soil and re-cultivating abandoned mountain lands. The objective is to rediscover the virtues of the Apennines – continues Alessandro -. We grow lentils, spelled, chickpeas, roveja and ancient grains. Thanks to the modern stone mill, we get the flours. And we also produce beers with lentils and Roveja, an ancient legume called “wild pea”.
Quality villages withstood the crisis
Despite the global tourism collapse over the past year and a half, for 66% of Orange Flag municipalities, the season was consistent and, in many cases, better than the year before. According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the economic impact of the tourism collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic could exceed $ 4 trillion. Italian villages have not been spared by this global crisis, but the short summer season 2020 has been for small Italian towns, especially for those certified to the Italian brand Touring Club, better than elsewhere. The mark has a temporary validity, every three years the Communes must resubmit the request and be the subject of a new analysis. An incentive to do better and better.
July 15, 2021 (modified July 15, 2021 | 12:15 AM)
© RESERVED REPRODUCTION