This week began with a visit to one of the most remarkable places here (in a region full of remarkable places). Il nido del falco (Falcon’s nest) is, as the name suggests, high up, and has commanding views the Sabina landscape. There is an old three-storey casalore (isolated house in the mountains) that sits against the hill and gazes out over the visual splendour of the Sabine hills. (I forgot to ask Adriano, our host, how old it is, but I suspect it’s an eighteenth century building.)
Adriano de Cupis is an appassionato of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and that was the reason for our visit. ‘Garibaldini’ fighters are central characters in the story for Casaprota, L’incontro. Adriano is a the great grandson of Filippo de Cupis, close friend and fighter with Garibaldi, and is the founder of the wonderfully named Garibaldini del terzo Millennio, (the Garibaldi of the third millennium), and the custodian of many original documents and memorabilia from the period, including photos and original letters from Garibaldi.
Diorama with Filippo de Cupis (far left), Garibaldi (partly obscured) and Anita Garibaldi.
The story of the discovery of this treasure trove of historical material is told in Adriano’s book Il cassetto chiuso (Portofranco 2011), the story of a locked and secret drawer, that was only opened after his father’s death to reveal its amazing contents. This is the sort of material that is normally in national archives, available only to accredited researchers, but there we were examining these originals in this beautiful old house. Yes, I was blown away by it (and apparently that was obvious!) It was way too much to take in with just one visit.
What did I learn? I have been developing a far greater appreciation of Garibaldi over some time, so much of what I learnt on Monday reinforced what I already felt I knew, that is, the importance of ideals in the story of the Risorgimento. Garibaldi’s vision for Italy was of a republican Italy dedicated to liberty and social justice, and I wonder whether there is some embarrassment today about that. There has been some concerted efforts to denigrate Garibaldi in Italy over recent decades apparently, especially from the political right. Is it that idealism, optimism and altruism sit so at odds with the cynicism of contemporary politics, that is makes us embarrassed by the contemporary absence of thinkers and visionaries?
Susanna and I join the Garibaldini…
There is, happily, a video about il nido del falco on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNWsNo3MJYI
photos courtesy of Susanna Emili and Adriano de Cupis