L’anguille di San Marino

September 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Have been in Italia since Sunday the ninth of September. we flew in to Venezia and drove down to Ravenna staying with Armendina Ranuzzi family of Cinzia, Armendina is a remarkable lady now close to eighty years old indefatigable as ever one of the most generous humble people you could meet in your life, she often breaks into the dialect “romangnol” a language full of character and humour. We have stayed with Armendina many times over the years that we have been coming to Italia.

Armendina making “la piedina” the flat bread famous in Ravenna

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The sort of thing you see all over Italia, massive carvings of “Dolphins” just sitting in an angle of a building in Ravenna

The last two days we have been with Denver in the Republic of San Marino Italia a company that produces high tech CNC machines for working stone. A fantastic company, the factory looks like an art gallery! We were given a wonderful experience. We came away moved and inspired by a organisation who have great pride in their company and what they produce. Being Italia “mezzogiorno” is of course the time to drink vino, eat and be happy. We were taken for lunch at a trattoria a good way up the mountains upon which the ancient city of San Marino is built. From where we sat we could see the crenelated walls snake along the ridges of the mountains above. We drove past a fountain that featured carvings in low relief of anguile (eels) our host Franco Barachini from Denver parked the car and we got out and wondered why there should be sculptured in “relievo” eels half way up the mountain. The trattoria had an outside eating area with great views we chose to have our tagliatelle con sugo and strozza preti with salsicce and peas washed down with glass of Sangiovese wine, bread parmigianno insalata flavours swirling on our tongues.

We asked the lady serving us what was the meaning behind the l’anguille on the fountain she said she didn’t know, she then thanked us and added “I have been working here for years and never even noticed them!” On the table next to us a lady and her daughter overheard our conversation, she turned to us and said she heard of a story that they were the symbol of the god Mercurio, ( as well as the fact that Italians eat everything) we looked at the water gushing forth from the mountain and as is common in Italy, water has since ancient times been associated with the Gods. After lunch Franco took us to a stone masons workshop to show us one of Denver’s CNC machines in action. Franco introduced us to four artigianni “uomini della pietra” people who for me are like brothers, Cinzia got talking to one of the men who was operating the CNC machine and learnt that he studied under the same master that she did when she studied mosaics in Ravenna, their teacher was a person famous for restoring mosaics of Ravenna. She asked him about the fountain with the eels and it turned out it was his father that carved the eels on the fountain that we were fascinated by!

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Cinzia with Bruno, who as students had studied under the same teacher. Bruno’s father carved L’anguille in alto relievo on the fontana near the trattoria we ate at.

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