Noises in the night.
I swear, it happened many a time during Spring, between March and May in particular. Passing down towards Pietra Porzia directed to Casale Marchese, at dawn, in that twilight zone when it's neither night nor day, with my wine cart that crunched along the road. The vineyards deserted as they awaited the women to tie them. A loud metallic sound, a lapping of the lake waters and cries of ancient warriors…every time I stopped my horse, at first, just silence and then clearer and clearer I could hear the clash enrage..there in the mist I awaited... and the Regillo still seemed to divide the last Tusculum Latins and the invincible Capitoline Dioscuri. Then I re-lit my pipe calmly and started back on my way to the Blond Tiber with my load of wine. A minor, fanciful heir, of a similarly fatal destiny.
I started in Foligno, and from there it was a continuous escalation
of hanging, drawing, quartering and beheading.
Always donating a penny first towards a soul-redeeming mass for the condemned.
I made it my art. I saw them all,
murderers, rapists, rebels,
and never questioned why and how,
I was a tool, not a judge;
responsible only for human-death, never of its cause.
Then, three glasses from the Frascatano inn keeper would lift my spirits.
There in Via della Lungara I was feared, hated, flattered and courted.
And yet today, I can tell you that from all this, my name remains notorious;
in my own field I was a futurist-artist;
today that men skin each other in the name of gods, old and new, I can boast being a giant of the axe, still around in many a gazette.
Today, watching over briefly from the after-life,
I recall those stories that I was attached to, because even they were vanquished
and I lived despite that cloudy darkness...
'Oste portace un antro litro e se ce metti l’acqua nte pagamo,
se poi ce rode er culo te sgozzamo.'
('Landlord, bring us another litre. And if you dare water it down, don't ask to be paid, because if we're bloody minded you'd better watch your throat').
Mastro Titta, His Last Execution was in Frascati.
I don't want to write how, in which glasses or with which food one may taste wine, not today. But of the paradigms that, for some, wine encloses. Think of the myth of immortality - some wines already in bottles could outlive you. If it was you that made them, in that liquid there is time stolen from your farewell, and anyway, you would be swallowing a portion of afterlife. The appeal of how it will improve after 30 or 40 years is a wonderful consolation.
A light inebriation? Not drunkenness, but that state of hyperconsciousness where maybe just for a slight moment, that mystery that was complicating your night's rest, becomes limpid, simple, easy; to return later as mysterious as it had been before. This light, fertile, socializing state has made wine into our mystic tot, pulling us to the transcendental, blood of Christ or Sprit of Baccus, pagan or Holy as you wish.
Here examples could be plenty, and we'll return to others the day my pen decides to run more fluidly. Wine is capable of such prodigies, but careful, one needs a culture, an exercise, a study, then yes, will our soul move like a torrent. Then it hushes and exactly there wine becomes a vortex and it swallows us. But if this scares you, drink a cup without these concerns; nought will happen..or by chance all will be unveiled to you.
Voluptuous women, sticky and wonderfully perfumed, this is what we had amongst our vines. Tying, 'schiacchiatura', 'capata'* of the vines, but also washing the botti-barrels and shifting them empty into their alcoves with sculptured and tough arms. What enticing cleavages; what shrill and often ferocious voices.You could only survive amongst them if you could stand the pace of their rough manner. Today grapes often fall picked by vibrating shakers; new presses that substitute soft feet, yet still, there are women, wise, expert and great...but not the ones I remember with grapes in their breasts....
Masto Titta. * respectively taking off the new trains of vines that don't carry any grapes and picking the grapes in different lapses of time, as they mature.
Introducing Mastro Titta.
The original Mastro Titta was a famous executioner in Rome. He lived to the ripe old age of 89 (died 1869) and was put onto a pension of 30 scudi by Pope Pius IX when he was 85. His real name was Giovanni Battista Bugatti, but the 19th century Romans gave him his nickname, which was a diminutive of Maestro (of Justice) and 'Tista.
Why has our mysterious writer chosen this name? Who knows! Maybe it has something to do with him being the type that always has to have the last word! Anyway, I'm posting here what he wrote to introduce himself...
He came from Tusculum in the 1900's, he was oxen that kicked vines,
copper sulfate that coloured happy faces,
tight rows of grapes that glistened reflected onto overflowing glasses, mid morning;
the colour of deep gold.
Glasses that you could chew like bread;
This was a grandfather.
And I, his root.
An eighteen year-old, up to the brim with Collosseums and St. Peters
I found myself in uniform in Udine following a pair of blues eyes,
and fell upon the Loggia of Lionello.
Around the corner I encountered a little boy with a cheeky grin, watching me.
His mother held, gently in her hand, a bounty of fruit,
blue like the eyes I was pursuing.
In that, late afternoon, i discovered grapes, that yes, had borne me,
but didn't calm my hunger.
Yet quenched my soul.
Shelly according to Mastro Titta:
''Virtues and faults of an Anglo-Frascatana''.
Arriving here from London or thereabouts, is to marry a loving cynicism, a fatal disenchantment, a beauty that is infinite: after the Scottish footprints of York. To live then for a whole lifetime, not losing any of that London-itude, the satisfaction of being an epicenter, of being inevitably a step ahead, to continue to be in unison with the beats of Big Ben. Everything that makes one special, as are those that live superimposed lives. Maybe a little disheveled, but fully worn. To arrive from London to rapidly inhale, exhale and oxidize, like a packet of cigarettes without filters, right down to yellow fingers, smoked all the way through: this continuous will-to-do, here, where everywhere, most of humanity stops at the first puff.
a group of people, that have lived and experienced the wonderful atmosphere of Frascati for many years, and now wish to share it with you.