Before cars, tractors or even harrows, our vines were cultivated using oxen. We had such narrow planted vineyards that only one could go through and it pulled a plough guided by the farmer.
Then in Spring the earth would be turned over manually, men would refresh the earth by flipping every clod. They needed to be strong but also able, some managed to make every blade of grass disappear even without digging into the ground properly. The foreman would have to make sure every job was done as it should be, and they dug for 6 hours. Every worker was entitled to half a litre of wine and there was a break for breakfast.
Tradition wanted that oil-preserved herrings were put at the end of the rows of vines every so many, so when pairs of workers reached them they'd dip their bread in them. Of course the first ones were the best tasting! A poor world, filled with strong tastes, perfumes and flavors that have long since disappeared. Nothing to do with frozen pastas and breads of today. It is in their honour that me and the guys eat loaves with our porchetta, coppiette and olives and wash them down with Frascati.
The Prince of the Enchanted Valley.
My darling, let's go and kiss, away from household monotony, let's play at being kids again. A kiss and a cuddle and then back home. Right up past Piazza Re di Roma and on towards the Castelli, we'll find somewhere secluded, a bush, a lonely lane, somewhere in the open, to give my girl some passionate kisses.
Slums, carcasses, endless suburbs. It would have been enough to just reach the Quarto Miglio, to end up at Sor Capanna's then turn around and go back home. But you did insist, so my love, to make you happy, I go round and round, backwards and forwards. Then suddenly on a bend I come across a bit of real Campagna Romana with oaks, acacias, wild asparagus and an endless tree-lined canyon. We kiss passionately, nature to nature, when we see an old guy come up the lane, quick on his feet and as fit as a teenager. Well dressed with a hippy rucksack,
'Good morning my dears, how you doing?' ,
'Well indeed, can't you see we're hugging and kissing?'.
'Well done, carry on', he returns, 'Don't waste a minute, and when you wish, be my guests, it's my pleasure'.
'Your guests, what do you mean?'.
'Of course.. I'm the prince of all that's seen, while I'm still around nothing will be changed, all will stay as it has been. No rubbish shall be dumped, no building done, so just carry on, having fun.'
I tilted my hat and bowed to the wise old Prince, then fumbled another few kisses, went back to Rome, but still haven't returned since.
They're still talking about it, during the night it was heard very clearly. There in Piazza Farnese , the French that face the square confirmed, that It wasn't a Jacobin; the bustling of the eight reindeer and the gurgling of the fountains blended into a single song. From Campo de' Fiori a drunk poked his head up from the steps under Giordano Bruno and some tourists filmed and photographed. A large-as-life Father Christmas, dressed in red, the right beard, sleigh, the lot. The Council had down a grand job, even the time was precise. The Landlord at Campioneschi came out with a bottle of Frascati and a glass and the ol' geezer toasted joyously, all typical of a Roman Christmas. Well of course, seeing reindeer take off, with the sleigh and Santa in the blink of an eye left you gobsmacked!! From the lovers' Gianicolo they reported a strange vehicle almost hitting the Cupolone and the police were notified; it was since Flaiano's era that a Martian hadn't passed through Rome. The kids that found out were ecstatic.
Those were times of great drinkers. Under the bushels after fettuccini with chicken offal, stew, puntarelle salads heavily dressed in anchovy and garlic salsa, romanesque artichokes, broad beans and pecorino cheese, all hosed down with liters of tasty white wine. Men and women's jolly laughter echoed as the children watched curiously. There was always some considerate husband that, with tearful and narrow eyes, insisted on filling the ladies' glasses, that till then had avoided, soberly. Cheerful play that became joyous; loud laughter moved the air, languid glances were omens of passionate hours to follow. Those beautiful women with rosy cheeks were now equal. They drank their wine like those that were re-confirming an oath. That was the party; ties signed and sealed once again and sins forgiven. The alliance was united and the world was a happier place, when the women drank.
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.