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Saturday, 05 July 2008

Our Village in Italy is Called Lubriano - Page 3

Written by Diana Armstrong
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Our village in Italy is called Lubriano. It is a "pass by" village. Tourists traveling to the famous hill-top town of Civita di Bagnoregio (called the "Dying Town" as it is collapsing into the Calanchi Valley below) stop at the edge of our village to gaze across towards their stunning destination no more than one mile away.  Truth is, this medieval wonder of a town is also our view.


There is the tobacconist shop called the Sale e Tabacchi. We must back up to medieval times and the story of Italy and salt.  Ancient salt monopolies entitled salt to only be sold through the Italian Government, and for hundreds of year's salt was only sold at the tobacconist as agents for whoever was the ruler at the time. That is the Sale in Sale e Tabacchi.


Bruno is the owner. He is from the Amalfi Coast and moved up to Lubriano for a business opportunity.  He is usually in a hurry unlike his Lubriano shop keeper counterparts. His store is set into what on first appearance looks like the opening to a Roman tomb.  Right here, the old retired school teacher points to the jagged remains of an old wall. "This was a battlement and the ancient Porta -gate - into the village.  In 1920, they knocked down the city wall which was built around 1600 to allow trucks to enter the village" he says disparagingly.


Bruno also has the village responsibility for 21st century communications. He has a fax and can add minutes onto your cell phone. This present time stuff does stops for the month of August when Bruno's parents come into town to take over running the shop while Bruno is on vacation.  Medieval techniques now apply and the mere mention of sending a fax is enough to get you thrown out of the store.


All the local shops are supplemented by frequent trucks that come through the town selling their wares.  While Italians are fanatical about air pollution, sound pollution does not seem to worry them. Regularly each morning, with deafening regularity some or other truck comes through town.  Each one is equipped with the worst fog horn scratchy speakerphone/megaphone that you could impossibly imagine.  It makes me feel like I am in World War II and the Nazis are invading the town.  It's startling and disconcertingly loud. The words sound as though they are coming through an American drive-thru. Some trucks sell flowers, other fruit and of course the welcome fish truck from the Adriatic, there are even trucks that come through blaring that they are selling space age kitchens to fit into medieval dwellings.


The occasional itinerant comes through town selling wares and the word is soon spread around. Stranger in town, stranger in town. People peep out suspiciously through shutters.


A few yards further along the street, the shoemaker is bent over someone's old shoe. They say he has been a fixture on Via Roma for many years, with his tiny Calzoleria, shoe maker's shop. His seventy or more years of cobbling shoes have probably taught him patience and acceptance and he looks like an old worn shoe himself, with his placid face, his stooped shoulders and his big, skillful hands. In medieval times his workshop would have been a storage cellar, and it's still as small, dark and uncomfortable as it probably was then.  With his ancient tools it seems he should be making his own Pinocchio.


There is one shop that is non-existent in our village, and that is a postcard and souvenir shop. Hopefully, we will put that off for years.

Our village in Italy is called Lubriano, Civita di Bagnoregio, Calanchi Valley, Southern Umbria,  Rome, Florence, Via Roma, Porchetta, Diana Armstrong

© Diana Armstrong


Diana Armstrong is a Food and Travel Writer who divides her time between Lubriano, Italy and Denver, Colorado.  Her latest article is published in Gourmet Magazine April 2008. Her book about Lubriano is called Somewhere South of Tuscany, for more info see her website:


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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