The Englishwoman visits the Leopardi Library/Biblioteca Leopardi

If you liked my post about Leopardi in Recanati (Il sabato del villaggio), you’ll like this.

Libraries and rare books in Le Marche

This library has survived intact for over 200 years thanks to Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), one of Italy’s best-loved poets. He spent the greater part of his childhood and youth reading in this library, the creation of his father, Monaldo Leopardi.

The Italian class system is not the same as ours; however, I think it is safe to say that the Leopardi were what we would call gentry, and quite comfortably off. Monaldo was an “avid book collector” (p 363 of Canti / GiacomoLeopardi ; translated and annotated by JonathanGalassi. London : Penguin, c2010). In fact he spent so much money on this library that his wife had to sell her jewellery to restore the family fortunes.

I like Monaldo because he was more than a bibliophile. His instincts were those of a librarian; in other words, he wanted to share his books with everyone.

To children friends citizens Monaldo Leopardi [gives] the library in the year 1812 To children friends citizens Monaldo Leopardi…

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The Englishwoman eats at the Nova Taberna

This trendy new restaurant opened recently and we are keen to support the friendly young couple in charge, Giada and Aldo, as we think they are very bravi. They have spent time in Cork in Ireland and consequently they speak English. It’s difficult to sustain a restaurant in Corinaldo, because one needs solid local support to keep going outside the short tourist season of July and August, and the locals don’t eat out very often. We have been doing our best to make up for that.


You can see from the photo that the restaurant is actually on La Piaggia, the flight of steps which is Corinaldo’s main approach and which all the visitors climb. An excellent location to  attract tourists.

A bride and groom asked if they might be photographed here, and the staff responded very positively, giving them a glass of wine each and really taking trouble to seat them appropriately.


Bride and groom outside Nova Taberna

We have eaten lunch and dinner here several times, inside and outside on the terrace, and the food has always been elegantly served and well-cooked. They have a good selection of local wines too, and the principal grape and the producer are named on the wine-list. The Rosso Conero below is 95% Montepulciano and comes from a vineyard in Candia, a village situated between the A14 motorway and the Strada Adriatica,



Below is the side passage that leads to the outside terrace at the back. The plants along each side are an excellent example of how the Italians can transform a rather ordinary space into something attractive.


Note the fashionable vintage furniture in the photo below. I had been going to crop the partial view of the red-haired lady, but left her in because she was quite a character. She talked non-stop about food throughout her meal. Honestly, I am not exaggerating.


We’ve eaten here often and I’m going to show you a typical menu and some of the dishes we have enjoyed.


Set menu

It’s worth asking to see the set menu (menu fisso) if you aren’t offered it.


Gazpacho di frutta

Carpaccio di pesca

Carpaccio di pesca

Another fruit starter.

La "nova" parmigianina

I can’t remember exactly what this consisted of but it was very good. We loved the blue plates and flower petals.

Gramigna all'ortica (nettles) e ricotta



Filled pasta - green and yellow again

Filled pasta – green and yellow again

Galletto (cockerel) marinato al gin e salvia (sage)

Galletto (cockerel) marinato al gin e salvia (sage)

They serve this quite often and it’s always good.The menu varies according to the season, but you don’t necessarily get something different every day.



This dish was vegetarian and they make a point of having a good vegetarian choice.

Specially for us!

Specially for us!

We told Giada and Aldo in advance that it was a special day for us and they came up with this little cake.

As you can tell from the way the food is served, Giada comes from an artistic family.

Sculpture by Giada's sister.

Sculpture by Giada’s sister.

If you are in the area Giada and Aldo are well worth a visit at the Nova Taberna. You can combine lunch or dinner with them with a drink at Scuretto’s, an ice-cream at  Sbirulina, the gelateria, and then a walk round Corinaldo’s walls, which you will need after all that!

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The Englishwoman admires Corinaldo’s Infiorata and walks in the Corpus Christi procession 

On the first Sunday in June we arrived at our little local church,  Sant’Apollonia, only a bit late (the Chelsea Fan has observed that Mass and football matches always begin on time in Italy), as usual, only to find it closed.We thought there must be a big service at San Francesco, the biggest church in town, at 11.15, so off we drove, only to find that all the car parks were full and we’d have to park outside the Crai supermarket and walk up to the Corso.

When we reached the  Corso we found crowds assembling and obviously waiting for something. Fortunately at this point we bumped into Signora Chiara, the widow of the late great Fausto of I Tigli restaurant. She explained to me what was going on. Of course, I had forgotten, it was the feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ), or Corpus Domini, as they say in Italy, when the townsfolk process through the streets behind the priest who carries the communion bread, which is the Body of Christ. First Communions also usually take place on the day of this festival.

CC procession going past the comune

I first saw this procession as a teenager on my Gap Year in Perugia, and really liked it. Then I remember being in Corinaldo for Corpus Domini a few years ago, though I didn’t see the procession, but all the First Communion children coming out of church.

Signora Chiara also explained that nowadays there is not only a solemn procession on the day of Corpus Domini, but also an Infiorata, i.e. the streets are carpeted with flower petals. This is more common in Tuscany and Umbria, but is now spreading to Le Marche.

Flower carpet by Osteria de Scuretto

People stay up all night to finish the flower decorations, some of which are quite elaborate.




Small boy walking across IHS

Actually you couldn’t avoid walking over some of the floral decorations.

It’s good to see so many of the townsfolk joining in. These religious festivals are all part of the way civil society expresses itself hereabouts.


The Mayor walks in the procession, taking a leading position near the Host under its canopy.


As well as joining in the procession, the Mayor also  creates a decoration, on  which he works very hard. I wonder if he made the one in the picture above.


Corinaldo’s corpo bandistico also takes part. These volunteers are present at many a festival and celebration, which wouldn’t be the same without their enthusiasm and high standard of playing.


Love the baseball cap!


First Communicants

The First Communicants all wear simple white robes, so as to eliminate competition among the girls for the best First Communion dress.


The priest carries the Host in its monstrance under the canopy.

The last decoration that the procession will pass on its route to the church

This is the last decoration before the procession reaches its destination, the church of San Francesco.


We have reached the church and the procession has come to its end.


It’s all over, and the rain held off till just before the end. The Mayor and Giorgia Fabri (the blonde in the black outfit), assessore alla cultura among other things, are chatting  with their friends and colleagues. We went off for lunch at the Nova Taberna, a new restaurant with a fresh approach to traditional local cooking that we are keen to support. More of them next time.

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Sisma, in un caveau l’Infinito di Leopardi | Cronache Maceratesi

VISSO – Il prezioso manoscritto era conservato nel museo diocesano, struttura rimasta danneggiata dal terremoto

Source: Sisma, in un caveau l’Infinito di Leopardi | Cronache Maceratesi

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The Englishwoman experiences “Il sabato del villaggio”

I have chosen to use the title of a poem by Giacomo Leopardi, “Saturday in the Village” (Canto XXV) as a title for this post.

The poet Giacomo Leopardi was born in Recanati  in 1798; here he spent his childhood and youth reading in the library, collected by Monaldo,  his father. It is open to the public; you don’t need to make a special request. Thanks to Alex of Send In the Librarians (a great joint blog, by Alex and Victoria, for lovers of books and libraries – and cats) for telling me this. Without you, Alex, I might never have got round to visiting the Biblioteca of Casa Leopardi.

Saturday was fairly cool and damp, a good day for urban sightseeing, so we decided to drive down to Casa Leopardi. The library overlooks a little piazza, the piazza of the poem, and when you read Canto XXV you can imagine the young Leopardi gazing down at the bustling piazza – a bustle from which he was for ever excluded by his station in life.

In the piazza

In the piazza

A few lines from the Canto are carved on the building, which was the servants’ quarters, opposite the Casa Leopardi.

I fanciulli gridando carved lines from Il sabato del villaggio

“The crowd of children shouting in the little square, and leaping here and there, make a happy noise.”

Saturday is in some ways a good day for sightseeing, because you often get a bonus in the form of a wedding. This particular Saturday a wedding was taking place in the church adjacent to the Leopardi house.

I know the captions below, from “Il sabato del villaggio”, are quoted out of context, but I couldn’t resist them. Although Leopardi wasn’t describing a wedding at all, his words seem to fit.

"Questo di sette e' il più gradito giorno, Pieno di speme e di gioa"

“Questo di sette e’ il più gradito giorno, Pieno di speme e di gioa”

“This day is the most welcome of the seven, full of hope and joy.”

And here is the bride.

"...e reca in mano Un mazzolin di rose e di viole

“…e reca in mano Un mazzolin di rose e di viole”

“… and she holds in her hand A bunch of roses and violets” (No violets, actually).

There was a modest bar in the square  where the Chelsea Fan had an excellent cappuccino, in the late morning – shock horror.  I think if you want a cappuccino you should ask for it; never mind about  the done thing.  Do they want your money or don’t they? The Englishwoman is obviously a foreigner whatever she does, anyway .

In the bar we fell into conversation with a wedding guest  (no, he wasn’t a bit like the Ancient Mariner). He pushed in front of me in the queue and I glared at him in my best Paddington Bear fashion. The Chelsea Fan could feel the heat from the other side of the room.  He, the wedding guest, instantly apologised and made way for me.  We take queuing seriously in Le Marche.

Following this encounter I heard him talking about “la Brexit” with his friend and raised my eyebrows.  Oh scusi,  was he in the way of the Signora’s cappuccino? I said no, we were English and had heard them talking about Brexit. He made a remark which I didn’t catch but later we were standing near each other and he observed to his friend “Questi signori sono inglesi”. I took this as an invitation to chat, and it was interesting to hear how fed up they were with the EU. They didn’t seem to resent the vote to Leave at all.

The bride and groom eventually  appeared at the top of the steps, having burst their way through the screen of pink and white balloons.

"...Cotesta eta' fiorita E' come un giorno di allegrezza pieno, Giorno chiaro, sereno, Che precorre alla festa di tua vita."

“…Cotesta eta’ fiorita E’ come un giorno di allegrezza pieno, Giorno chiaro, sereno, Che precorre alla festa di tua vita.”

“This blooming age Is like a day full of happiness, A clear, sunny day, Precursor to the festa of your life.”

The kiss was the signal for us to join the queue for entry tickets to the library and the exhibition. After about half an hour we arrived at the desk and received the same painstaking and polite explanation as everyone ahead of us in the queue.  The upshot of it all was that we had to be back at 2 for the library tour. After a hurried lunch in the first restaurant we found, served by harassed and unsmiling staff ( they weren’t hurrying ), we made it just in time.  I told you the Chelsea Fan hates looking for restaurants at lunchtime!

I’ll post something about the collection in my other blog.

The guided tour was of course aimed at Leopardi fans, not librarians, so I’ll pass on to you some of what I gleaned about his life. The poet spent most of his youth in the library,  where, among many other studies he taught himself Greek and Hebrew from the rare polyglot Bible. A touching sight was the window

Giacomo's window

whence he used to look across to the servants’ quarters where Teresa, whom he called Silvia, sat singing over her weaving. She became the subject of Canto XXI, “A Silvia”, in which he rages against Nature for causing her early death and destroying her youthful hopes.

"From the balcony of my father's house I used to listen for the sound of your voice And of your swift-moving hand Running across the wearisome loom. I used to look at the cloudless sky..."

“From the balcony of my father’s house I used to listen for the sound of your voice And of your swift-moving hand Running across the wearisome loom. I used to look at the cloudless sky…”

Roll on the holiday! as Leopardi nearly said. What he actually wrote was “… ma la tua festa Ch’ancor tardi a venir non ti sia grave.” And I wish the same to all of you.



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Spaghetti All’Amatriciana

Francis puts into words what I found it difficult to express. Thank you Francis!

From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

When in Italy don’t ask for a plate of ‘spaghetti bolognaise’ (don’t even dare to say ‘spag bol’). The dish simply doesn’t exist in this country but is a concoction made abroad (and, I believe, actually sold in tins in the UK!). Ask instead for ‘tagliatelle al ragù’.  The ragù is a sauce generally made up of the following ingredients (quantities are given for serving four persons):

55 g (1 ¾ oz) butter
55 g (1 ¾ oz) minced prosciutto far or pancetta
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
100 g (3 ½ oz) minced lean veal or beef
100 g (3 ½ oz) minced lean pork
1 glass of dry red wine
A little beef or chicken stock
3 tbsp. tomato paste
Salt and pepper

A short while back at Bagni di Lucca’s super-excellent Circolo dei Forestieri restaurant I had a…

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The Englishwoman dines and listens to old favourites in Corinaldo at I Tigli


I have never eaten in a more beautiful place than this. Sitting on this open-air terrace built into the city walls, I feel as if it’s the most beautiful place to eat in the world.

Terrace of I Tigli restaurant

The evening sky, harmonious architecture and mellow bricks combine to create a unique setting for an evening out.

Tigli terrace and evening sky

The Tigli has had its ups and downs, since the new management took over about three years ago , so much so that I haven’t wanted to write about it, but it seems to be sorting itself out. There is a new kitchen brigade in place now. We had a pleasant straightforward meal here, nothing fancy but well up to the usual Italian standard .To my surprise there was no fish menu or vegetarian option, (quite unusual in Le Marche nowadays).
I had prosciutto con melone and nodino di vitello, (veal T-bone steak).In England I never bother with imported melon but in Italy in season it’s delicious with prosciutto. I have also in the past eaten some strange blackened lumps at the Tigli, which were listed as meat on the menu, but this was fine. The meat cookery has improved literally beyond recognition.

Nodino di vitello at the Tigli 27.07.16
However, what I particularly enjoyed about the meal that evening was the live music. This is a recent innovation. The singer , Lucio, obligingly played and sang my requests for lovely cheesy old Italian favourites.

Music on I Tigli terrace


You could tell he was enjoying them, because he gave them lots of welly. I asked for “Arrivederci Roma”, which was in the air in Rome in the fifties, when I was a little girl, and “Sapore di Mare”, which for me sums up the Italian beach experience. I first heard it in Porto Potenza Piceno, when we were dancing under the stars (ballavamo sotto le stelle) over 20 years ago. Everything romantic happens under the stars in the summer heat of the Italian seaside.

There was no dancing at I Tigli that night, but it was a dreamlike evening. Lucio also played “O Sole Mio ” and a Gianni Morandi number. Heaven! (Just a note: In Bologna I saw the street name “G Morandi”. “Oh look”, said I to the Chelsea Fan, “they’ve named a street after Gianni Morandi.” He kindly pointed out that it was far more likely to be Giorgio Morandi, the Bolognese artist. Hmm … so much for posing as an art-lover. Maybe I should stick to Great Hits of the ’60s.)

You will have guessed that I like San Remo type hits. They are so much more authentically Italian than the Latin-American music which is popular over there now. I like to drift out into the sunset on a wave of sentiment.

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