Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Village Hall in Calzolaro

Saturday 10th of February was a very special day for the village of Calzolaro where La Preghiera Country House Estate is located. The new Village Hall was inaugurated with a very lively party for all ages; the ribbon was cut by the Mayor of Città di Castello and television and journalists were also present.
The building was decorated with balloons and streamers, there was music and the local magician was in attendance, there was copious home-made food, including local Umbrian carnival delicacies, castagnole, sweet fried dough balls coated with masses of locally produced honey, and fiocchi, pastry bows coated with icing sugar and sprinkled with alchermes liqueur, which was introduced into this area by local people returning to visit their families during the 1950’s and 60’s, who had left to work in the then more prosperous areas of Nice or the Piemont.
Our new Village Hall took several years to build, as the work force was completely made up of local people giving their time for free, to include the planning of the project, all the building of the site and the finishing and equipping, and we are all very grateful for this.
Local government granted 250.000 Euro for this project, and a greater amount was obtained with the combined effort and fund raising done by the local people, the shop-keepers and the businesses in Calzolaro and their friends.
Proud and happy guides gave tours of the lovely spacious bright building, which consists of two large rooms on two levels, one of which can seat over 500 people, for celebration dinners or special occasions, huge kitchens with state of the art equipment, ample store-rooms and facilities.
A lovely surprise for everyone are the walls of the great hall adorned with pictures which have their own story….., please read on!
In the early 1980’s when Calzolaro was ony a small village, a yearly art exhibition and competition took place, and artists from the local towns and cities were invited to participate and present work depicting the village and its surrounding countryside. The winners were awarded a money prize, and in exchange, they left their paintings to the village. This event lasted four years, after which the pictures were put into storage.
On the occasion of the opening of the new Village Hall, the beautifully framed oils and water-colours were brought to light again and hung on its walls, treasure brought back to life for the older members of the community, many of whom had forgotten all about them, and unknown treasure discovered for everyone else, who are either too young to know about them, or newcomers to the village who learnt about the exhibition of years gone by.
We are all very priviledged to be able to share these prize winning works of art painted over 25 years ago, and now permanently on view, some of the authors of wich have now become renouned!
Liliana Tunstill – Feb. 2007