Aronne
“If you used to go down the Cordone street or up the hill onto Via della Cava, on the right, right after the church, you could turn onto Via della Commenda where, at number 4, there was an ancient “Hostaria”…
You would enter the place and, while you were thinking that was a private home, Aronne would show up, a tall and strong man: he would let you sit and you would feel you had gotten to a special place, under his protection. Soon the Orvieto wine made you happier. With his intense voice, Aronne would guide you through the charming and interesting history and tales of Orvieto.

The environment was confidential, intimate, with amazing smells coming from the kitchen, people and words’s warmth, guitar tunes: everything would distort the time. At Aronne’s you would know when you were going to arrive, but never when you were going to leave. Aronne is still part of a magic past and of that conception of the World that people nowaday tend to delete and forget very quickly: the rural World, that of our areas, in between the two World Wars – Aronne was born in 1914 – areas deeply rural and poor.

The majority of the population back then was employed in the agricultural field: an army of people with no land used to work the fields of the local landlords with no guarantee and safety at all. From this World Aronne came, and from this World he had learnt how to deal with life and people. His love for literature and poetry came from far away. His father had fed his imagination and fantasy; with him he had taken a long journey over the Alfina plateau, looking for ancient features, guided by his narration. There he had met the Etruscan warrior and had discovered the “covo del brigante”.

The Manassei Library, then, was one of Aronne’s favorite places, where he used to go and read as much as possible. He would travel through farmers’ houses, with neither light and water, where the long winter was warmed up by the big fire place with a huge boiling pot. In the kitchen, the only room for the day, the old black fireplace, whois oxygenation was taken care of by the broken windows and doors, was a special magic place that used to put in touch many magic elements and tales. Often Aronne would bring a book with himself and used to read it for the whole family.

His favorite books were ‘Cuore’ and ‘Pinocchio’, and he was able to make anyone cry by telling those stories. Also, Aronne used to live in a fairy tale, which led him to become a fantastic storyteller. His trattoria-tavern-hostaria was a home, his home, warm and welcoming, a rural fairytale location, still immersed in an old Medieval building, where rich people’s houses used to surround it, there, near Porta Maggiore.

The Cava street, where middle class citizens used to live, people from the city and the countryside, used to go to Aronne’s for breakfast with his anis biscuits, special recipe from Elvira, or for lunch to eat a steak and some happiness. “… And we used to go to Aronne because we were liberals and we could easily talk about revolution. ‘Cause we felt as one with the ancient people of Via Cava, in these narrow alleys, among the ancient smell of fire and wood, drying clothes, and smells coming from the small workshops and the tufa cellars.

But most of all we used to go to Aronne’s because we felt like home, a strange charming home. A little buzzed by the wine, he – a non drinker host – was ready to serve you with his flask in his hand, and used to tell us fantastic stories in his ancient and full of music Orvietan dialect. While in the other room, in the kitchen, his women used to chat: his wife, his daughters, the neighbors, all talking about daily life and politics. Also students used to come listen to him. A teacher from Merano (northern Italy) would not miss a year with her students, in order to make them listen to his stories and voice. Stories such as the one about Pia De’ Tolomei or the tragic adventure of Count Faina”.