• January/February 2024

    Canzano

    By Nancy DeSanti


    Visitors can enjoy a candlelit dinner below ground in Canzano’s neviera (ice house).
    Credit: eurcamping.it

    Province of Teramo, Region of Abruzzo

    The beautiful small town of Canzano in the province of Teramo has approximately 1,861 inhabitants, known as Canzanesi. It is renowned as one of the centers of traditional Abruzzese cuisine.
    Canzano is located on a group of hills in the northern Vomano valley in a strategic position which explains the importance of this nowadays small center.


    Historians have determined that the territory was inhabited in prehistoric times, and neolithic arrows have been found in the vicinity. During the Iron Age, it was settled by the ancient Italic tribe of Praetutii and later by the Romans.


    The town of Canzano is located on a hill from which one can admire a striking view of the valley below and the chain of the Gran Sasso mountains. The built-up area is made up of noble palaces, 16th century houses, valuable churches, and still very visible remains of the ancient city walls, from which a well-preserved tower stands out. Very striking is a dense network of caves that are true and proper “cold rooms” once used to collect rainwater and to conserve foodstuffs.


    On the Colle Castellano, there stands the splendid baroque church of the Madonna dell’Alno where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared three times to a peasant. On the place of the first apparition, there stands the small church of the “Forgiveness.” In the Romanesque church of San Salvatore, beautiful frescoes from the 14th century are preserved.


    Canzano is famous for its handmade production of lace and embroidery– traditions handed down by the women of the town with passion and patience.


    The town is probably most famous for a traditional recipe passed from generation to generation–the famous “Canzanese turkey” (tacchino alla canzanese). This delicious jelly dish, served with a side of pickles, was almost a casual discovery. The local people realized that turkey broth prepared in the morning became gelatinous towards evening, thus incredibly enhancing the flavor of the meat. The recipe strictly requires the female turkey because its tender meat is more suitable for oven cooking.

    Consolidated over time, the ancient recipe is the undisputed favorite of the restaurant La Tacchinella. With now four generations in command, family owners have been running it since 1970.


    But it is eight meters (26.25 feet) below the restaurant where an ancient wonder dating back to about the year 1100 A.D. can be found — the so-called neviera (ice house). The ice house is an old structure for natural refrigeration, by which meat was once stored using snow. After pressing the snow into straw, which insulated the snow, the result of a combination of snow and straw was then placed inside niches to lower the temperature and to obtain a true and proper cold room. While the air continued to circulate, the temperature was able to go down to zero degrees in winter. When spring arrived, the melted snow was then filtered and held aside as clean water for domestic use, without any waste.


    This thousand-year-old invention was brought to Canzano by the Saracens, as portrayed in the emblem of the town, and it represents a living testimony of ancient technology. Today, besides being a wine cellar, the ice house is an enchanted place where visitors can enjoy an exclusive candlelit dinner, eight meters under the ground and a thousand years back in time.

    What to See

    • Remains of the medieval walls with a majestic circular tower.
    • Church of Madonna dell’Alno, from the 16th century, with Renaissance and Baroque paintings.
    • Church of San Salvatore, outside the walls, with a stone portal and 14th-century frescos, including one depicting St. Louis of France, the Crusaders’ patron.
    • Sancti Petri ad Palustrium, a small 12th-century church.

    Important Dates

    • February 3 – Feast of San Biagio, the patron saint of the town.
    • May 18-20 – Celebration of Madonna dell’Alno.
    • July 26 – Celebration of Sant’Anna, patron saint of women giving birth.
    • First week in August – Exhibition of ancient and contemporary lacework, and Sagra of the Canzanese Tacchino.
    • August – Exhibition of antique agricultural machines.
    • August – Rendezvous of classical and antique motorcycles.
    Sources:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canzano
    https://www.italyheritage.com/regions/abruzzo/teramo/canzano.htm
    https://www.eurcamping.it/en/excursions/canzanos-ice-house-a-journey-back-in-time
    https://www.discoverteramo.it/en/Location/Canzano/180-15-1.html




    Italiano

    Tradotto da Ennio Di Tullio

    Provincia di Teramo, Regione Abruzzo

    La bellissima cittadina di Canzano nella provincia di Teramo ha circa 1.861 abitanti, detti Canzanesi. È rinomato come uno dei centri della cucina tradizionale abruzzese.

    Canzano è situato su un gruppo di colline nel nord valle del Vomano in una posizione strategica che spiega l’importanza di questo piccolo centro oggi.

    Gli storici hanno stabilito che il territorio era abitato in epoca preistorica e nelle vicinanze sono state rinvenute frecce neolitiche. Durante l’età del ferro, fu colonizzato dall’antica tribù italica dei Praetutii e successivamente dai Romani.

    Il comune di Canzano è situato su un colle dal quale si può ammirare un suggestivo panorama sulla valle sottostante e sulla catena del Gran Sasso montagne. L’abitato è costituito da palazzi nobiliari, case cinquecentesche, chiese di pregio, e resti ancora ben visibili dell’antica cinta muraria, da cui svetta una torre ben conservata. Molto suggestiva è la fitta rete di grotte che sono vere e proprie “celle frigorifere” un tempo utilizzate per raccogliere l’acqua piovana e conservare le derrate alimentari.

    Sul Colle Castellano ci sorge la splendida chiesa barocca della Madonna dell’Alno dove, secondo la leggenda, la Vergine Maria apparve tre volte ad un contadino. Sul luogo della prima apparizione, ci sorge la piccola chiesa del “Perdono”. Nella chiesa romanica di San Salvatore, ci sono conservati bellissimi affreschi del XIV secolo.

    Canzano è famosa per la produzione artigianale di pizzi e ricami, tradizioni tramandate dalle donne del paese con passione e pazienza.

    La comune è probabilmente famosa soprattutto per una ricetta tradizionale tramandata da generazione a generazione: il famoso “tacchino alla canzanese” (canzanese turkey). Questa deliziosa gelatina, servita con un contorno di sottaceti, è stata quasi una scoperta casuale. La gente del posto si accorse che il brodo di tacchino preparato al mattino divenava gelatinoso verso la sera, così esaltava incredibilmente il sapore della carne. La ricetta richiede rigorosamente la femmina di tacchino perché la sua carne tenera è più adatta alla cottura al forno. Consolidata nel tempo, l’antica ricetta è la preferita indiscussa del ristorante La Tacchinella. Con ormai quattro generazioni al comando, la famiglia proprietaria lo gestisce dal 1970.

    Ma è otto metri (26.25 piedi) sotto il ristorante che si nasconde un’antica meraviglia risalente al 1100 D.C.: la cosiddetta neviera (ghiacciaia). La ghiacciaia è una antica struttura per refrigerazione naturale, dove un tempo la carne veniva conservata utilizzando la neve. Dopo averlo pressato la neve nella paglia, che isolava la neve, la risulta di una combinazione di neve e paglia veniva poi riposto all’interno di nicchie per abbassare la temperatura e ottenere una vera e propria cella frigorifera. Mentre l’aria continuava a circolare, la temperatura poteva scendere fino a zero gradi in inverno. Quando la primavera arrivava, la neve sciolta veniva poi filtrata e tenuta da parte como aqua polita per l’uso domestico, senza alcuno spreco.

    Questa invenzione millenaria fu portata a Canzano dai Saraceni, come raffigurato nello stemma del comune, e rappresenta una testimonianza vivente di antica tecnologia. Oggi, oltre ad essere una cantina, la ghiacciaia è un luogo incantato dove i visitatori possono godersi un’esclusiva cena a lume di candela, otto metri sotto la terra e mille anni indietro nel tempo.

    Attrazioni del luogo:

    • Resti delle mura medievali con una maestosa torre circolare.
    • Chiesa della Madonna dell’Alno, del XVI secolo, con dipinti rinascimentali e barocchi.
    • Chiesa di San Salvatore, fuori le mura, con portale in pietra e affresci del XIV secolo, tra cui uno raffigurante S. Luigi di Francia, mecenate dei crociati.
    • Sancti Petri ad Palustrium, piccola chiesa del XII secolo.

    Date da ricordare:

    • 3 febbraio – Festa di San Biagio, il patrono del comune.
    • 18-20 maggio – Festa della Madonna dell’Alno.
    • 26 luglio – Festa di Sant’Anna, patrona delle partorienti.
    • Prima settimana di agosto – Mostra di merletti antichi e contemporanei e Sagra della Tacchino Canzanese.
    • Agosto – Mostra mercato di macchine agricole antice.
    • Agosto – Appuntamento di motociclette classiche e antice.
    Sources:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castel_di_Sangro
    https://www.italyreview.com/castel-di-sangro.html
    https://www.gentlemanultra.com/2015/04/07/from-miracle-to-disappearance-what-happened-to-castel-di-sangro/ 
    https://www.afar.com/magazine/italys-new-alt-stazione-rest-stops-serve-michelin-cred-food

    January/February 2024

  • January/February 2024

    Siamo Una Famiglia

    SiamoUnaFamiglia_icon

    AMHS President Chris Renneker (center) enjoyed Italian Heritage Night at the Washington Wizards on January 25 at the Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, D.C. Chris and friends Ravi Ganesh (left) and Jason Sabatelle had dinner at Matchbox before the game.
    Credit: Ravi Ganesh
    About 10 AMHS members and friends met for happy hour at Grazie Mille for some really good cocktails and appetizers, plus friendship and laughs. Pictured are AMHS members (starting second from left) Melis Mull, Board Member Mark Lino and Sarah Scott, along with friends Anastasia (far left) and Tiffany (right).
    Credit: Maria D’Andrea-Yothers
    Some 20 AMHS members, family and friends gathered at A Modo Mio in Arlington on February 25 for a group lunch. Conversation and fellowship flowed freely as everyone enjoyed the restaurant’s excellent food.
    Credit: Courtesy of Maria D’Andrea-Yothers

    January/February 2024

  • January/February 2024

    AMHS Elects New Officers and Board Members

    At its general meeting on November 19, 2023, members of the Abruzzo Molise Heritage Society of the Washington, DC Area elected a new slate of officers and Executive Board members.

    The elected officers and board members assumed office on January 1, 2024, and will be installed at the general membership meeting to be held on January 28, 2024.

    Elected to two-year terms at the November meeting were:

    President, Christopher Renneker
    Second Vice President-Membership, Americo “Rico” Allegrino
    Secretary, Joseph “Sonny” Scafetta, Jr.

    The following officers have graciously agreed to continue serving in their current positions for another year.

    First Vice President-Programs, Nancy DeSanti
    Treasurer, Peter Bell

    Elected to three-year terms on the Society’s Board of Directors were:

    Anthony Andreoli
    Maria D’Andrea-Yothers

    In addition, Mark Lino, whose term on the board expired at the end of 2023, has generously agreed to serve for another year.

    Mark Lino

    For photos and bios of all AMHS officers and board members, click here.


    January/February 2024

  • January/February 2024

    A Message from the President

    I am very honored to have been elected to be the AMHS President. I want to start by thanking Ray LaVerghetta for his service as President and for the service of all the board members and officers whose terms ended January 1st. As a volunteer organization, we are only able to exist due to the generosity and immense talent of those who serve on the board and in officer positions. 

    To recap our recent events, our annual wine tasting was on November 19th. As long-term members we now have been trying some different formats for this event and the most recent iteration was a tremendous success. The wine tasting was followed by our December holiday lunch at Osteria da Nino where we were treated to a delicious multi-course meal and great camaraderie. We were also reminded of the Monongah coal mining disaster, the anniversary of which was near to the date of our lunch. Lucio D’Andrea delivered a very informative short lesson on the importance of this event and the connection to our regions of focus. 

    In the upcoming year, we have several great events and activities planned. We will be bringing back the virtual film discussion series on January 14th with Jim Toscano. We will be starting with a discussion about a documentary on the Malocchio (Evil Eye). Our first Sunday luncheon will take place on January 28th when ancient coin expert, Michael Markowitz, whose mother was Italian, will speak to us about the evolution of Roman coinage from lumps of metal in 300 B.C. to gold Imperial coins in 476 A.D.

    In February, our members will have a chance to visit the Kennedy Center for a performance by Italian-American comedian, Matteo Lane. Also in February, we will be having our first happy hour of the year. We will visit the recently opened and much acclaimed cocktail bar Grazie Mille (One Thousand Thanks). We also have a virtual genealogical event scheduled for March 10th. 

    As we start the new year, I look forward to continuing the successes of the society and laying the foundation for AMHS to be successful well into the future. If there are any ideas or improvements that you would like to share, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

    Best wishes for the new year!,
    Chris Renneker 


    January/February 2024

  • January/February 2024

    Expert to Discuss Evolution of Roman Coinage

    By Nancy DeSanti, 1st Vice President-Programs



    Michael Markowitz

    For the first AMHS program of the new year, members will be treated to an informative and entertaining talk, “Show Me the Money!” on January 28, 2024, at 1:30 p.m. The speaker, Michael Markowitz, is an expert on Roman coins. He will tell us all about the evolution of Roman coinage from lumps of metal in 300 B.C. to gold Imperial coins in 476 A.D. 

    Mike, who gave us a virtual talk last July, was born in New York City. His mother’s side of the family is Italian, while his father’s ancestors emigrated from Romania. Mike attended the University of Rochester, then the University of California, Irvine. He worked for many years in the aerospace industry in southern California before moving in 1991 to northern Virginia where he is a senior research specialist for the Center for Naval Analyses.

    He is a contributing writer on ancient and medieval coins for CoinWeek.com and a member of the Ameran Numismatic Society and the Ancient Numismatic Society of Washington, D.C. He also serves on the board of directors of the Fairfax Coin Club. Mike said that one of his most memorable times was spending an afternoon inside the coin vault of the archaeological museum in Siracusa, Sicily. 

    So, if you want to fight off the winter blues, come join us for a fun afternoon of camaraderie, a delicious catered lunch, and an entertaining and informative talk.

    Please invite your family members and friends and make your reservations early. The deadline for reservations is January 25, 2024. To go to the registration page, click here.


    January/February 2024