by Rina FERRARELLI - A POEM ABOUT SAN GIOVANNI
Hometown - by Francesco
Giovanni in Fiore (1050 mt. about
sea level) is a small medieval town in the Sila
mountain range in Calabria. It
has a population of 20.000, but half of them have
emigrated to other places.
When and who founded San Giovanni
San Giovanni in Fiore was founded in the
XIII century around the
Florens Abbey which was built
da Fiore, a medieval mystic and Cistercian monk,
who wrote a lot of books about the prophecy of the
salvation of the human race; for
which he was very renowend even that time. Dante
in the Divine Comedy decribed him as one "endowend
whith prophetic spirit".
San Giovanni in Fiore today
In the poem My
FERRARELLI describes the nostalgia she feels
for the hometown and her pride in her roots, also
she talks about how the old
town is full of unused empty houses
which were built by past generations of people from
San Giovanni in Fiore for their children, but their
children have never come back to San Giovanni in
Fiore to live in these houses.
Mediterranean Culture: Cultural
antropologic and urbanistic disaster for a History
of italians and florenses mass emigration
View of modern San Giovanni in Fiore
Photography: Gaetano Mascaro, 2003
In the first chapter of the essay of "The
restless alliance between psychopathology and
and reflections of an experience on the field)"
- drawn of the "I fogli di Oriss",
N 1, on 1993 - the Dr.
Salvatore INGLESE wrote: My
first impression was that of a place contained on
him self, wrapped around an invisible, monastic
and claustrophobic secret.
I don't see a positive future for San
Giovanni in Fiore unless there a change of political
class and the development of the tourist industry.
tradition, in the course of the
History, the woven is the one that characterized the
handicraft production of San
Giovanni in Fiore, with bedspreads and trousseaus
with strongly coloured geometrical motifs,
some directly inspired by those of the hellenic
colonists who in their turn had
been instructed by Persian craftsmen. It’s useless
to say that, beyond small sporadic examples,
currently this tradition is practically extinct.
Despite its rich history and natural beauty
San Giovanni in Fiore today is in a
state of economic and cultural ruin, beacause of mass
emigration, political degradation and the
failure of traditional culture.
The old medieval town
on a steep mountainside
which boasts as its founder
spirito profetico dotato”
whom Dante put in the Paradiso
stayed the same until WWII
surviving it unscathed,
but now, even here,
narrow three story houses
fill every vacant space
and every garden
every single one
has been paved
made into a road or parking lot.
What’s amazing, though,
is not the greed
or the need to take part
in the twentieth century,
but the trust,
the confidence in the future.
The wars are forgotten,
the hunger, i padroni.
Maybe for the first
time in history,
even here it’s America.
Rina FERRARELLI was born in San Giovanni in Fiore but she emigrated to USA vhen she was
She has published a chapbook, Dreamsearch
(Malafemmina Press, 1992), and a full-length book of
original poems, Home Is a Foreign Country (Eadmer
Press, 1996); her translation Light without Motion
received the Italo Calvino Prize. Her work
has also appeared in many journals and anthologies,
including American Sports Poems (Orchard Books, 1988), Artful Dodge, Chelsea, Hudson
Review, and International Quarterly. She
teaches English and translation theory at the University of Pittsburgh.
Francesco Saverio Alessio in San Giovanni
in Fiore - background: one of his architectural
TALERICO - copyright