Affile Giampiero Frosoni, Claudia Bettiol, Ercole Viri

Affile, the land of children and surprises

The road to Affile is uphill and seems to lead to the high mountains but at a certain point I arrive in a small plateau with a landscape of cypresses, olive groves and vineyards. But are we really on the Affilani Mountains?

Is there perhaps a climate bubble that brought me back to the valley without knowing it?

I walk along an orderly tree-lined avenue that takes me to the beginning of the town and arrive by car in a beautiful square full of life, small restaurants and a medieval church made with irregular stones with an open door. I decide to enter.

From the outside it is a simple building, but as soon as I cross the door I enter a work of art, an emotion like that immersive reality. Only this one is real. From the ceiling in wooden beams with decorated majolica to the frescoed walls.

I'm here for the Town Ambassador network project with the Rome Metropolitan Area and I discover wonders every day. I only knew Affile for the wine, and among other things in my vineyard in Paliano I planted the Cesanese di Affile, and I had passed by several times on my way to Subiaco and the Aniene Valley.

Affile is a watershed, it seems to belong to no one and yet it surprises.

I leave the church to go to the town hall where I meet the mayor Ercole Viri and the deputy mayor Giampiero Frosoni. The first thing they proudly tell me is that Affile is the town of centenarians and many scholars come to try to understand the reason: "We also have a centenarian in Seattle and her niece always keeps us informed of her health".

Affile liqueur factory
Affile view

The project is very popular and it is important to have a town that produces quality wine, the Cesanese di Affile DOC, so that we can then present a basket of a variety of local products from our territories.

And while I've thrown the stone, I leave them and go out to take pictures in the historic centre. I am surprised by the presence of so many butchers, and they are all open. The ancient village is alive and while I take some photos, I also get advice on what to go and photograph.

At one point I read 'Liquorificio' (liquor factory) and I think it's a thing of the past, but a gentleman tells me: "Ring the bell, it's an active company and they will answer you. I didn't see Mauro go out so he must be inside”.

I wait and think they were joking when a smiling young man opens me and immediately says: "we are the smallest distillery in Italy and I have been making liqueurs for 4 generations!".

His is not a local accent and he tells me that the micro-enterprise is made up of him and his wife who is in the back room bottling. He comes from San Leo in Romagna near Rimini (and the name Ariminum of a liqueur recalls his origins) and his wife comes from the Tuscan Maremma.

They have chosen to move to this village and are happy. “This is the town of children. There are so many and here we have chosen to grow ours who have always been free to move around the alleys of the centre. At Carnival the squares were full of children”.

It is the second town where I find smiles, it also happened to me in Canterano two weeks ago when everyone smiled and said they were happy. Today I find the same words, the same smiles and the people who proudly tell me about their beauties on the street.

Maybe we have to start over from these villages. Perhaps the first internationalization will have to be done in our homes.

And in another article I will tell you the story of Marco and Antonella and the refinement of their liqueur which they called 'Gnorante': a true oxymoron for this explosion of perfumes.

In the meantime, I'm going back to Paliano and enjoying my desk on the lawn with a view of the Sacco Valley.

Affile liqueur factory
Affile view

Written by:
Claudia Bettiol

Engineeer, futurist, joint founder of Energitismo and founder of Discoverplaces. Consultant for the development and promotion of the Touristic Development of Territories specialising in...

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