The mayor Marco Orsola of Saracinesco

Saracinesco and stop, a journey to heaven

It's a rainy and foggy Sunday, but they can't stop my journey towards Saracinesco. I go to meet the dynamic mayor Marco Orsola who also receives on days dedicated to rest.

My Sunday visit is to also include Saracinesco in the project of the Town Ambassador network wanted by the Metropolitan Area of Rome and by Pierluigi Sanna and Alessia Pieretti.

I arrive in the central square after a winding road that seems to penetrate the clouds to reach the sky. I go up the alleys of the village teeming with small construction sites that work on the facades of the houses and I find myself in a small square enclosed between a small church and the peak of the mountain.

I telephone. The mayor Marco Orsola is in his office and comes to pick me up along the stairs. Only in the town hall the fog gives a break to its intrusive presence.

“To lead a municipality of 170 people, you need to have a vision of the future, otherwise you risk becoming a mere condominium administrator. It is necessary to develop a meaning to one's existence”, the mayor immediately tells me as an introduction to our chat.

Saracinesco is a very small town, but it is the center of an intense cultural life. Perhaps one of the most beautiful historical re-enactments of Lazio is held here which recalls the passage of Conradin of Swabia and in fact this is one of the few villages that can boast of descending directly from the great Frederick II.

Ghibellines forever, and the Ghibelline crenelation is also found in the coat of arms of the municipality together with the 2 Moors who tell how the roots of the village are linked to the Arab world, but this is another story.


View of Saracinesco

Although the road ends in the village, which has therefore never been at the center of intersections of commercial and trade routes, the people of Saracinesco have always had many international contacts and women have been taken up by many painters.

The story is simple but compelling, during the winter period, when work in the fields decreased, women went to sell violets in Piazza di Spagna (Spain Square) in Rome wearing their traditional costumes. The painters who enlivened the nearby Margutta Road came to Spain Square precisely to find models and inspiration for their work.

One of them stood out for her class, Vittorina Proietti, thanks to Dannunzio and an education that she gave herself, she became Vittoria Lepanto and was one of the greatest actresses of theater and silent cinema.

For her love for her native village, Vittoria then built a villa in the neo-Gothic style in Saracinesco which still embellishes the village and makes it come alive.

But real life is given by young musicians who have been coming every summer for a couple of months for 11 years to study music in Saracinesco thanks to the Accademia Festival. The country is filled with musical instruments with 6 pianos scattered in various points and music teachers that everyone would dream of meeting.

Each house in the village hosts a teacher or a disciple and musical notes fill the alleys of the historic center with life.

Lectures in the morning and concerts in the evening for everyone to enjoy. I will certainly go back in the summer, this delight lasts from July to September.

And going down I find a wonderful surprise. The sun managed to pierce the clouds and now it shows me all the wonderful panorama of the Aniene Valley up to Rome.

And now I'm going back to Paliano to eat polenta!

Portrait of Vittoria Lepanto by Pietro Scoppetta

The women of Saracinesco

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...

Subscribe to Newsletter

Discover a territory through the emotions of the people that have lived it.