|Bucita, Calabria ~ 1977|
“But let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”
refugees camped at the Italian-French border. I know that racism exists – I have been treated like a black man at times. Not to take away from the black man’s plight, who is treated like a black man all the time. Just to say, I have had a window into that world, and I cannot imagine how one can live life being treated like that 24/7.
I made friends in the 1970’s with a Hopi elder, from one of the old villages, Oraibi. We corresponded for a time. It was a brief interaction, but one that gave me insight into one of the great indigenous peoples on this world. The people of Hopituskwa see themselves as caretakers of the earth. That lesson has stayed with me all this time.
We immersed ourselves in Apulia, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and their indigenous grapes. In reality it wasn’t emotionally much different from the times I’d go to Hopituskwa and crawl among the villages of Sipaulovi, Shungopavi, Oraibi, Hotevilla and Lower Moenkopi. That same sense of sacred permeates the southern Italian land.
Most of all, the people. I cannot even begin to talk about the wonderful humans I met. From Italy, north and south, from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Holland, Japan, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, Sweden and on. People for whom Italy and Italian wine is their path. My global tribe. So wonderful to be with them, visiting wine regions, tasting wine, eating, swimming, laughing, falling asleep, and being with each other.
Back home, in my little greenhouse world of Italian wine, there aren’t a lot from my tribe here. There are some, but the deeper discussion, the exploration, the collaborative, those are endangered. Oh yes, if you want to post a picture of the five greatest Barolos on your Instagram page, I reckon that is a kind of 21st century communication. But it does nothing for me and it moves not this soul. It’s just another selfie. “Look how big mine is.” Yes, yours is bigger than mine. We’re talking about egos, yes?
Carlo Bevilacqua photographs solitary ones around the world. I've written about him in the past. Like the old vines and the livestock that inhabits the lands of Southern Italy, so too, there are humans who represent the ancient ‘radici’ that makes this place so profuse.
I might romanticize Italy much as the Italians romanticize the American West. I’ve seen the unromantic side of the American West, having lived in it most of my life. Nonetheless, we all have a need to make our little dreams ones that we don’t want to tear ourselves away from, in a sweat, with a start. We all want our sweet dreams. For me, Southern Italy is a window into such a dream. And for the wine lover, this is a profoundly rich immersion, if only for a few days. But I will be back with my trowel and my camera and my unquenchable thirst for my roots.
A huge thank you to Nicola Campanile, Maurizio Gily and Ole Udsen for spearheading the conspiracy and opening doors to finally get me to Radici del Sud. There are many others as well, and further posts will follow in acknowledgement. This is truly a wonderful regional event, and one I hope I can return to again some day.
written and photographed ( in Southern Italy) by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy
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