Home / 2022 / Settembre

In the Nineteenth century there were nine-hundred water mills throughout Umbria. This incredible quantity of mills is explained with our region’s abundance of important waterways, above all the Tiber river, allowing their flourishing since ancient times. The number of mills peeked in the Middle Ages with great impact on the rural scenery and on the regions’ economy, bestowing the nickname of Masters of Medieval times. At the end of the XIX and XX centuries, with the industrial revolution, the water mills were upgraded with electrical energy allowing an increase in production: the first industrial pasta plants were born, right next to the old mills.

In the neighborhood of Le Basse in Bastia Umbra, next to the flour mill, an industrial plant for the production of pasta was raised in the twenties: Petrini. Their products were sold with the Spigadoro brand since the beginning. The production plant, modern and efficient, capable of producing 15-20 metric quintals of pasta a day, established itself both on the regional and extra-regional markets. The allied bombing of 1944 completely destroyed the mill and large part of the pasta plant, but production was only momentarily halted thanks to the quick investments of the owners. In the fifties new machinery built by Brabanti in Milan allowed the production to reach 18 metric tons of pasta a day. A new section was added for the production of livestock feed, which will eventually become the driving sector. In 1990 the business was listed among the top 500 in the world, until, in the late nineties, the pasta plant came to a halt and production was transferred to the pasta plant in Foligno, leaving Bastia Umbra with just the livestock feed plant. In 2014, Giuseppe Podella, owner of a flour mill in Jesi, bought and revamped the Spigadoro brand: today the pasta is sold in fifty countries and in five continents.


Photo by Massimiliano Tuveri


The Ponte flour mill and pasta plant bares the curse of many Tiber river floodings and fires. With its reconstruction after a fire on November 12th, 1899, the new flour mill and advanced pasta plant was inaugurated in the Perugia suburb of Ponte San Giovanni – on a project of the Coen&Cavicchi firm which had bought out the previous owner, Serafino Bonaca, back in 1886. In 1907 it undergoes a new change in management, becoming the Anonymous Society of Ponte Flour Mill and Pasta Makers: the plant is enlarged, bringing production up to 25 metric quintals of pasta a day – peeking 7 tons a day in the twenties. The mill will withstand another destructive fire in March of 1940 and the Allied bombings. On its one-hundredth anniversary in 1947 the packaging is redesigned, and the product rebranded with the name Ponte. In 1985, after the Mignini family sells to Danone the majority of the shares, Ponte was the fifth largest pasta business in the world. On June 12th, 1990 another aggressive fire destroys all and the plant was razed to the ground on March 22nd, 1991.

In 1930, Colombo Cappelletti bought a tiny flour mill across from the Ponterio train station in Todi, and decides to turn into an industrial pasta plant, commissioning the project and construction to the Perugia-born architect Dino Lilli. Through ups and downs, the plant continued production until 1944, when a terribly intense bombing in the night between June 14th and June 15th razes it to the ground. The mill was rebuilt and reopened in 1949 under the name of Molini & Pastificio Cappelletti with great success. But with the death of Camillo Cappelletti the mill slowly dies down. In 1955, the businessmen Guglielmo Battaglia and Antonio Ribaldi try to revamp the company but without avail and the plant is closed in 1960.

Photo by ISUC

Dark plates, haughty looks, smoky images; eyes that seem to penetrate the observer. The photographer carefully handles the panels, wearing chemical gloves, and soaks them in wondrous solutions. All the bystanders observe with curiosity what happens inside the bowl, waiting for the images to take shape. And then, just under their anxious eyes, haughty, eternal looks emerge from the translucent liquid.

Photo by Stefano Fasi

Wet collodion photographs and the ancient arts of the Lake Trasimeno are the protagonists of L’Amore ai Tempi del Collodio (Love in the Time of Collodion). This initiative was born from the collaboration of three friends – Marco Pareti, Rosanna Milone, and Stefano Fasi – with a passion for Lake Trasimeno. They decided to immortalize what makes the place so special, that is the people – their work and everyday life, especially.
From people of the lake, the three are trying to create a sort of collective memory. In fact, Love at the Time of Collodion is the second of a series of social and cultural initiatives, entitled Trasimeno in Dialogo (Trasimeno in Conversation). The project started in 2017, to promote fundraising that would allow the restoration of one of the symbols of the lake. In May, 2017, the barchetto (small boat) – the last specimen of this kind of boat used for trawling – went up in flames. One year later – thanks to the insurance payment and to the money raised from the sale of the Calendario dell’Estate (Summer Calendar) – the uscio (threshold) was built, and the restoration began.

The second edition of the calendar focused on wet collodion photographs. This technique had two variants: the ambrotipo (ambrotype) – which was on glass – and the tintype – on iron or aluminum sheets, or on polished tin. During the second half of the eighteenth century, the technique became synonymous with photography all over the world.
The three friends armed themselves with a cherry wood Astoria, dated 1852, and took pictures of fishermen, lace makers, boats restorers, basket and fishing net weavers, stone-cutters, and farmers. All those who are the last living proof of ancient arts; those men and women from the lake posed patiently for hours, to make that act of love come true.
Wet collodion photographs require a long and meticulous preparation. Plates must be treated a few seconds before and developed soon after the photograph has been taken. In fact, the camera obscura must be set up on site, and that’s why Stefano, Rosanna and Marco travel by RV. On board they can mix powders with acids, obtaining timeless pictures that are unique in their imperfection.
Each panel features interviews and backstage shots; postcards, calendars, and publications show a huge historical and anthropological heritage..

The beauty of Perugia doesn’t come from her majestic monuments or impressive squares, but from the personal experience that is felt by walking through the alleys of her historical centre.

Saint Ercolano church

Wandering the city’s streets, it’s possible to end up being in wonderful corners with stunning landscapes that are captured by lots of tourists, arrived in the city exactly for this peculiarity. As an unrepeatable treasure hunt of amazing and unique views, inspiration for paintings by all the ages’ artists.

In the frescoes of the Priori Chapel, a chapel inner the National Gallery of Umbria, it’s portrayed the pictorial cycle of Saint Ludovico da Tolosa and Saint Ercolano lives, by the Perugian artist Benedetto Bonfigli. The episodes of Saint Ercolano’s life, one of the three patrons of Perugia, show a representation of the city in the fifteen century, with the numerous towers not yet destroyed. Even if the landscape it’s different from today, some elements are still recognizable.

The episode La presa di Perugia da parte di Totila [Totila’s siege of Perugia] features the Goti conquer of the city and the martyrdom of Saint Ercolano, whose burial is portrayed on the lower right, just in front of the well identifiable façade of the homonymous church.



La presa di Perugia da parte di Totila [Totila’s siege of Perugia], by Benedetto Bonfigli

The next episode, Prima traslazione del corpo di Sant’Ercolano dalla prima sepoltura alla Basilica di San Pietro [Translation to San Pietro], shows the displacement of the Saint obsequies from the Saint Ercolano church to the Saint Peter cathedral, with a huge procession. In this fresco is possible to see in the foreground, on the right, the red and white façade and the impressive bell tower of the Saint Peter cathedral.

Translation to San Pietro, by Benedetto Bonfigli

While, on the centre of the background, it’s visible the basilica church of Saint Domenico with his famous stained-glass window and the bell tower, whose upper part was demolished after the Rocca Paolina construction. Another example of a Renaissance representation of Perugia, it’s portrayed in the panel Gonfalone della Giustizia by the most famous Perugian artist, Il Perugino. In this painting, which is now in the National Gallery of Umbria, it’s seen, in the foreground, a view of the Porta Eburnea district, one of the five districts of the historical centre of Perugia, as a beautiful postcard from the sixteen century.

Gonfalone della Giustizia by Il Perugino

One of the most famous Perugian landmark is the Rocca Paolina. Built by the will of Pope Paolo III Farnese, from whom it takes the name, was erected between 1540 and 1543, as an emblem of the Pope supremacy over the city. After the annexation of Perugia in the kingdom of Italy, it was gradually destroyed, till the small portion visible today. Two little paintings of the Perugian artist Giuseppe Rossi, that are now in the National Gallery of Umbria, show the majesty and the impressiveness of the fortress that, before the demolition, englobed all the southside of the city.

It’s interesting how little it’s remained of the original structure: the Pope Palace, at the top right of the board, it’s today replaced by Piazza Italia, Giardini Carducci and Palazzo della Prefettura. While the so-called Tenaglia [Pincer], at the bottom left, stood in the place where today there is Piazza Partigiani.

The pictorial representation of Perugia’s beauties it’s not an exclusive prerogative of Perugian artists, but it’s seen also in foreign artists or artists that come from other parts of Italy that, after a long-term residence, fell in love with the city and portrayed it in fascinating paintings.

Arco Etrusco, by Luigi Marzo

Luigi Marzo is an artist from the area of Salento who, after coming to Perugia to study at the university, had been enchanted by the city, and decided to remain to live there. In the small expressionistic painting called Arco Etrusco, he represents one of the landmarks of the city, the north gate of the Etruscan wall. Marzo chose to portray the Arch focusing not on an accurate and objective representation but expressing through the painting his sensations and emotions over the place illustrated. The result is an intimate and personal artwork. The little painting by the Dutch artist Christian Seebauer, shows a view of Perugia from the Pincetto zone. Comparing the picture to a photograph, the confrontation is surprising. The punctuality ad accuracy with whom the painter has depicted all the details is really remarkable and demonstrates the admiration of Seebauer for the city, grown during his studies at the University for Foreigners of Perugia.


Perugia, Christian Seebauer


The last suggested painting belongs to Valerio Lombardelli, aka Wallas, an artist from the city of Pesaro. The print, titled Perugia, Quando Scende La Notte, Si Accendono Le Luci E Inizia Lo Spettacolo Dell’amore [Perugia, when the night falls, the lights come on and the show of love begins], represents the most emblematic place of the city, the IV November Square, with the Major Fountain and the staircase of the Priori Palace. The work, part of a series of paintings dedicated to the city, presents the typical characteristics of the artist’s style, with bright and unnatural colours and a light sight despite the starry night. A dual representation, intimate and explosive, that proposes herself as an invitation to visit Perugia.
The illustration of Perugia’s monuments and landscapes doesn’t end with these few examples, there are countless paintings and drawings by more or less famous artists that, every year, engage in the city representation.
A pure and simple act of love, a gratitude gesture to a city that hosted them and made them feel home. In fact, whether it’s writing, music or painting, art is a necessary expression of feelings, and there’s nothing that inspires more than a beautiful view.


Perugia, Quando Scende La Notte, Si Accendono Le Luci E Inizia Lo Spettacolo Dell’amore [Perugia, when the night falls, the lights come on and the show of love begins], Wallas

The artistic duo Matteo Peducci from Castiglione del Lago and Sienese Mattia Savini met because of their love for sculpture, a passion both pursue after graduating from the Fine Arts Academy of Carrara in 2007. But Affiliati Peducci Savini isn’t simply the name of their partnership, it is also the name for their place of art: a decommissioned quarry of pink limestone in the hills of Assisi, now home to their white creatures, where they both live and work and which has become their ideal place of research and experimentation. They transform marble with ability and craftsmanship, reproducing the other materials with striking resemblance, proving the versatility of the marble here molded to imitate materials like paper, polystyrene, wood or plastic, to an estranging effect, suggesting just how deceptive reality can be.

Peducci e Savini, foto di Claudia Ioan

By a deep knowledge of the classical canons, sculpture is directed towards new interpretations, enhancing the nobility of the material with a witty sense of humor. Research and experimentation are the hinges of this artistic duo, who have turned an important laboratory into a bustling art-studio, retrieving the single specializations and pausing on each step of the artistic process, from the extraction of the marble to the final levigating of the stone. An ideal dimension, resembling the old botteghe (art workshops), where the ancient knowledge and work is taught in direct contact with the maestro.

The craft foresees great teamwork, with specialists for each step, from molding clay to polishing the finished stone-work; the demand for professional artisans arose and a proper school of sculpture was founded. Peducci and Savini, after many years spent working in Italy and abroad, sculpting artworks for the king of Thailand and collaborating with important artists, such as Cattelan, Penone and Jan Fabre, since 2014 have also worked closely with the Research Center of the Normale di Pisa University, developing new technologies for electroplating and electro-sculpture, used for their metal artworks – and studying the geopolymers.

The reality created by Peducci and Savini embodies the Magnum Opus – in alchemy, the process of manufacture and transformation of matter, material and spiritual metamorphosis into purification. They are sculptors who search for new perspective and new application within contemporary art, recovering the values that made it indispensable.