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«I’m an entertainer who offers dance music, I do not like being tied to a single genre. I love Umbria for its culture and for the ability to maintain its own peculiarities».

I send a message to DJ Ralf to plan the interview with a bit of apprehension –  something that rarely happens to me – but we are talking about Ralf. As a teenager I watched him many times (from a certain distance and in the dark) stood behind the console like a sort of untouchable deity of music. So I was quite excited. He answeres immediately to my text: “You can call me now, if you want, I have just came back from the spa”. We begins to chat, and I discover a Ralf, or rather an Antonio or Antonello Ferrari (all his names), unexpected and very close to Umbria. Born in Bastia Umbra and grown up in Sant’Egidio, dj Ralf does not need any introduction, he “made” dance – and he still does – millions of people allover the world, a true icon of night clubbing since 1987.


Dj Ralf

The first question is customary: what is your link with Umbria?

It is a very intense link, in fact, I have always remained here, despite Umbria has not a well organized trasportation system and I usually travel a lot due to work. I live near Lake Trasimeno and I have never thought about changing, even when it would have been more useful to live in a city with much more opportunities. Perugia and Umbria are very lively places from a cultural and musical point of view. So beyond the love that I have for my land, there is a real pleasure in living in a place with a strong presence of artistic expressions.

Why are you called Ralf?

It comes from the animated cartoon Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf that I used to watch with my friend Laura, at that time, I attended the first year of the middle school. I looked like the dog Sam, because of my long hair in front of the eyes were exactly like its. This dog used to greet the wolf saying: “Hello Ralph!”. I was very fond of this animated cartoon and everyone started to call me “Ralf”.  I became Ralf before being dj Ralf.

Why did you decide to use it also in your profession?

It’s not something that I really decided: I started playing and everyone already knew me as Ralf. This nickname has brought me luck, my wife – we got married last year after over 30 years of engagement – has always called me Ralf, but if I came back I would use my real name: Antonio Ferrari.

How much Antonio is similar to Ralf?

It’s not an alter ego even if I’ve often thought of doing something using my real name, but I’ve never done,  but who knows … I’m still young! Antonio is a nice name, but the last person who called me like that was my elementary school teacher because everyone always called me Antonello. I had an uncle priest and since there isn’t a saint called Antonello, I was registered as Antonio, but at that point my family always called me Antonello. From the first year of middle school I have become Ralf.

Many names mean many personalities?

I have many names but I am only one, even if each of us has different personalities.

From your console, how did you consider changes in Umbria during these these years, both on a social and musical level?

There have been changes to the same extent that there have been in other places. For example, as far as music is concerned, Umbria has very special events, which have become a real Italian heritage and not only. I talk of Umbria Jazz, of the “Festival dei Due Mondi” of Spoleto, of the Music Festival of Todi, of the Festival of Nations in Città di Castello and of the last UniverseAssisi, all very interesting realities. Not to mention the classical music by the “Amici della musica” of Perugia. Umbria has both cultural and musical excellences it is certainly a rich region. Even from the religious point of view it offers so much, even for an unbeliever like me: there are places of encounter, social and cultural exchange that go beyond religion itself.

Is there the lack of something in Umbria compared to other realities?

The first thing that comes to my mind is what I said at the beginning: the lack of infrastructures. But this is also its charm: who wants to visit Umbria, is someone who really wants to do it. The region has a niche tourism and it is no less beautiful than other regions. Surely it is no less beautiful than Tuscany: our villages have retained their typicality and their character much more. All this makes me love Umbria even more.

Have you ever thought about a concert in Perugia like the one in which you performed  years ago on the occasion of Umbria Jazz?

I often think about it. I would be gladly to do it again, but it does not depend only on me, someone has to ask me. I am very lively and willing to organiza these events. I like them because I have the opportunity to experience different musical types compared to the genre that distinguishes me. I’ve never had a specific musical direction: I’m an entertainer who proposes dance music, I do not like being tied to an unique genre.


Has your audience changed in these years?

Yes and no. The ritual that we organize and which we participate in over the years has not changed much. The music has changed, but the sense of going dancing has remained unchanged. The style to dance can be changed, but that style could go back in fashion: people love to dance and this will never change. Everyone loves a certain rhythm and a certain style of music, but every music has its own dignity.

When do you think of turning off the console permanently?

I never thought of it. The artists never stop, they continue until they want and until results are obtained: I still have both desire and results. Obviously things change over the years, but, I work as if it was the very first day.

Confess to the public something that nobody knows about you.

On some respects, I’m very compulsive, like as regarding food. An aspect that I should solve in some way (laughs). I like eating, as you can see looking at me.

What is your favourite food?

The bruschetta. It is a food linked to childhood: bread and olive oil with bruscato bread and nothing else. When I’m hungry, however, I prefer pasta.

I read that you use some kind of “supertitious spell” before your performances: are they always the same or have they changed during the time?

They have always been the same for years. In the console the suitcase of the new discs goes to the left while that of the older discs to the right: this is a ritual that I have never changed in my life. Then, if I drop my headphones, I beat them three times on the mix; without my battery I feel lost: even if there is enough light I have to use my flashlight to look for things and discs.

Inevitable is the black t-shirt…

Yes. Sometimes I try to get out of this routine and I wear T-shirts with some writing but I can not stand them more than an hour. In truth, I use black T-shirts because they make me look thinner, if I had another body I would also wear colorful T-shirts (he jokes).

How would you describe Umbria in three words?

Vertical, shady, loyal.

The first thing that comes to your mind thinking of this region…

The cake called torcolo.

Fifty years after Emma Dessau Goitein’s death, Perugia talks about a great woman. Emma lived the last years of her life in Perugia, in the city of Perugino and Pinturicchio, in the city that still preserves some of her works in the Museum of the Academy of Perugia, which is placed near a street entitled to her.

For the anniversary of his death, the Academy Pietro Vannucci and the Municipality of Perugia create an exhibition to present a rich selection of works from important public and private collections; the Academy holds ten works by Emma.

An artistic and biographic development

The exhibition develops in two paths: one at the Academy and the other at the Civic Museum of Palazzo della Penna, visible until September 9th. The exhibition curated by Fedora Boco, Maria Luisa Martella and Gabriella Steindler Moscati, embraces a very wide chronological range: from the late nineteenth-century formation to the last works of the 1940s, revealing the articulated artistic and biographical development of the author. Emma was born in Karlsruhe in 1877 from an observant Jewish family. Since she was a child she was conscious of her artistic vocation, in fact she attended courses dedicated only to men and she interested about politics. Emma was educated by her mother because her father died when she was a child; and her mother manages to reconcile respect for tradition with modernity. In 1901 she moved to Italy, first to Bologna and then to Perugia, for love of Bernardo Dessau.


Family photo

An exciting everyday life

The family is one of the main sources of inspiration for the painter, her favorite subjects are in fact her husband Bernardo, absorbed and concentrated, of her sons Fanny and Gabor, depicted in the various phases of their lives, as well as those of other family members like her beloved brother Ernst. Another subject widely represented by the artist is the landscape; in the landscapes Emma relies on the fresh impression plein air, she often paints the heights of Monteluce, where she lived and painted, and the places where she went on holiday.

Drawings and Xylographies

The graphic section instead is hosted at the Academy and includes drawings and xylographies that cross the entire artistic production of the author. The xylography is certainly the art in which Emma elaborates the religious and cultural world representing biblical subjects. «With this exhibition» highlighted the councilor for culture Severini «continues the cycle on the artists who animated Perugia with their art in the last century, witnesses of an artistic fervor that characterized it incisively. Emma produced paintings and engravings of a poignant intensity».




Montefalco belongs to the Club
I Borghi Più Belli d’Italia


From the top of the hills above the plains of the two Umbrian rivers Clitunno and Topino, the village of Montefalco looks out over the Umbrian valley; a village surrounded by olive groves and vineyards that form a sort of precious emerald and ruby ​​necklace, nuances that recall the deep bond between this land and the rapid passing of the seasons, each one with its characteristic colours. 

Right in this historic open-air theatre, the four quarters of St. Augustine, St. Bartholomew, St. Fortunato, and St. Francis are on stage, as actors, in the City Hall square. Every year, they make relive ancient scenes, the simplicity of never forgotten country life.
The four city inns, during these days, are decorated with the vivid colours of the neighbourhoods and they take place, always within the city walls, in typical and suggestive places of the village, where you can taste plates and wines of Umbrian tradition.
During the whole festival, Agosto Montefalchese is animated with an Historical Parade, with characters from the Renaissance Period, the Tamburini Challenge (drummers) and the Flag-wavers. 


Tamburini Challenge

The challenge of the Tamburini, photo via


All this glorious historical recalling is centred on the Palio and on the conquest of the Golden Falcon, the majestic volatile symbol of the Municipality itself. Ancient chronicles tell us that Emperor Frederick II of Swabia renamed the ancient town of Coccorone in Montefalco, just because of the massive presence of these birds flying over those hills.
The contest is structured in several races that keep the whole village in anxiety: they are ancient competitions, moments that bind all citizens, ready to scream and stunner for their fortune-tellers who contend for primacy.
The price is disputed by young people belonging to the four city districts that, every year highlight their mastery and their love for the neighbourhood.
The first challenge is the shot with the crossbow, whose target is a reproduction of a bull’s head with different scores depending on the part that is reached by the dart. Competition continues to flourish with the second race: the one of the relay, a real ring of conjunction between the Middle Ages and the athletic races of modern times.



Shooting with the crossbow, photo via


The competition apex is reached during the Fuga del Bove (Bulls Flight). A much less crude re-enactment than the one handed down by the medieval chronicles; it was said that on Christmas day an ox was forcedly brought on the streets of the town soon after made it drink wine and pepper to make it furious and difficult to handle. There was, then, a crowd of men waiting for it that, sheltering in robust wooden barrels, stirred it up to make it run until he was exhausted.
The Bulls Race is experienced, today, in a non-cruel way; every quarter is entrusted with a bull to train and treat throughout the winter to get into the race in the middle of August and compete. The ox is dragged and driven by trusted carriers who challenge each other for the honour of their district under the careful look city, waiting for their passage in order to measure their strength and skill. 


The Bulls Race

The Bulls Race, photo via


The runners of each quarter accompany and drive, running, a bull of nearly five quintals, along an arduous path in a two-to-two-race. The winner is awarded with the Palio, which each year is commissioned to a different artist: it is a painting inspired by the atmosphere that can only be breathed in Montefalco during the days of the Palio.



Umbria WebCam


Comune di Montefalco.pg.it 


More on Montefalco

The Associazione Priori of Perugia, presents Inverso by the artist Danilo Fiorucci, an unusual hanging installation inside the Torre degli Sciri, that will be open until the 31st of August 2017.

A site specific project

The Torre degli Sciri is the only remaining tower of the many medieval towers of Perugia. It is the first time that the building hosts an art installation. About this event the Associazione Priori  says: «We decided to open a dialogue between the culture and the creativity of the tower, making the most of its history through new expressive languages: a contemporary site-specific art project that aims at promoting a new interpretation of the tower heritage through the unconventional sight of the artist».

Inverso - The Absent Space

From his evanescent and ethereal paintings, with fluffy and fast brushes, Fiorucci comes to realize his painting in a sculptural gesture as fast as polystyrene. Shaped, then cut and overlapped layers form abstract sculptures, compound vortexes, eliminating «the material that hides form.» Emptiness, not as simple denial of the full, but as an existing entity itself, space between the things that identifies and distinguishes them. New matter that aristotelically, fills the absence. In a reverse way, the memory of a loved one fills his absence. Inverso, therefore, is the inner voice that does not use words, an unnamed body, the absence of the art that becomes presence, the sign of poetry that teaches us the way for the comprehension of nothingness. Immersed in an enigmatic and suspended silence, Fiorucci’s sculpture inside the Tower is like the white cloth lying on an inexplicable footstool on Pino sul mare by Carlo Carrà, like the white Suspended Sphere of Alberto Giacometti, with a color that evokes «The absence of color, the feeling of emptiness, the archetype of the absolute and the light.»

The Tower's Deal

The Sciri Tower is the only survivor of the seventy medieval towers that went to Perugia for the nickname of turrita. Built in the second half of the 13th century, the tower, 46 meters high, is probably one of the 12/14 towers built by the Commune for defensive purposes. It then went to a private destination, being the property of the noble family of the Sciri from which he named it. The coat of arms of this family stands above the main entrance of our building. The family disappeared in the fifteenth century and the tower had to go into properties at Oddi, which had possessions not far away. In 1680 Caterina della Penna, Oddi’s widow, gave the structure and its annexes to Tertiary Franciscan Sister Lucia Tartaglini from Cortona, who instituted an Educated for poor girls. He then went to the Oblate Sisters of San Filippo Neri, who held her until about 2011.
Today, the property of the Municipal Administration, has been restored and subsequently reopened to the public by Associazione Priori. In addition to guided tours, there are artistic, musical and theatrical events.



Inverso – Lo spazio assente
Setting by Danilo Fiorucci
Sciri Tower, Perugia
July 6th– August 31st, 2017
Edited by Claudia Bottini
Openings in July
From Monday to Wednesday: 10:30 – 12:30 | 18:00 – 21.00
From Tuesday to Saturday: 10:30 – 12:30 | 17:00 – 21:00
Sunday: 18:00 – 21:00
Openings in August
Fridays: 10:00 – 12:30 | 19:00 – 21:00
Sundays: 19:00 – 21:00
August, 12th: from 21:00 (Event: staring at the sky by Starlight. For groups of 22 people every 30 minutes. 5 € fee, free for kids up to 12 years old).

One of Balzac’s porttraits displayed in the exhibition in Castiglione del Lago

In order to remember the centennial of Pablo Picasso’s trip in Italy, in Castiglione del Lago has been organized an exhibition of more than ninety works made by the artists.


Inside the beautiful Della Corgna Palace, until November 5th, will be displayed Honoré de Balzac’s portraits, etching and aquatint illustrations, graver-carved tables, sculptures and ceramic work of arts.

Openings: everyday from 9.30 to 19.00





More on Castiglione del Lago

You have to see it. Not only because it is «Hermann Nitsch’s largest and most complete exhibition set up in Italy so far» as Italo Tomassoni writes, but because Hermann Nitsch’s OMT Orgien Mysterien Theater (Theater of Orgy and Mysteries) – Color from the Rite, set up at CIAC –  Italian Centre of Contemporary Art in Foligno by Italo Tomassoni and Giuseppe Morra, and available until August 13th, is really stunning.

The exhibition displays 40 works, divided in nine different series made between 1984 and 2010, coming from Hermann Nitsch Museum in Naples, founded in 2008 by Giuseppe Morra, an historian and publisher of his writings since 1974.


He wants to disgust us, offend us, because the Viennese performers, of whom Nitsch is still one of the most important members, had always been impressed by his performances since their formation in the 1960s, featuring images and themes inspired by a widespread disenchantment, almost desecrating, against the religious symbols, body functions and the sexual acts. We can cry the scandal out, but that will only confirm the artists’ intention «to provoke the spectator an instinctive sensual excitement .» For that, Nitsch has been arrested several times.

One of the Artist’s desecrating works, displaied at CIAC in Foligno

A Wizard from Northern Fairy Tales

The show is actually lyrical and engaging, set up as a single large openwork; it makes us think of Nitsch as «a magician from Northern fairy tales» writes Tomassoni «an aesthetic Orphism inspired by the Creation’s mystery and by the Art’s unlimited visionary opportunities.»
The Wiener Aktionismus artists, heirs of that Viennese secession and Egon Schiele, saw in the expressive intensity, in the psychological introspection of the action, the only way to communicate their inner discomfort and all the anguish and complexity of human existence.
But I find it decisive, as critics has pointed out over the years, the deep sense of guilt derived from being involved in World War II, which provokes a sense of refusal and the need to freed themselves with every means.
Among the many celebrated installations on display, we mention 18b.malaktion, 1986, Naples, Casa Morra. These are large canvases where red or spotted red color, composed as a cross, is dominated by an action painting that is pure gesture and drama.

18b.malaktion, 1986, Napoli, Casa Morra.

With the scraps, the wrecks of his performances, he created installations such as 130.aktion Wreck Installation, 2010 Nitsch Napoli Museum, large white coats and blood-stained shirts, stretches to carry bodies that become tables or altars, surgical tools such as scalpels or retractors, test tubes and alembics that refer concern to body and its lymph, lumps and paper tissues in perfectly regular lines, suggesting sensations of freshness and purity. Decomposing fruit, proof of an absurd sacrificial event, ritual and formal signs of physical and carnal facts.

Another work displaied in Foligno

Prinzendorf Castle

On the lower floor, inside a some kind of a crypt, you can watch the long video of Prinzendorf’s 1984 action, played in theaters in 2000s.
The castle of Prinzendorf, near Vienna, purchased by the artist in 1971, becomes the headquarter of his das Orgien Mysterien Theater, whose actions follow one another from the Sunday of Pentecost 1973. On July 1984, his 80th long action lasts three days and three whole nights. The tragic nature of the passive suffering on the cross, the symbolic stain of crucified Christ, is carried out in a «spiritualized», «abstract, but equally realistic» way, as Nitsch describes it. And, again: «My theater of orgies and mysteries focus on intense experiences, on the ritual in the sense of shape, creating a festival of existence, a concentrated, conscious and sensual experience of our being.»
Today he continues to carry on, intensifying and charging it with stronger implications, his idea of ​​the Orgien Mysterien Theater, as a preview of his worldwide synthetic project that involves all senses and every human action. In his Statutes he highlights the deep meaning of his art: «The commitment of art is to be the priesthood of a new existential conception […]: to free mankind from its beastily instincts.»
Opening times: Friday 16.00-19.00, Saturday and Sunday 10.30-12.30 – 16.00-19.00
Ticket: € 5,00; reduced-price ticket € 3,00. Free entry: children up to 14 years old, schools and disabled


More on Foligno

«The scenery of the region is perfectly pleasant, just imagine it: an immense anfitheatre as only nature could design. An open vast plain land surrounded by mountains; which are covered by grand and old woods up to their summits, where game is rich and abundant. On the sides of the mountains coppices gently slope down into humous-rich and fruitful hills that can compete in fertility with the fields wich lay on the lowlands […] Below, the wide vineyards hemmig from every side the hills make more smooth the face of the landscape, and which lines, disappearing in the distance, half-reveal graceful thickets. Then meadows everywhere,and fields which only powerful oxen with very robust ploughs can break up; that land so hard, at first cutting through, precisely gets up in such clods so large that you need nine ploughing before it can be completely tamed. The meadows, fat and rich in flowers, produce clover and more herbs always soft and tender as if they had just come up, since all those fields are wet from perennial brooks. Still, though the abundant water, there are non marshes, and that is because of the sloping land pouring into the Tiber all the waters it couldn’t absorb… […] Add to this, of course, the health of that area, the serenity of the sky, and the air, purer than elsewhere.»

(Letter from Plinio il Giovane to Domizio Apollinare, Book V, epistle 6)

The History

The first settlements of San Giustino, the further north municipality of the region, trace back to Umbri as evidenced by the discovery of numerous small bronzes. In Roman times – under the name Meliscianum taken from nymph Melissa, whose name stands for “honey producer” and recalls an area where beekeeping was surely widely practiced– San Giustino became an important trade centre along Via Tiberina. The same Roman time is evidenced by the great country-style villa Plinio il Giovane wanted to be built around 100 A.D. Later on, the villa was flattened by Totila’s Goths.

Archaeological reveals in Colle Plinio, pic kindly given by the City of San Giustino

Today’s name of San Giustino, coming from the Saint martyred at Pieve de’ Saddi during the time of Emperor Marco Aurelio, appears for the first time in a diploma dated 1027. Its territory has been challenged for centuries by Arezzo, Città di Castello and San Sepolcro. Oddone and Rinaldo di Ramberto were the first local lords, before bending to Città di Castello in 1218. Following their submission, in 1262 Città di Castello fortified it, but during the vacancy of the Holy See, after Clemente IV’s death, San Sepolcro ravaged the territory, destroying the fortalice. After its rebuilding, in 1393 the Castle was left to Dotti family, which were political exiled from San Sepolcro, under the pledge to use it to defend Città di Castello. After changing fortunes, because of the destruction and reconstruction of Dotti Palace, the family gave it back to the town of Città di Castello in 1841. At this point the papal governor of Città di Castello called his brother, Mariano Savelli, skilful architect, to draw the project to change the steep fortress in a strong palace in order to make it impregnable, protected by a grand moat too. Works had started, but given the unavailability of the funding to carry them out in 1487 Città di Castello gave it to a rich landowner, Niccolò di Manno Bufalini, doctor of utroque iure and Sisto IV, Innocenzo VIII and Alessandro VI’s relative, so as to complete the works. The Holy See received so many favors and services that in 1563 Giulio Bufalini and his son Ottavio were given the title of count, the feud and territory of San Giustino. During the Napoleonic time San Giustino became an independent town from Città di Castello and, after being suppressed at the end of that period of time, it was finally recognized by Leone XIII’s motu proprio in 1827. San Giustino was the first Umbrian town the Piemontese troops led by General Fanti occupied on September 11th 1860.

Bufalini Castle

Bufalini’s Castle, pic kindly given by the City of San Giustino

Castello Bufalini is the emblem of San Giustino beyond any doubt. The castle sees its origins in the Dotti family’s military fortalice. Restored by Città di Castello in 1478, after being attacked and destroyed again and again, in 1487 the legate of Città di Castello donated it to Niccolò, son of Manno Bufalini, so that he could accomplish the rebuilding, started on the project by Mariano Savelli, governor’s brother, assigned, in case of war, to defend Città di Castello and to provide accommodation for commanders and troops sent by the municipality to protect the place and the people. Bufalini, on the basis of Camillo Vitelli’s new project, changed the old fortalice in an actual fortress surrounded by a ditch, overlooked by four towers and a keep, embattled walkways and a drawbridge.
But it was the Renaissance which led that the transformation of the fortress into a manor. The authors of the transformation were the brothers Giulio I and Ventura Bufalini, owners and residents of the building since 1530. The works, carried out between 1534 and 1560, concerned both the exterior renovation of the building and the new spatial layout out, together with the modernisation of the inside. The initial project, which concerned the refitting of the inner courtyard, the building of the kneeling windows, the construction of two spiral staircases and a new internal spatial distribution, probably owes to Giovanni d’Alessio d’Antonio, called Nanni Ongaro or Unghero (Florence 1490-1546), Florentine architect belonging to the Sangallo circle, in the service of the Gran duke of Tuscany Cosimo I, but the works continued even after his death. From 1537 to 1554 Cristoforo Gherardi (San Sepolcro 1508-1556), called Il Doceno, was appointed to paint the pictorial decorations of five rooms with mythological stories and grotesques. At the end of XVII century the castle was affected by a new phase of the works at Filippo I and Anna Maria Bourbon di Sorbello’s behast. The palace was changed into a countryside villa with Italian garden on Giovanni Ventura Borghesi’s (Città di Castello 1640-1708) design. The last event of the construction history of the castle took place after the Second World War, because it didn’t endure to the bombings which struck the area.
In 1989 Giuseppe Bufalini gave it to the Italian State. Thanks to the excellent condition of the furniture, today the castle represents a rare example of historic stately home.

Villa Magherini Graziani di Celalba

Pic kindly given by the City of San Giustino

The Villa, built on a pre-existing Roman fortalice, was designed by architects Antonio Cantagallina from San Sepolcro and by one Bruni from Rome, commissioned by Carlo Graziani from Città di Castello. Construction works started at the beginning of XVII century and were carried out in 1616. The quadrangular structure stretches on three levels surmounted by a turret 17 metres high. The ground floor is decorated by walled-up arches in the which centre niches and windows open up evoking the evenness of a portico. The first floor has a large porch with elegant banisters and pietra serena pillars. The side entry introduces to the carriage passageway, barrel vault designed, which enabled direct access for carriages into an indoor space and connected the farmhouse and the chapel dedicated to Santa Maria Lauretana. The building, which represents an outstanding example of aristocratic late-renaissance villa, is immersed in a recently recovered 6 hectars park and you can enjoy a wonderful example of Italian garden. Since 1981 it is a property of San Giustino municipality that has functionally refurbished the building. Today the farmhouse is used by the Municipality for socio-cultural activities, while in the little church are officiated civil marriages. Villa Magherini Graziani hosts Museo Pliniano and since February 2016 it has hosted also the permanent exhibition Iperspazio by Attilio Pierelli (Sasso di Serra S. Quirico 1924-Roma 2013). The artist, founder of Movimento Artistico Internazionale Dimensionalista, spent a large part of his work in visualizing the concept of space, concerning the fourth geometric dimension and the non-Euclidean geometry and, at Villa Magherini Graziani, it is possibile to go through the various creative seasons of his production from inox Slabs, to Knots, to Cubes through which the artist interacted with the hyperspace.

Historical Scientific Tobacco Museum

Historical and Scientific Museum of Tobacco, pic kindly given by the City of San Giustino

It is one of the seven Italian museums dedicated to tobacco. Built in place of the former Consorzio Tabacchicoltori’s offices, thanks to the homonymous Foundation (set up in 1997), its mission is to disseminate the knowledge and the historical importance the tobacco growing had -and has- in the social and economic development of that area. Actually, in the Upper Tiber Valley tobacco cultivation is a tradition that is meant to be handed down and spread. It is no accident that a museum dedicated to tobacco exists just in San Giustino, because in Italian peninsula the first cultivation of some account for commercial purposes of erba tornabuona – so called as the first seed had been brought to Tuscany by bishop Niccolò Tornabuoni at the end of XVI century – date back to the beginning of XVII century and laid just in the Repubblica di Cospaia land, a small territory which is a hamlet of San Giustino today.
The Museum includes offices, sort units, drying kilns, which have great charm and evoke a long story made of working hours and fatigue, but they also evoke emancipation because in this story the main character has been played by the XIX century women. As a matter of fact, the tobacco female workers -as well as the female textile workers- were among the first women who, after leaving the traditional ‘home-working’, become the workforce for the major industries of the country.

Tabacchine, pic kindly given by the City of San Giustino

Il museo comprende uffici, essiccatoi, sale di cernita: luoghi di grande fascino dove si rievoca una lunga storia di fatica e lavoro, ma anche di emancipazione, storia che ha avuto nelle donne del XX secolo le principali protagoniste. Le lavoratrici dei tabacchi, infatti, al pari delle operaie tessili, sono tra le prime donne che, abbandonato il tradizionale lavoro casalingo, vengono inserite nelle grandi industrie.


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The Republic of Cospaia

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The hamlet of Cospaia, today part of the municipality of San Giustino, is the most northern Umbria locality. Its history – which is the history of a tiny independent state surrounded by three great powers (State of the Church, Duchy of Urbino and Grand Duchy of Tuscany) a long time fighting each other – deserves to be mentioned.
Cosimo dei Medici had granted a 25.000 florins loan to Eugenio IV for the ecumenical council, which was announced to be held in Basilea in 1431, demanding the jurisdiction over Borgo San Sepolcro for guarantee. When the pope died, the loan had not been repaid yet, so the two states sent their own land surveyor to define their boundaries. The surveyors worked without ever meeting directly face to face. As a result, the Tuscans established the border at the Rio della Gorgaccia, while the papal experts at the Rio Ascone. Therefore the area between the two streams, that is to say the hill of Cospaia, remained independent. From 1441 to 1826 Cospaia “for a period of four centuries had neither leaders nor laws nor councils nor statute nor soldiers nor army nor prisons nor courts nor doctors nor taxation. It outlasted according to the elders’ common sense. It used no weights and measures. Even the position of the parish prest, who took care to keep the register of the few souls up to date and who was involved to act as teacher of the town, was a symbol of independence because he wasn’t bound to any bishop.
The agreement of February 11th, 1826 between Leone XII and Leopoldo I, with which they shared out the territory, ended with the independence of Cospaia. In une 28th, 1926 Cospaia did obeisance to the Papal States and each inhabitant received one papetto as award for the lost freedom, a silver coin depicting the effigy of Leone XII.

Still today, on June 28th each year the “ex Republic of Cospaia” is remembered.


For further informations






Storia – Bibliografia essenziale
San Giustino, in M. Tabarrini, L’Umbria si racconta, Foligno, s.n., 1982, v. P-Z, pp. 265-269.
E. Mezzasoma, S. Giustino, in «Piano.Forte», n. 1 (2008), pp. 43-49.
S. Dindelli, Castello Bufalini. Una sosta meravigliosa fra Colle Plinio e Cospaia, San Giustino, BluPrint, 2016

Castello Bufalini – Bibliografia essenziale
A. Ascani, San Giustino, Città di Castello, s.n., 1977.
G. Milani-P. Bà, I Bufalini di San Giustino. Origine e ascesa di una casata, San Giustino, s.n., 1998.
S. Dindelli, Castello Bufalini. Una sosta meravigliosa fra Colle Plinio e Cospaia, San Giustino, BluPrint, 2016

La Repubblica di Cospaia – Bibliografia essenziale
Cospaia, in M. Tabarrini, L’Umbria si racconta, Foligno, s.n., 1982, v. A-D, p. 447.
A. Ascani, Cospaia. Storia inedita della singolare repubblica, Città di Castello, tipografia Sabbioni, 1977.
G. Milani, Tra Rio e Riascolo. Piccola storia del territorio libero di Cospaia, Città di Castello, Grafica 2000, 1996
E. Fuselli, Cospaia tra tabacco, contrabbando e dogane, San Giustino, Fondazione per il Museo Storico Scientifico del Tabacco, 2014