in Cosenza, the inhabitants adopt the museum

“I’m trustworthy,” replies a character from the Oscar-winning film the great beauty, to those who are surprised that they own the keys to the noble palaces. In the Massa district it is also said The Cosenza headquarters of the Bank of Italy in the mid-twentieth century chose an honest man to open the safe. Like the mysterious guardian of Rome invented by Paolo Sorrentino.
He was a resident of Massa, great lord and owner of a historic watermill on the banks of the river Crati. “Don Luigi Leonetti it kept the other key to the vault, ”people in the neighborhood remember. “It opened and closed every day with the leader”.

The second home museum for the inhabitants of Massa

There are many coming and going Brettii and Enotri Museum. It has become a home for the residents of the ward. They inaugurated it 2009in the fifteenth century monumental complex of Sant’Agostino. A structure returned to the city, and over the years it has become a cultural and social pole. Residents and natives meet in the airy and mysterious monastery in this large treasure chest of prehistoric finds and metal age finds. “There is a beautiful alliance between the museum and the neighborhood»Says the director, the archaeologist Marilena Cerzoso.

Instructor Marilena Cerzoso shows the Bandiera brothers’ death certificates

Residents collaborate on the initiatives, reconstruct the memory puzzle, chew stories and roots. On the evening of the museums, they have guided visitors and often promote walks in the alleys. It’s all documented on the Facebook group Kiri da Massamade by Mario Zafferanopromoter of this identity restoration.

They also have a president, the engineer Franco Mauro who now lives in the new city, but participates in initiatives, conferences, exhibition inaugurations with all the granite memory of small and large stories. Remember, for example, the return of World War II soldiers, why The Sant’Agostino complex, among the many lives it has had, was also a refuge for the displaced. “I was very young, but the scene stuck in me: a young man returned home from the front, tired, dirty. He took off his shirt and I saw it fall to the floor. a blanket of lice“.

I return to Massa and look for the origin

Until a few years ago, people came in search of a piece of childhood. They were looking for the room where their parents slept, the corner where we all ate together. They were the former small displaced from the Sant’Agostino complex.
Back then it was pignatari district (The Cosenza terracotta craftsmen). “Mass” because in the 18th century, explains Paolo Veltri, former dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Calabria, who grew up in the neighborhood, “some protection barriers to limit the risk of flooding due to the floods in Crati“. Here is the origin of the name.

Mass: Sister Elena Aiello Congregation

In the alleys the echo of the sirens from factoriesof the shout of basements, in the footsteps of brothers, priests and nuns. From the Augustines to the canoes, one don Malettaparish priest of San Gaetano, who built parts of the neighborhood’s DNA.

To the left of the picture, Blessed Elena Aiello

It was the roads that also went far and wide Sister Elena Aielloto holy nuncult figure of the Bruzio people, founder of the Congregation of Minimal Sisters of the Passionblessed in 2011.
The story of Massa is a closely woven novel, a saga of places and people à la Balzac.

Wineries and patriots

“I lived there from 9 to 21 years old. I left when I got married and then I went back forever. It’s the only place I wanted to take root. I’ve found a lot of friends.” Rita Ritacco, caregiver, knows every stone and every family. “I bought a house and if one day I want to make money – he laughs – I will buy another for my children”.
He made the same choice Giancarlo Spinelli, construction contractor. “I returned to live in my neighborhood of origin with my wife and children when I inherited the house from my grandparents.” His father was a celebrity among the locals: Natale Spinelli, owner of a winery. We drank craft wine mixed with gaseous produced in the nearby Giovannino Gallo plant.

Papers, wine and soda in a historic cellar in Massa

Another mythical cellar from the past was that of Franchino Perrellitoday the flag brothers’ bar, dedicated to two historical figures in the heart of this strip of the city, because of their sacrifice in the name of Italian unification. The altar of Attilios and Emilio Bandiera is in Vallone di Rovitowhere, after a betrayal, they were shot on July 25, 1844. That was the purpose of school trips, the framework of italics and demonstrations, but today it experiences long periods of abandonment. It was the residents themselves who cleaned up recently, in 15 days. The brothers’ death certificates are kept in the Risorgimento section.

A strong sense of belonging

The inhabitants of Massa purify Vallone for the Bandiera brothers

“Today, the museum is our jewel, and the director is a special person,” says Giancarlo Spinelli. Marilena Cerzoso is also her “reliable” keeper, guide of an archeological and inclusive museum. “I have a double bond for the fair, personally and professionally. I went back to the places I always heard from my parents. – explains. – My mother grew up in the neighborhood to Garruba and with my father he lived his youth in the scout group San Gaetano, under the guidance of the legendary Don Luigi Maletta. So being back in the places in my family’s stories is a source of great joy and emotion for me. The fact «having found one welcoming neighborhood, which has a strong affiliation – he continues, – it gives me a lot of strength and encourages me to do better and better to improve the territory ».

Remo Scigliano have a bazaar. Make a name from the past and he answers with numbers: the house number, the year of birth, important dates in the life of the said character. He worked “for over thirty years in the post office and the telegraph,” so is he a valuable resource for uniting the threads of the past with the present. His shop is located at the bottom of the Sant’Agostino stairs.
In front of the church there are always groups of children playing ball. They have learned. As soon as they see a visitor at the bottom of the stairs, they stop the Super Santos with one foot and wait for him to pass.

Rita Ritacco and Giancarlo Spinelli

“I also used to play in the cemetery as a child, but with rag balls.” Engineer Mauro was born in the building next to the church. «A construction made by my grandfather in 1910. Here – he points to it, in addition to a tiny window sill with climbing red roses – it was my house. Today it is called via Viapiana, but for us it is still the Puzzillo“. Next to him Professor Veltri. They are looking towards the former Puzzillo, and the small window sill looks like the hill in Infinity of Recanati.

The boundaries

La Massa borders Holy Spiritwith Casaliwith Colle Triglio’s old court, today Arnone palace, which houses the National Art Gallery. A short and dizzying itinerary.
“On the long wall that connects the Holy Spirit, until the mid-1960s, bingo was played in the two districts every Sundayeven when the days were rainy “, recalls Veltri, who wrote a book with Ugo Dattis, Four-handed Sertoriopublished by Pellegrini, dedicated to the old town.

Franco Mauro and Paolo Veltri

Memories of the past are marked by sounds. “The clock on the old court, the church bells,” says Franco Mauro. – And then it played the siren from the Mancuso and Ferro cement tile factorythe entrance of the workers at seven o’clock and the exit at four o’clock in the afternoon ».
The natives and inhabitants of Massa are collectors of stories. “If it had not been for the stimulus from the Brettii and Enotri Museum. – concludes Paolo Veltri, – all our memories would be scattered in the alleys“.

A glimpse of the Massa district (photo Mario Magnelli)

(The pictures in the article are by Concetta Guido and the Fb group “Kiri da Massa”. Thank you for the permission to use the pictures)

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