Orecchiette with Cime di Rapa (broccoli rab)

The Orecchiette with Cime di rapa (broccoli rab) is one of the must of our cuisine. It’s the typical winter menu because this kind of vegetable is cultivated during winter.

The ingredients for 4 persons

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • some anchovies (1 per person if they are big, otherwise 2 per person)
  • 8 small or medium fresh tomatoes (a quality similar to pachino or datterino or piccadilly)
  • 600 gr of broccoli rab
  • 500 gr orecchiette pasta
  • some hot chili pepper

The procedure

Clean the vegetables, excluding the hard stem and the yellow leaves and fruits (if any). Wash the vegetables with running water in a bowl (not wasting the water that you can reuse for plants or to wash dishes). If the stem is too thick, cut it in half or more.

Fill in a pasta pan (with high edges) with water, take to boil and add the cime di rapa. Let cook for 10 minutes or till you can pierce easily them with a fork but they will result still firm and not soft (they have to be half cooked) then drain the vegetables without wasting the water. It will be used later to cook the orecchiette.

Prepare the tomatoes, washing them and collect them cut in 2-4 parts in a bowl. In a large pan pour some olive oil and garlic cut in medium pieces (or entire or in the way you prefer) and let brown in the oil for few minutes with low fire. Add the vegetables and let cook to flavor for few minutes. Add the cut tomatoes and let cook the ingredients again for a while, stirring sometimes, until you see that the tomatoes’ skin soften and begin making as “wrinkles”.

As Italian cooking style, we are used to pour the ingredients one by one, cooking and letting flavor slowly the ingredients.

Add finally some hot chili pepper and the anchovies. With a wooden spoon squash them to help them destroy. They will give only a flavor. Turn the fire and cover with a lid.

Turn on the heat under the pasta pan with water and let it boil to add the orecchiette. Cook following the timing indicated on the package if they the dried ones, or wait until they will float if are the fresh ones. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with vegetables. Turn and mix few times till you see that the orecchiette have quite absorbed the dip and serve.

Following the Italian tradition, the cheese is not allowed on this dish because of the fish.

Other recipes suggest to add the anchovies after the garlic or some others to cook the cime di rapa together with the orecchiette, draining finally and adding to the pan with garlic, tomatoes and anchovies. The choice to follow one or the other solution it’s just a question of preferences or (here) tradition… Buon appetito!


Orecchiette with brasciole, the typical Sunday lunch

Read the recipe >>

How to make Orecchiette. A step-by-step

The hidden river

Example of a great industrial archeology, a spectacular infrastructure of modern architecture it flows all along Puglia it holds many world records. It has been renovated as a bike way, as an ecofriendly itinerary, to discover Puglia from a different point of view.

The hidden river, the Aqueduct

Originally of 480 km (99 US lea or 453 yd) of a hidden river, one of the longest pipeline in the world that carries water in Puglia from Campania, result of the genius of Camillo Rosalba, an engineer of Salerno, who took up the challenge to solve the eternal problem of lacking of water in Puglia and whose greatness is represented by his intuition to follow the principles of the Roman aqueduct, creating also a direct connection with the knowledge of a great past.


One of the entrances


It was realized at the beginning of last century, in 1901, 40 years after the engineer projected it. In 1866 an hot wind coming from Africa, called “favonio” (from Phoen, a german word that indicates this wind), flew for very long and took the temperature to 45°C (113° F). The aridity is a characteristic of our long and hot summers but that year the even fertile and lucky land of oil, grain and wine productions was distroyed and many people died.

Originally of 480 km (99 US lea or 453 yd) of a hidden river, one of the longest pipeline in the world that carries water in Puglia from Campania, result of the genius of Camillo Rosalba, an engineer of Salerno, who took up the challenge to solve the eternal problem of lacking of water in Puglia and whose greatness is represented by his intuition to follow the principles of the Roman aqueduct, creating also a direct connection with the knowledge of a great past.

The year after Puglia was hit by the cholera epidemic that struck for the entire year. Puglia was on its knees and mostly the province of Foggia was hit by the two phenomena. In 1868 the king Ferdinando di Borbone (Ferdinand I of the Two Sicily) faced the problem, determined to solve it once and for all, proclaiming a public competition for inventing an efficient system to bring water to the province. Camillo Rosalba resulted the winner with his innovative project but he didn’t saw the realization of it, that was realized 40 years after.


This incredible exploit follows the Roman principle taking advantage of the natural gravity from the mountains of Campania region to the Apulian plains but holds also many world records.

Built in only 9 years, 21.000 workers and 400 technicians, it’s the longest Aqueduct in the world with its final main pipeline of 2.670 km (553 US lea, 101.7162 yd) that becames the longest never built in a single infrastructer for the total lenght of principal and secondary pipelines (20.000 km: 4.442 US lea or 702.5969 yd). The third in the world considering the water flow (20,8 mt3”: 127UK bbl or 3.360367UK gal).


Actually it offers a 500 km byke tour quite completly in nature, which winds through unspoiled nature with a differentiated path between mountains, plains, countryside from the Sele river in Campania until it reaches the heel of Puglia in Santa Maria di Leuca where it ends with a large monumental fountain to symbolize the mouth of a great river.

The route

A hidden river symbol of a strong human willingness and strengthness that today offers also an amazing and alternative road to follow and to discover Puglia.

Enjoy the ride!

Read more

The hidden river

Apulian Menù. The Orecchiette with brasciole

The Orecchiette con brasciole is a real classical menu in Puglia. It’s very common to smell this particular meat sauce on Sundays along the streets of our neighbor towns, prepared with the traditional hand-made orecchiette by our mothers’ and gradmothers’ hands.

Let’s start to prepare this typical Apulian menù.

Look here for vegetarian solutions>>>

What you need

A basic ingredient, the meat. In Puglia is usual to choose among three different kind of meat: veal, pork and horse. During our classes we use exclusively veal. Ask to the butcher for a compact piece of meat (the thigh) with a thickness of 2/3 mm.

  • Meat (1 piece for each person or more)
  • the 4 ingredients (see below) for stuffing
  • additional garlic or onion
  • toothpicks
  • pan with high edge
  • sauce (1 lt. for 4 persons) – I suggest to prefer “Mutti” sauce, a nice sweet sauce, here the link to website>>>
  • red or white wine (we prefer Primitivo, Negramaro, or a full-bodied and scented white wine)
  • salt

The four ingredients (stuffing)

  • garlic or onion
  • parcely or celery
  • pecorino cheese (minimun 6 months aged)
  • hot chili pepper (discard it if you din’t like chili)
  • Let be clear about the quantity of ingredients. Somewhere there’s a recipe with a clear indications of grams and liters but I’ve learned from my grand-mother the value of “un pò“, that’s to say “a little bit”, interpreted as a pinch or a palm or a full palm. So, I ever suggest to… follow your heart, your feelings and sometimes what you have into the fridge 😉

Procedure for meat stuffing

The cut of thigh can generate a large slice or a slender one. In this last case, extend the meat (it is elastic) with light pinches to the outside. Arrange it vertically lengthwise. In this way, it will be more comfortable rolling the slice.

Mince the four ingredients and put them in the middle of meat then overlap one side on the other. Roll it up, starting from the bottom. It should be tight so that the ingredients would not come out during cooking.

Close the meat with toothpicks crossing the slice.

The number of toothpicks can variate and we use them to distinguish the pieces of meat in case of different ingredients.

Cooking the meat

The Italian way of cooking is usually adding the ingredients one at a time. Into a pan with high edge put some olive oil and some pieces of garlic (or onion, it depends on your preference) and let brown for a while. It should only assume a golden color and don’t let it burn. Use all the time a low heat.

Add the “brasciole” to the oil with garlic for few minutes, turning them frequently making them brown on all sides and not to burn (burning will make the meat hard). Add some red/white wine, whose quantity depends on your… feelings.

Remember: in the South we never follow receipe but we are guided by our emotions…..

Increase the heat and cook for few minutes to let the alcohol evaporate and when it lp to caramelizes, add the sauce. Decrease the heat and let cook for almost 2 hours adding “some” salt and occasionally water if you see that the sauce has reduced lot. Halfway through cooking add some basil leaves.

A secret: for the last addition of water: mix into the sauce one ladles of the cooking pasta water. The starch wll help to thicken the sauce.

Use the sauce to season the Orecchiette for the first course and eat the brasciole as a second course. Don’t forget the “scarpetta” with a good pugliese bread…

Buon appettito!


Our sauce is made by using a specific tomato, the “San Marzano” variety, a long toamto with an intense flavorand a particularly firm and pulpy texture. It was tipical of the town of San Marzano near Taranto, Sava and Manduria, the same area in which the Primitivo wine is produces with its intense and strong taste.

Related articles:

>>The sauce (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette con cime di rapa” (coming soon)

>> How to prepare “Orecchiette with breadcrumb” (coming soon)

Practical lesson 1 – The Orecchietta

Guide to Production of Apulian Orecchietta

We had the pleasure of hosting you and handing down the tradition of Salento and the “Pugliese” art of our famous handmade pasta: the Orecchiette, a knowledge that you’ll bring with you and maybe you will reproduce at home with your friends and relatives.

For this reason, we have created this mini-guide that summarizes the salient aspects of the production, that you experimented with your hands.

Let’s begin with the main aspect: the aesthetic color of the “orecchietta” (singular) is of that intense yellow, typical of the special durum wheat flour, called Semolina flour, result of mix of the three different local grains: semito, quadrato and Senatore Cappelli. The last one is a very ancient local grain, now revalueted that has the characteristic of producing 50% less gluten, being in this way more healthy.


Very important is the porosity of pasta that in the hand-made version is much more evident and marked. The form: they have the grace to be each little bit different from the others. We believe that their perfection consists in their imperfection: real pieces of art that also testify the love of whom  produce them.

Not as final point is that unique taste due to the mix of wheats of our land of Puglia and the passion of our our grandmothers and mothers, who with their marvelous manual skill are able to give life to these real masterpieces.

An explosion of smells and colors and a mix of emotions, between flying flour and the scent of traditions. Authentic emotions that we love to share with you!

And now let’s move to practice with the ingredients and the procedure to make homemade Pugliese orecchiette.


The Ingredients X 4 persons:

A pastry board, a serrated knife, 500 gr. durum wheat flour (at the end of the article you’ll find a list of Apulian semola flour you can buy on internet); 1 dl of lukewarm water. Don’t forget the ingredients of love, passion and a lot of patience.

The Procedure:

– pour the durum wheat flour on the pastry board, create a fountain with it and a large hole in it (as the mouth of a vulcano) add the water little bit of water and cover it completely. Mix it from below. Continue to procedure (create the fountain and the vulcano, a large hole, add water, cover and mix it) till all flour is mixed and after start kneading it.

Remember the influence of the wind so that you have to measure the quantity of water depending on the wind and the humidity of the day;

– work the dough for about ten minutes, using the lower part of the palm of your hand to press and drag the dough on the pastryboard, and continue until inside you’ll see  tiny bubbles: you should get a rather firm and smooth dough. If the dough results too hard, add some water; if instead it results to be too soft, add more flour until obtaining a good consistency. Always keep the flour close to your hands to be poured in small dices on the pastry board if necessary to allow the dough to slide well. A secret: moisten your hands a little to prevent the mixture sticking to the hands.

– once you have finished kneading, cover the dough with a damp cloth to prevent it from drying out; start immediately by cutting a piece of dough and roll it under your hands on the floured surface of the pastry board until you’ll get a long snake that you’ll put on the upper part of the pastryboard;

Cut from the snake a small piece, more or less one centimeter long (it is indicative. You can use more pasta and get bigger orecchiette.) Experiment at this step for new experiences :-);

– with the rounded tip of the knife and with a not very strong but firm pressure, drag on the pastry board the piece so that the dough, curving, becomes similar to a shell. The knife accompanying the pasta will produce those typical striations of the orecchietta.

– without removing the dough from the knife but helping with it, place each shell on the tip of the thumb and reverse it backwards using the middle finger and the forefinger. At this point the knife helps you only not to loose the piece;

Remember to be gentle with the dough and to measure the pressure to put not to cut it.

– the final result will be the orecchietta which you will arrange next to each other, without keeping in touch with concave shape up not to become flat;

Remember: the correct position of the thumb will give the concave shape, so important because it collects the sauce that will contribute to a fantastic taste!

– continue until you have finished all the dough. The advice is to prepare this wonder pasta t early in the morning to let them slightly dry. You can also keep for few days and will be more callous when cooked. If you want to conserve the pasta longer, after they’re completely dried, you can put into the freezer.

Once these little “jewels” have been created, it’s finally time to cook them; and respecting our tradition which dish could we recommend? Yes, we cook the famous orecchiette with turnip greens, or with fresh tomatoes and basil, or with the addition of anchovies preparing them in a sauce of bread crumbs made toasted in extra virgin olive oil, another wonder of our tradition.

Buon appetito!

Related articles:

The Apulian Omphalos, the Templars and the black Virgin

The Omphalos, in Greek means navel and indicates a sacred center, a place where the divine meets the ground. There are many omphalos in the world. In Italy, the tradition is linked to many symbols worked by man, like circular boulders.

Often they are represented by obelisks, menhirs, wells or by the strange symbol of the triple enclosure, which can be traced in many places considered sacred, which consists of 3 concentric squares and segments that join the median points of the sides.

These and other mysterious symbols are present in Sovereto, a small hamlet in the municipality of Terlizzi, in the province of Bari. Terlizzi, in the province of Bari, is one of the most fascinating and mysterious places in Puglia, along the ancient Appian Way a crossroads for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land.

Since the protohistoric period, the site had to be considered an “Omphalos“, a projection on earth of a celestial center, the “place” where the gods dwell in a concept similar to that of the Homeric Ogigia, the place where human and divine can dialogue.

Moreover, in the neighboring countryside we find the signs of ancient rituals: four menhirs aligned, a small leys certainly much denser in the past .

Etymologically, for various scholars, the origin of the name of Sovereto would seem to come from “Suberitum” (lat.), that is from suber (lat.), cork while someone else derives the origin from “erected above”, but above what? What’s in the underground?

According to a legend, around the year 1000 a farmer found an icon of the Madonna and a lighted lamp in a cave. On the area was erected the church of Santa Maria di Sovereto. The effigy was a Black Madonna.

Towards the end of 1100 the site had become so important that two convent communities were built, that of the nuns of San Marco and the Knights Hospitallers of San Giovanni (the Knights Templars). Once the fame of this sanctuary became known, all those who went to Jerusalem passing through the Appian Way, very close to our sanctuary, did not fail to enter it.

Into the Church of Santa Maria di Sovereto there are many traces and clues, sometimes hidden that would make us think of a settlement of the Knights of the Temple: apart the many crosses outside and inside the church there are

also five tombstones of which three represent knights with insignia on the cloak of the Knights of the Temple. Also the arms placed in a crossed position, custom of the Knights of the Temple, which represents the “X” of Xristos (from X in Greek Chi) the name of the Messiah.

On another slab now used as a bench there is also the symbol of the triple enclosure which indicates the sacredness and centrality of the place. Symbol of conjunction, it reappears near the crypt with the “cosmic tree“, a cosmic element of conjunction between heaven and earth.

In the Bible it indicates the courtyard with the triple circle of walls of the Temple of Solomon, but also the Heavenly and the Terrestrer Jerusalem. On the right wall we find clear Templar symbols such as the ladder with the “double rung” and the chessboard is the symbol of positive and negative, of black and white, of good and evil, of war and prayer, of intellect and devotion.

the Templar ladder

It seems that the church stands on a geomantic node, also highlighted by the numerous menhirs that are still visible in the area. Also linked to the idea of omphalos is the concept of thaumaturgical water. In fact, an underground river flows below the church, accessible through a well outside the church. Many witnesses affirm the miraculousness of this water. Outside the church a lunette depicts the Black Madonna and a man climbing the steps of a staircase that rests on the water. It is clear that even the ancient builders of the church knew of the existence of underground water and its particular importance linked to the place of worship.

#ENG #omphalos #Crusades #Templars #thetriplebelt #blackvirgin #churchSaintMaryofSovereto #Terlizzi

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Apulia,what does the name means?

Apulia origns

We don’t know exactly from where the name Apulia derives but it is told that it is connected to the chronic lack of water that has always characterized the region. But it has not always been so arid like now. During prehistoric periods there were rivers that surely flowed in Puglia, but almost no trace remains of them except for traces of their passage in the characteristic “lame” (a depression, bed of ancient rivers) that nowadays mark the territory from the ridges of the “Murgia” (so called the Apulian hill on the northen and central part of the region) that run perpendicular to the sea. Today the only surviving river, the Ofanto, in the northern area of Foggia, looks like a miserable river.

One of the well-known lama in Puglia is the most charmign beach in Monopoli: lama Monachile, a suggestive attraction of the town.

Actually Apulia is a dry, arid and scanty rainy climate region mostly during the long summer season that in the south begins meteorologically earlier. Despite the significant and evident climatic changes also in Apulia towards a more humid and rainy climate, it’s history that not a drop of water falls from May to the end of August. The absence of water gives the name “a-pluvia”, meaning “without rain” or following some researchers with th Oratian meaning od “arid”, “dry” referring not only to climate but indicating the characteristic red soil:

“Apuglia è detta, ch `l caldo v ‘è tale
 che la terra vi perde alcuna volta
la sua vertù e fruttifica male”

(Orazio, Epodi, 3, 16)

The Greek influence


According to others, the name would rather derive from the Greek term “lapudia“, that meant land of the Iapigi, people that conquered the territory in the ninth century led by the king Dauno (from which the name of the Apulian northern area, the Daunia), later transformed by the nearby Samnite people into Apulia.

The modern meaning

Romans identified the same territory as “Apulia et Calabria”, unifying the two peninsular lands of southern Italy, used to refer to central and northern area of present-day Puglia while the southern one (actual Salento) was annexed by Calabria region.


Current name of Puglia is due to the Normans. William of Altavilla in 1042 established the County of Puglia which included all the territory under their dominion. A name that has remained unchanged since then.

I 10 Ice Bar più cool d’Europa

WHat about a cool drink? Or … frozen?

An extreme possibility to escape the summer torrid heat: an Ice-bar. Inside the temperature goes from the outside 30 degrees to -10 inside an Ice Bar and you can spend few minutes having a frozen drink (but also hot …) in a bar where everything is made of ice!!!

Stockholm, Sweden

Glasses, counter and also chairs and paintings, in a ice bar in Stockholm, Sweden, everything follows this theme. It is the first and the only permanent ice bar in the world that attracts thousands of curious tourists every year. Opened in 1994, it is located at number 4 in Vasaplan, where there is also the Nordic Sea Hotel. To enter it you need to cover yourself very well, wearing heavy jackets and gloves that can be supplied directly from the bar. The ice to built the bar comes directly from the Arctic Circle. You cannot stay longer than 40 minutes, given that the temperature inside is always -5° C. According to the experts, staying longer may cause affecctions to physique. Just enough time to drink a cocktail in a glass of ice.

In the world there are others of ice bars. From Rome to London, from Montreal to Barcelona, from Paris to Tokyo, there are about thirty.

A gorgeous experience to do. Let’s do it and … break the ice! But what are the best Ice Bars in Europe where to live this absolutely unique experience?

Xtracold Ice bar, Amsterdam

ice bar amsterdam

Let’s start from the Xtracold Ice Bar, Amsterdam, Netherlands, one of the first European ice bars. 10 degrees below zero, spacious and welcoming. Interior decoration is amazing, with objects and mannequins embedded in ice. A large area for dancing will help to warm up the evening.

Absolute Ice Bar, Milan

ice bar milano

Absolute Icebar Italia: this was certainly the coldest bar in Milan, unfortunately opened for a short time. In its place today there is a hotel. To build it were necessary 40 tons of ice and imagination and skill of several artists. In the bar were offered excellent fruit vodka drinks.

Ice bar Palermo

ice bar palermo

Ice Bar Palermo, Palermo, Italy: with its -10 degrees, this ice bar is ready to welcome customers for an unordinary evening.
Before the entrance, there are offered to customers blanket and gloves to withstand the cold atmosphere and to sip their cocktail from ice glasses, created by molds left in the freezer for 10 /12 hours. Snacks are also served on an ice plate!

Ice Kube Bar, Paris, France

ice bar parigi

Ice Kube Bar, Paris, France: in this famous French ice bar the first room at -10 degrees to get used to the cold before going inside, where the temperature goes from -10 to -20 degrees. Who has been there says that being in is like drinking a cocktail in a freezer! The bar is adorned with ice sculptures depicting bears and other animals, reproductions of igloos, sofas lined with synthetic fur. Don’t forget that yours will be a rather short evening: you can’t resist in the bar not more than 30 minutes!


Icebarcelona, Barcelona, Spain: an all-ice bar … on the beach! Expect a crazy experience and amazing furnishings, with sculptures, castles and even a fireplace. Lights reflected on the ice create an intense atmosphere, truly spectacular. Many are the also events in this definitely unusual and particular location.

ice bar barcellona
Ice bar Barcellona

Ice Bar Madrid

ice bar madrid

Ice Bar Madrid, Madrid, Spain: from Monday to Thursday starting at 20.00 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 22.00 you can watch the Aurora Borealis show thanks the collaboration with a naturalist and a video specialist, who project images and videos of this amazing natural phenomenon directly on the walls this sub-zero bar.

ice bar londra

Ice bar London

Ice Bar London, London, England is the warmest ice bar with an inside temperature of -5 degrees. The ice has been mostly collected in northern Sweden. Once you have chosen your drink, you can take a souvenir photo or buy small gifts, such as fur hats or ice candles.

ice bar budapest

Icebar Budapest

Icebar Budapest, Budapest, Hungary: a really not to miss place in the beautiful Hungarian capital. The bar, completely built in ice, is inspired to the marine world: inside you will find a large aquarium.

Absolute Ice bar, Copenhagen

ice bar copenaghen

Absolut Ice Bar, Copenhagen, Denmark was the first to open in the city but has currently been closed for 2 years. In its place you will find two others: the Reflecion Ice bar and the Magic Ice bar. The latter one is the only permanent in Copenhagen.

Have a nice and cold trip!

Eros di altri tempi

old-time Eros
All’inizio del ‘900 venivano vendute sotto banco nelle strade di Parigi. Gli scatti erano considerati scandalosi e illegali e per ovvi motivi l’identità delle modelle era sconosciuta, in gran parte reclutate fra le prostitute di strada o nei bordelli.
La maggior parte delle cartoline erotiche di inizio ‘900 furono prodotte in Francia, riscuotendo molto successo, e venivano vendute con molta discrezione dai commercianti francesi nei negozi e per le strade. Sebbene fosse illegale spedirle per posta, divennero popolari come “French Postcard”, le cartoline francesi.
Una volta intravedere le calze di una donna era scandaloso, oggi solo Dio sa cosa lo è”, diceva nel 1934 il compositore americano Cole Porter.
I giovani fotografi scattavano immagini erotiche per arrotondare lo stipendio, le foto venivano poi firmate con un falso nome per salvaguardare la reputazione professionale e stare lontani dai guai con la legge… La legge di Pubblica Sicurezza emanata dal Regno d’Italia faceva esplicito divieto alle prostitute di abitare presso un dagherrotipista (chi usava la dagherrotipia, una tecnica di sviluppo e stampa di immagini. Le immagini sviluppate con questa tecnica non erano riproducibili una seconda volta. Il nome della tecnica deriva dal suo inventore, Daguerre).
In Gran Bretagna nel 1857 viene emanato un provvedimento denominato Obscene Publications Act nel tentativo di contrastare il dilagare di immagini “oscene ed immorali”, ma la prima presa di posizione ufficiale che si rivolge specificamente contro la fotografia pornografica è dello Stato Pontificio: il 28 novembre 1861 il Cardinale Vicario della Santa Sede, Costantino Patrizi, emana un atto legislativo nel quale si stabilisce non solo che l’esercizio della fotografia come professione deve essere subordinato ad uno specifico nulla osta rilasciato dall’autorità di polizia, ma che deve essere autorizzato anche il semplice possesso di una fotocamera.
La storia artistica ci tramanda che la prima modella a posare nuda fu l’attrice, pittrice e poetessa Adah Isaacs Menken. Prima del 1839 la rappresentazione della nudità consisteva generalmente in dipinti, disegni e incisioni. Gli artisti adottarono presto la tecnologia fotografica come un nuovo modo di rappresentazione del corpo umano, allora esclusivamente rivolto al genere femminile; almeno inizialmente cercarono di seguire gli stili e le tradizioni della forma d’arte anche se il realismo di una fotografia entrava parzialmente in contrasto con l’idealismo di un dipinto, facendone così opere intrinsecamente erotiche. (Adah Isaacs Menken)

Adah Isaacs Menken

E’ evidente che la fotografia, per la sua possibilità di riprodurre un soggetto reale, da un punto vista diciamo “voyeuristico” era largamente preferibile a qualsiasi altro tipo di rappresentazione iconografica, ma la diffusione era abbastanza limitata in quanto il procedimento non utilizzava negativi. Ogni copia era ricavata fotografando l’immagine originale, il cui tempo di esposizione andava dai tre ai quindici minuti, rendendo il tutto quindi abbastanza difficoltoso per la ritrattistica. Dal momento che anche una sola di queste foto poteva costare lo stipendio di un’intera settimana, il pubblico dei nudi era per lo più costituito da artisti e da membri di ceto elevato della società. Col tempo la tecnica fotografica superò la limitazione dell’esemplare unico rappresentato dal dagherrotipo e quindi si realizzò con una sola posa un numero altissimo di copie, che consentì di abbassare notevolmente i costi e di diffondere il business della fotografia erotica.
Parigi divenne il centro di questo commercio, spesso prodotte in serie di 4, 8 o 12, le foto venivano vendute anche da commessi viaggiatori presso le stazioni ferroviarie o da donne per la strada che le nascondevano sotto gli abiti; giungevano infine anche ad esser esportate a livello internazionale in Inghilterra e negli Stati Uniti. Il mercato rimase per anni clandestino e le attività di realizzazione e di commercio venivano effettuate di nascosto per sfuggire alle proibizioni di legge e quindi alle eventuali condanne penali. Venivano definite come cartoline, ma il loro scopo primario non era per l’invio per posta, perché sarebbero state immediatamente bloccate. Julian Mandel divenne noto negli anni venti e trenta per le sue raffinate fotografie di nudi femminili: le modelle si trovano spesso in pose classiche altamente organizzate, fotografate sia in studio che all’aperto. Le immagini sono composte ad arte, con toni raffinati e un uso morbido dell’illuminazione mostrando una particolare texture creata dalla luce piuttosto che dall’ombra.
Molte fotografie di questo periodo sono state intenzionalmente danneggiate. Bellocq, per esempio, spesso graffiava i volti dei suoi soggetti per oscurarne le vere identità; alcune delle sue “sitters” sono state fotografate mentre indossano maschere. Anche Edward Weston, che operò in California negli anni venti e trenta, era costretto a fotografare le sue modelle senza mostrare i loro volti.
Una curiosità: negli anni quaranta venne coniata la parola pin up (dall’inglese “pinned up”, cioè puntare su) con cui si indicavano le donne in costume da bagno rappresentate su riviste o calendari.

Marilin Monroe, la prima playmate nel 1953

Nel dicembre del 1953, negli Stati Uniti uscì il primo numero della rivista Playboy, in cui compariva anche Marilyn Monroe.

I lampioni di Ostuni

Guardare un lampione in ferro battutto è interessante, ma può stancare. Se però il lampione è appeso alla parete bianca di una casa stretta tra vicoli ed archi oltre i quali si scorgono una valle tempestata di olivi e un mare blu, lo spettacolo non annoia, ma invoglia a cercare altri scorci… Nel rione “Terra”, il borgo antico di Ostuni, gironzoli con il naso all’insù…
Non ci sono possenti manieri, viali alberati o cattedrali imponenti. Non ci sono marmi, nè colonne con artistici capitelli (a parte forse solo la bellissima chiesa barocca di San Vito Martire).
Nella Ostuni “vecchia” le dimensioni sono di dominio del piccolo, del lezioso e del semplice ed è l’umile calce che la fa da padrona, imbiancando in abbaglianti miraggi le case, le chiesette, gli archi, le piazzette in un intrico di viuzze che incanalano dolci brezze. E così che anche i lampioni assumono un’aura magica, inerpicati fra tutto quel biancore.
Brezze e odor di mare e di basilico si alternano fra le viuzze. Un basilico frequente nella “Terra” quasi quanto i lampioni. Un altro aroma s’aggiunge ai due: il vino miscelato da un barman d’eccezione: il vento. Ma il mare e il basilico non si possono bere. Solo fiutare.
Il vino no, quello si può. Si può sprigionare da un’osteria di un solo vano, illuminata anch’essa da un lampione solitario. Entri nella piccola osteria e ti siedi ad un tavolo ripensando ai giochi di colore che, fuori, il sole comincia a creare con la finestrella dalle persiane verdi.
All’ombra del lampione, all’interno, è come se si tornasse indietro nel tempo: messapi, longobardi, bizantini, normanni si sono avvicendati, demolendo, ricostruendo e saccheggiando queste antiche strade. Ma non ne scorgi i segni. Oggi, proprio questo lampione fa pensare che nessuno abbia intenzione di rovinare il patrimonio artistico e storico di Ostuni, bensì di valorizzarlo.
Ma il profumo del mare continua a stuzzicare le nari. E andiamo a vederlo…. Otto chilometri di spiaggia, acqua limpida, piccole case (anche quì…!), agavi e fichi d’india.
A sera, sulla via del ritorno, si ammira Ostuni sulla collina a 300 metri, illuminata dai lampioni come un presepe.
Mare blu diviene nero, quasi da non scorgerlo più, ma lo indovini per l’ansare quieto di cento lampade che dondolano all’orizzonte.
(liberamente tratto da “I lampioni di Ostuni” di Vittorio Stagnani)

Miti e leggende del Salento

Il passato del popolo salentino non si racconta solo attraverso i monumenti e i preziosi reperti storici ritrovati su tutto il territorio: c’è un’altra anima del Salento da scoprire, quell’ energia più irrazionale e fanciulla che cercava di dare una spiegazione a tutto quello che esiste e prende forma vitale.

“scazzamurrieddhi” o “municeddhu” o ancora “lauri” leccesi

Piccoli ritagli quotidiani, in cui si tramandavano leggende e superstizioni, magari durante il duro lavoro nei campi oppure nel chiacchiericcio di gruppo delle “comari” durante le faccende domestiche, oppure ancora veniva fuori la sera, nei quotidiani momenti di comunione seduti in gruppo intorno al fuoco.

Una magia che ancora si avverte nel clima del Salento e nei suoi rituali tenuti in vita dalla memoria popolare. Già il mito della taranta, simbolo per eccellenza e “marchio” ufficiale degli itinerari di viaggio nel Salento, rappresenta questa tendenza al magnifico e all’immaginario, per raccontare in modo poetico e soavemente infantile sentimenti, emozioni e storie di vissuto quotidiano con toni leggendari ed epici. Come le leggendarie figure degli “scazzamurrieddhi” o “municeddhu” o ancora “lauri” leccesi, che arrecavano dispetti di ogni tipo, come nascondere o cambiare di posto oggetti e sedendosi sul petto dei dormienti suscitando incubi notturni.

Rubargli il cappello a punta, era l’unico modo di togliere potere al la loro indole irriverente.


Tra folletti, gnomi, spiritelli e “macare”, sono numerosissime le leggende locali che riguardano le masserie, le pinete, le chiese, i monumenti, oggi frequentatissimi nei periodi di vacanza nel Salento, come anche nelle suggestive zone costiere ricche di grotte e insenature naturali. Torre dell’Orso, una delle tante località balneari del Salento preferite da turisti, conosce la storia delle “due sorelle”, due scogli molto somiglianti, che si ritiene siano due sorelle mutate in quella forma dagli dei per pietà, mentre stavano annegando in mare.

Torre dell’orso – le due sorelle

Assai suggestiva è la leggenda legata a Santa Maria di Leuca e al suo mare, oggetto di altri racconti affascinanti del passato: questa meta ambita conserva la leggenda degli “scogli dannati”, un insieme di isolotti a largo di Punta Ristola, considerati “maledetti” dai naviganti in viaggio vicino alla costa perché poco visibili. Secondo la mitologia greca in questo punto Medea, per vendicarsi del marito Giasone, uccise i figli e sparse i loro corpi nelle acque, metaforicamente rappresentate dagli scogli.


In molte zone del litorale, oggi aperte al mondo e piene di vita durante le vacanze nel Salento, ci sono leggende di questo tipo. Sono incalcolabili per numero e per varietà, anche i miti legati al culto religioso, alla commemorazione delle stagioni, come anche le superstizioni e le leggende più “domestiche”, come quelle che venivano dette ai bambini per evitare che questi combinassero guai o di mettersi in situazione di pericolo, come il terribile “nanni-orcu”, creatura malvagia che mangiava i piccoli disobbedienti.

Madea e gli argonauti

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