Out of 3,200 nominations, only 8% win the coveted banner that contributes to their rebirth. Young people? They are graduates, and they return to live there. To carry on the ancient traditions but with a pinch of innovation. Have you ever tried roveja beer?
Slow tourism, authentic and respectful of the environment. If today going to villages is a trend, much of the credit goes to the Italian Touring Club, the oldest (1894) association for the promotion of tourism in our country: first, 23 years ago, it grasped and highlighted the tourist potential of the small towns of the hinterland contributing to their rebirth. Because the Orange Flag, the recognition that, year after year, the Touring confers, after an in-depth and careful selection, to the villages with excellent results, a real godsend. Arrivals (+ 45%) and accommodation facilities (+ 83% on average, from the year of assignment) are increasing, and (our) awareness is growing that Italy, the cradle of civilization in the village, is an asset that should be protected more and more. Thus, tourists arrive there, but also new inhabitants. Not a little. Especially if they are young and have decided to take advantage of studies and experiences to carry on the traditions of the area.
The new Orange Flags
Out of over 3,200 applications analyzed in these 23 years, only 8% have obtained recognition: the Touring today awarded the 262 Orange Flags for the three-year period 2021-2023, confirming 251 already in place and awarding 11 new locations: Canelli and Castagnole delle Lanze, Revello, Rosignano Monferrato, Susa and Trisobbio in Piedmont are tinged with orange; Badalucco and Vallebona in Liguria, Bridges over the Mincio in Lombardy, Nocera Umbra in Umbria and Subiaco in Lazio. The initiative is a concrete example of the commitment of our Association in taking care of Italy as a common good – says Franco Iseppi, President of the Italian Touring Club – with the aim of spreading knowledge of the territories, especially the lesser known ones, by educating to beauty of the landscape and the environment. Beautiful villages (the localities all enjoy a valuable historical, cultural and environmental heritage) and with many stories to tell. Because more and more young graduates choose them to live there, who have preferred to go back to their origins in the city.
Giorgio, who has a degree in Economics and is a necciaio
As did Giorgio Filippelli: he is 32 years old, he comes from Pescia, in Tuscany, and works as a necciaio. I make necci, that is, the poor version of bread, made only with water and chestnut flour. I studied Economics and Commerce, then Writing and Theater but I have been cooking since I was little. Everything I know about necci I learned from my grandmother Lina, who taught me how to make them with the mixture of turkish wheat and salts. At the end of 2019 I decided to found a company (the Necciaio di Filippelli Giorgio, in Necci di Collodi) and recover a culinary tradition of the mountains I come from, the Swiss Pesciatina, adapting it to the contemporary trend of the diffusion of street-food. With his mobile workstation, Giorgio first made himself known in Florence, also starting a collaboration with Eataly which offered him a pop-up inside the city shop. I opened the company for it in the village. There you live better, even if only for the presence of nature. I am confident, the future of small villages is all downhill.
Abandoned land and roveja beers
Let’s stay in the territory to work! I am a journalist and my veterinarian cousin; our great-grandfather had a mill where in the 1950s the flour was ground to stone. In short, why not start from there. Alessandro Orfei, 31 years old, studies literature and then journalism in Perugia, in Nocera Umbra he also stayed to live. Here the quality of life is incomparable to that of the big cities – he underlines -. If I feel like a cinema or a theater I go to Foligno, a 20-minute drive away. In big cities, it takes up to an hour to get to work. Thus in Nocera Umbra with his cousin Emanuele Paggi he gave life to Agribio Monte Pennin, bringing to light the ancient crops, selecting the most suitable varieties for the soil and restoring abandoned mountain lands to cultivation. The goal is to rediscover the virtues of the Apennines – continues Alessandro -. We grow lentils, spelled, chickpeas, roveja and ancient grains. Thanks to the modern stone mill we obtain the flours. And we also produce beers with lentils and Roveja, an ancient legume called “wild pea”.
The quality villages have withstood the crisis
Despite the worldwide collapse of tourism in the last year and a half, for 66% of Orange Flag Municipalities the season was in line and, in many cases, better than the previous year. According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the economic impact of the collapse of tourism due to the Coronavirus pandemic could exceed 4 trillion dollars. The Italian villages have not been spared from this global crisis, but the short 2020 summer season went for small Italian towns, in particular for those certified with the Italian Touring Club brand, better than elsewhere. The trademark has a temporary validity, every three years the Municipalities must re-submit the application and be subjected to a new analysis. An incentive to do better and better.
July 15, 2021 (change July 15, 2021 | 00:15)
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