Buonconvento seen through my eyes
To get cultural and historic information about this medieval village in Val d’Arbia, on the borderline with the Crete Senesi, its sufficient to Google the word Buonconvento, and you get the info which you might need.
But the history of this village is not covered by the few pages available, at least not in the opinion of those, like myself, who were born here and have lived her until I was 20.
Seen for you by Bonella Ciacci
Some days ago I went to lunch at my parents, and after lunch I went for a walk along the main roads in the historic centre.
During my walk I realized that every wall, every door, every narrow lane tell me some of my history, which is unique and personal, but at the same time in entwined with the history of all of us buonconventini (or “bocconventini”, as we say).
The first part of my walk brings me to the “Cattivi Frati” bar, in via Soccini (just as a second thought I realize that the Soccini’s, or Socini’s, were my boss, Donatella Cinelli Colombini‘s ancestors).The bar belongs to a friend of mine Andrea, who has taken it over from his brothers. He has given it this name because of the local saying “Buon convento, cattivi frati”, sad epitaph of the inhabitants of the village, something they earned seven hundred years ago.
The story says that the Emperor Arrigo VII di Lussemburgo was poisoned here by a monk. Today this bar is where all the young people of the village meet for their aperitif. Andrea, the manager, is a buonconventino by adoption as his origins are in Campania, and he sustains that when he speaks in his Neapolitan slang the American understand him better than when he tries to express himself , with difficulty in English.
Continuing in my walk along via Soccini, I walked past the health shop, that was
once the Bellugi watch shop. Does this name mean anything to you? It is a pride and joy of us buonconventini, the Bellugi watch mender was father of Mauro Bellugi, footballer in the Italian team played in the 1978 world cup, and who also played for Inter (although I am a Juventus fan I do appreciate that this piece of news is worthy of attention).
On my way back, I walked again along via Soccini (the village is small the roads are short..) and then I continue along via Dante Alighieri. And that is where it is , my infants school… pure nostalgia thinking back to those days, those immense halls, the park behind the building where we used to play in the summer inside an old Fiat cinquecento without wheels and doors. Only as an adult have I discovered that the school dates back to early nineteen hundreds, palazzo Grisaldi-Del Taja, who’s facade recalls the eighteenth century and decorations in Liberty style. I don’t think that any of my classmates then imagined in what sort of historic building we were running and playing in… Consider that the project to create an infant’s school in Buonconvento is planned in 1899, upon request of the Bishop of Montepulciano.
Completely taken with this “amarcord”, atmosphere I get into the car and decide to go and see, from a distance, another Liberty style villa just out of the village. Because like every village all over the world there must be a haunted house! So here we are at the villa La Rondinella. I passed to many afternoons here in the summer, in the gardens with a friend, with our binoculars pinched from her dad, watching that white female figure painted on the outside of the turret, to see if she really moved…a few times I was absolutely sure to have seen her shift.. Fervid kids imagination, or really the ghost of a mysterious woman who still today scares those who are too nosey? Come to Fattoria del Colle for a visit and I will tell you all the legends regarding that uninhabited scary villa!