Nowadays the farming life may seem something old or obsolete. It may cause curiosity, interest and involvement. It could be compared to the same feeling we have when we watch an old black and white movie. We know it is something that belongs and concerns us all. It works in this way especially in Italy, where most of families have farming origins. Time has passed and today we are oriented towards an even more technological future. A future where grandmas’ knowledges are replaced by Google’s knowledges, where the land and its fruits are useful to be photographed and posted on Instagram, where vineyards are used only for scenography of our stories.
The best moment of the day
It seems impossible that in the past our grandparents’ life was guided only by sunlight. Here at Poggio al Bosco too: the alarm clock rang early in the morning and the day was dedicated to work in the fields with different tasks depending on the seasons: pruning, binding, grapes’ and olives’ harvest. On the other side, the evening was the best part of the day to share moments with other persons. It belonged to the family and it was dedicated to rest and to the conviviality. During the summer, after dinner, the whole family came down in the farmyard to meet friends and families that lived nearby. The farmyard, that we call “aia” in Italian, was nothing more than the small yard adjoining the rural house. In the evening this place assumed a special role becoming theatre of stories, tales, facts of the day and facts of the village. During the winter, these meetings, called “veglia” in Italian, took place in the stable: it was probably the hottest place of the whole house.
“Come on, let’s go to the farmyard!”
Grandparents were used to say loudly to the children “Come on, let’s go to the farmyard!” In this moment, duties were interrupted and worries were forgotten. Whole families gathered together sharing jokes, gossips and tales or playing games, dancing and singing with a glass of wine. One of the most common story in our area was the legend of “The ghost of Brolio”, that now we are going to tell you.
The ghost of Brolio
Surrounded by Chianti’s vineyards, the huge Brolio’s Castle belonged, and still belongs, to the important Florentine family of Ricasoli, whose the most famous exponent is surely Bettino Ricasoli, called the Iron Baron. As we have told you in the first part of our story about the history and origins of Chianti, Ricasoli is remembered to be the inventor of the Chianti Wine’s recipe, but he is also the main character of a famous local legend passed down from generation to generation. It is told that on full moon nights, in the countryside near the castle, the ghost of the Baron wanders on horseback, wrapped in a long black coat and followed by a pack of hunting dogs. It is also said that the ghost is used to visit his bedroom: sometimes maids discover the messed up bed and cigar’s butts on his bedside table. The Baron Ricasoli was impetuous and despotic in life, but even dead he does not want to give peace to the inhabitants of Brolio! This story is really well know in our area: in 1964 the painter Walter Molino dedicated to that a cover of the magazine La Domenica del Corriere.
The Baron Ricasoli’s legend is only one of many stories that were told during meetings of veglia. Often these stories were only an excuse to meet each other, to chat freely, to stay together and to enjoy each other’s closeness after a strong work day.
Would it not be nice, even today, to meet up with people who are dearest to us to carry on this nice habit of the past?