A different way of experiencing Albano Laziale and its history, a link with Rome so strong as for Orlando Filippucci to write a story in verse that tells of the birth of Rome in an original way and underlines his love for Albano Laziale, the country of origin of the mother of the Castelli Romani.
These verses by Orlando Filippucci arise from the fragmented memory of a youth reading, a few groups of verses: a quatrain of meaning accomplished and some couplets with a comic effect.
Orlando, was born in 1913 and never tired of praising what he called “‘o mejo paese d’oo monno” everywhere he met someone who would stop and listen to him. And among the anecdotes that unfolded his stories never failed the mention of a witty poetic composition dedicated to the foundation of Rome, which he came across as a student.
That composition began like this: «In the times of the ancients, … very ancient, / already the skeins had become entangled: / They swam in the sea of trouble, / everyone had fever to save themselves!». Orlando was sure of this beginning, but the years had faded the memory of the most substantial details. But his empirical efforts to find the author and recover the work by reciting the opening words to the employees of the libraries, where he went to look for it, had always been unsuccessful.
From meeting to meeting and through story telling, Orlando had then begun to fill the voids between that first quatrain and the other verses stored in his mind with his own poetic fantasy. And that original narrative on the birth of Rome had become the opportunity (ironically captious) to restore the primacy of Albano Laziale over the eternal city!
In short, for him, always fascinated by the incomparable magnificence of Rome but devoted to the soft charm of the mother town where he had found a beloved wife and well-deserved success, the genesis of the capital of Italy was due to the foundation of this neighboring village.
In spite of the chronicles of Tito Livio, Plutarco and Dionigi di Alicarnasso, the version of the story of Rhea Silvia “according to Orlando” contemplated the fact that the unfortunate girl had been forcibly impregnated by Mars in Albano in the sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Vesta, and current church of Santa Maria della Rotonda.
Romulus and Remus, fortunately returned to embrace Numitor (their grandfather) after the abandonment on the river and the subsequent adoption by the Lupa, had then decided to emigrate due to ‘overcrowding’: Romulus reigning together with his grandfather in a small town would have been frustrating.
In the last years of his life, freed from professional commitments, Orlando had intensified the research for the original text without any success. So, in the end, he decided to sit at his desk and rebuild the story in his own way. Not without the right dose of self-mockery, as evidenced by the closure of his Christmas in Rome (Natale de Roma). «The story is all here, do you not agree? / It’s all true, my word … / That I could become blind / not able to see / that I could not tell a lie», he said winking to emphasize the falsehood.
If he had access to the internet, Orlando would have easily discovered that the composition he had read in his youth was Romolo Bacchini’s Er Natale de Roma. Published by the printing press of the Strini brothers of Albano Laziale in 1929. Fortunately, this is not the case and today we are left with this delightful bit of trivia of comic force (vis comica) that gives an account of the soul of an “Arbanese” … not necessarily DOC!
To listen to the poem click below: