I arrive early in Marano Equo on a sunny Saturday morning and, to my surprise, in the main square I find three bars a short distance from each other.
I really didn't know what to choose, but a bar had all the tables in the sun and so I choose Bar La Maina, the one inside the square with the tables under the trees.
When I arrive in one of the small villages of the Aniene Valley to look for Town Ambassadors, the first thing is a tour of the ancient village to take photographs and then a coffee. Coffee at the bar is perhaps one of the emblems of the Italian lifestyle (together with pasta) and allows me to have a chat with the locals and get a first impression of life in the town.
I had already walked around the alleys up to the castle, and so I propose to the mayor Franco Tozzi that we meet directly at the bar to introduce him to the Town Ambassadors and involve Marano Equo in the internationalization project of the villages of the metropolitan area of Rome.
The bar is strangely full of women and from their conversations it is clear that they are entrepreneurs and run local businesses. When they leave, I break the ice with the bartender and ask an incredible series of questions.
This is Nancy and she has been living in Marano Equo for two years with her husband and three children aged 8, 6 and 4. With her husband they chose to move immediately after Covid: “we had a house with a garden in Rome and we seemed lucky, but Covid deeply marked us. As soon as we were able to go out, we took a walk in Marano Equo which was my grandmother's village. My husband fell in love and within hours we decided to move.”
In Marano there are nursery and elementary schools, and the children go on foot by themselves, in any case the whole town controls them from afar. Nancy is not alone and 2 other families with children have chosen to move to this small village.
“In the afternoon the square is filled with children playing and for them it is a paradise. Just think that when my children make me angry, I threaten them to 'return to Rome' and they immediately become obedient!"
I think it is the most beautiful sentence I have heard in these tours in the Aniene Valley because it expresses the beauty of life in the villages with a familiar image.
When the mayor Franco Tozzi arrives it is time for a second coffee and I immediately ask him how three bars can live in such a small town: "We are small but we have a series of services that make this town come alive by the residents but also by people who come from out. We are generally happy and perhaps we spread this feeling of well-being”.
Franco sees an elderly person walking in the square and calls her to ask him for information on the emigration phenomena of Marano Equo. I am amazed by the sweetness of this gentleman who exudes a profound calm, and I am also amazed by the way in which the mayor treats him. "Don't be surprised, this was the teacher of the village but he is also my father".
At the beginning of the twentieth century many had left Marano Equo to go abroad but almost all returned. But the teacher’s memory begins to list a series of families who are still outside and willingly come back every now and then to find their roots.
I would be happy to find a Town Ambassador of Marano Equo. Much happiness must be distributed.
As I leave, I notice a door in an alley where posters of ancient processions are attached and I wonder about the main saint: Saint Blaise or Saint Anthony?
This door is a piece of history, and it is so beautiful that I would detach it and keep it as a symbol of the past history of Marano Equo.
At the next coffee!