Wild asparagus grows in most of our Italian peninsula, our climate is an accomplice of this delicacy.
Together with the climate, then, it seems that the ancient Romans, who were greedy, have planted asparagus among the olive tree crops.
Don’t ask me how they did it because I don’t know. But I am sure I have read it somewhere, and therefore there must be a part of history. Anyway, the bunches are so beautiful that I like to imagine them also depicted in the beautiful frescoes of the civilization of the city.
that there are in most of the peninsula, but here in Terni, without claiming to be special, “Li Spiraci” are a serious matter. Don’t mess with it.
Being like me long and thin, and being ironically called “sparaciu”, is only a point of honour.
But why all this importance?
Because our local cuisine gives its best at Easter and on the table there is absolutely no lack of “wild greens”. Maybe accompanied with ‘ciriole’, our typical pasta, or with the classic omelette made with various fragrant wild herbs.
Terni then is located in a hollow, and even citizens like I am are in five minutes among the olive trees and the scrub to try their hand at harvesting.
Some lazy people will now say: “But isn’t it easier to buy them?”
Of course, but know that in Holy Week, they can even reach 40 to 50 € per kg, and it is right because sloth must be punished and the risk must be rewarded.
In fact, it can happen that you will walk the whole morning and not even a hectogram of them, or after having climbed an infamous cliff, realize that someone has already passed over it.
And then there may be the little viper that seems to be watching them, and I absolutely recommend getting a special stick, better if done by hand.
But above all, there is a great obstacle for the neophyte collector: Marsilio.
I call him Marsilio for convenience, but here in Umbria, the land of Francesco, Rita, Benedetto and Valentino, the “old men”, have very pagan names. Marsilius is a widespread name, but there may also be Anchises, Ercole, Boemo, Sparsero, Spartaco, Eraldo, Evandro, Liutprando … etc.
I got lost … so in summary, Marsilio is the number one enemy of us “tenerelli” (young) collectors.
Marsilio, as I said above, is an old man with an indefinite age, maybe from 70 to 100 years old, but he looks the same as when he was 50.
Marsilio walks very badly, he is all bruised, from arthritis poor thing … and yet … how the hell is that every time I meet him in the most inaccessible places (which would put Messner in difficulty) he carries in his hand a “round bale” of at least a 100 kg of wild asparagus.
Then, obviously being older, he waits to be greeted first and it is with a mischievous smile that he asks you how it went.
Then when showing the meager booty, the inexperienced collector like me can fall into Marsilio’s worst trap: to listen to his advice. Marsilio is one with the bush, Marsilio was born there, Marsilio as a child used the vipers as yo-yo …
Yet someone can fall into it, because I fell there too, and once following his “tracks” I found Bonatti’s lighter, Nobile’s red tent, the Holy Grail, but not even the shadow of wild asparagus.
This is because our “Macchiaroli elders” are so expert in misdirection that they would be the envy of the CIA and KGB, combined.
Then what is there to say … first commandment and only valid commandment of Marsilio: “YOU DON’T TELL”.
That’s why I’m not showing them to you this year, but those old ones …
Good luck … and avoid the viper of course.