This post is also available in: Italian is selected alongside Eva Evola and Aaron Caruso, two opera singers from the Italo/American Bellini Opera Foundation, to receive a prestigious Rocca D’Oro award at the presentations in Serrone.

This Ciociarian town lays across the steepish slopes of Mount Scalambra and is a famous centre for Cesanese red wine and ‘soaring’.

The summer evening settles slowly over Serrone, so the warmth of the day gets to compete with the evening breeze before the inevitable shawl is drawn as dusk falls.

On the evening of 2nd July, we arrived early and sat in the Piazzitella (the closest that one could envisage a square in Serrone) watching the preparations for the 28th edition of the awards of the ‘Rocca D’Oro’. We watched the last paraglider descending, swooping and sliding with the air currents and, above him, the dark clouds rising over the mountain tops and disappearing as they moved over the plains of the Sacco River.

The award of the Rocca D’Oro is an annual event created and hosted by Giancarlo Flavi, the Serrone bred journalist and ‘showman’ whose daily newspaper reaches about 120.000 people predominantly in Ciociaria.

Each year, the jury, led by General (ret) Carlo Felice Corsetti, select about 20 persons and organisations from near and far to receive the award, this year a marble model of a Guelph castle tower by sculptor G. Alveti.

The stage, managed with aplomb by our host was beautified by Claudia Andreatti the statuesque presenter and expert stage foil, dressed alluringly, maybe for a hot Sicilian evening. The third member of the stage tri-umvirate, arrayed in white, is Maestro Massimo Cappello, whose smile matches the twinkling of his fingers on the piano balancing the presenters with intermissions of well known and loved tunes.

This year the awards counted the presence of members of the Bellini Opera Foundation from Detroit. Their connection to this awards evening is a life-long friendship between the co-founder, baritone Dino Valle and General Corsetti.

The joint founder and sponsor of the foundation, Rosolino Do Luca is native to Cinisi near Palermo, a citizen of Detroit, and a great admirer of the music of Bellini, a Sicilian composer of grand operas.  

Two singers from Bellini Opera have been awarded and have performed two of the most famous concert songs. Firstly, Aaron Caruso entertained with a powerful rendition of the song that Sinatra made his own, ‘My Way’.

And later, despite the descending freshness of the evening, Eva Evola soared with the soprano aria from Puccini’s opera, Gianni Schicchi, ‘Oh My Beloved Father’, where the ‘heroine’ threatens to throw herself off Florence’s Ponte Vecchio unless her father lets her marry her beloved.

This little masterpiece seems to have been thrown into the one act opera by Puccini just to satisfy the audiences with a tune they could hum on the way home. Nevertheless, thank you, Giacomo, for the notes and thank you, Eva, for the lovely rendition.

The close cultural bridge between Italy and USA was evidenced emotively by Dino Valle who, on the spur of the moment, sang the Hymn of Ciociaria to the generous applause and appreciation of the audience.  

We are proud as to be counted among the recipients of an award and to receive the accolades of those in attendance, particularly for the Serrone Italian/English guide book released at the event.

This guide book is one of 12 now published from the over 350 towns of Lazio whose stories have already been summarised on our portal. The books are not just travel guides but tell wonderful stories of each town and highlight special features and tales of people and the place.

It is rewarding to join the leading figures from authorities, sport, journalism, the church and charities who were praised on this evening.

In true Roman tradition, although we may have been in the distant shadow of the eternal city, the evening, having started about one hour after the published time, reached its conclusion of stage events some time after 10pm. Thus, with commencement of degustation occurring in the deepening night, a glass of red was called for to warm the vocal chords for the traditional ‘chiacchiera’ to midnight.

Another successful Rocca D’Oro event by Giancarlo Flavi!

Gavin Tulloch

Scienziato e poeta. Ama la chimica, il vino, le donne e l’opera, ma non sappiamo in quale ordine