Here are my thoughts dedicated to Umberto Schina and his love for Paliano, a love with explosions of emotions like his good-natured gruff character.
His latest creative work saw him become a wine entrepreneur by planting the largest vineyard in the area, right in one of the symbolic places in the history of the beautiful Ciociarian village.
The entrance to Paliano is the symbol of the city itself: the Uccelli Park on one side and on the other a splendid vineyard that lies gently on a slope. The vineyard has been replanted and was constantly cared for by Umberto Schina, a man and entrepreneur who throughout his life loved Paliano and his family.
Umberto was a man of strong principles, all in one piece, generous with the needy but inflexible at work. He was a benefactor for his adopted town perhaps because he never forgot the path that had led him to success.
Originally from Filettino, a village between the Simbruini and Catari Mountains, at the age of 16, after the death of his father, he left school to run the family woodcutter company that employed about eighty people.
Life was an uphill struggle, he arrived in Paliano and opened businesses in construction and road repairs but, remembering his background, he never left a worker go on foot.
In the 1970s, he came to be president of the BCC of Paliano at a time when the Cassa Rurale ed Artigiana (the bank’s former name) was having serious problems. As a brave leader, Umberto signed a bill of guarantee for 40 million ‘old lire’ to the Bank of Italy.
A cheque he kept for years after honouring it with incredible reconstruction activities. The outcome was that the bank grew, opened new branches and, even today, is an example of a credit institution that is serving people.
He also entered politics, always as a minority councillor but always on the benches to oversee the work of the directors.
Being a minority city councillor, and assiduously participating in public life, is truly an act of love for one’s town, especially for a man used to making decisions. The minority councillor observes, controls, but can rarely decide anything.
The greatest act of love for Paliano occurred when, one morning in 1981, the castle walls of Viale dei Bastioni collapsed. Political and administrative responsibilities began to be bounced back and forth between the municipality and the province, so Umberto broached the delay and repaired the whole landslide.
He built a new powerful retaining wall and in a few months gave the city the right visibility it deserved.
Three commitments carried out with passion and stubbornness (entrepreneurial, political and administrative) led him to receive the “La Lupa del Campidoglio” award from the hands of the mayor of Rome on the threshold of his first 80 years.
Finally, he returned to the land setting up the production of Cesanese DOCG, Passerina del Frusinate and other grape varieties. The opportunity was still to restore prestige to Paliano, to the Selva di Paliano, founded by Prince Antonello Ruffo of Calabria, and to its vineyards that had been compromised by a fire.
He did not think twice and participated in the public auction by purchasing the more than 80 hectares of land along the entrance road to Paliano and revived an incredible vineyard.
It is a business that involved all generations of the family united in the creation of a model farm for production methods, the choice of grapes and the care of the landscape.
In fact, the vineyard is the first image seen by a traveller who arrives at the Park or who wants to go to Paliano, and Umberto treated the landscape with the care of a landscape architect respecting the designs and shapes desired by Prince Antonello.
Not to mention the playing field of the convent of Santa Maria, built in 4 days to allow children to spend time in the school fields of the beautiful convent from where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Paliano. Then all the children were invited to the pool for a refreshing swim!
Umberto, a whole man, with sound principles who always carried out his businesses with pride and humility without ever forgetting his origins.