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Food as Cultural Heritage in Italy: An Anthropology Student’s Perspective

anfs-379-student-reflection-2 ANFS 370:Anthropology of Food students explored the notion of food as cultural heritage by visiting two sites in Città di Castello: the heritage orchard “Fondazione Archeologia Arborea”, and the Research Center and Museum of Folk Traditions or “tradizioni popolari”. Below is a reflection written by one anthropology student, Gerard Pozzi:

“Our class field trip to Città di Castello provided me with both an authentic and colorful glimpse into the history of rural life. The orchard has the goal to preserve heritage species of fruits (that would otherwise disappear). I found particularly interesting the emphasis on the preservation of tradition and heritage, occuring simultaneously with the incorporation of modern scientific and agricultural techniques. The curator of the orchard, Isabella Dalla Ragione, taught us the tremendous history behind each fruit, and the unique tastes and recipes that are uncovered when (excuse the pun) digging — though, rather, picking — bits and pieces from the past.

anfs-379-student-reflectionThe heritage farmhouse was an enriching experience, engaging all of the senses to experience what life in this farmhouse once resembled. I was interested in the agricultural and household equipment, from old tractors to (what was then) innovative kitchen tools. My favorite room, I (unsurprisingly) have to say, is the kitchen. The immense hearth in the center resonated with me, as it put emphasis on the process of making the local version of torta al testo, ‘ciaccia.’

The visit and tour of Isabella’s property and the heritage farmhouse in Città di Castello was informative and inspiring. It reminded me of the importance of preserving heritage and tradition in a way that does not distance us too much from the past. In my opinion, it is important, even today, with modern technology and innovation constantly in flux, to expose younger generations to the past, antique ways of life. Perspective on both the past and the present is eternally useful”

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