There was quite a lot going on at Ponte a Moriano last week-end.
First, it was the festival of the town’s patron saint, Sant ‘Ansano, whose statue graces the bridge after which the town is named. (For more on the bridge, which celebrates its 900th anniversary this year and the town itself see my post at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/ponte-a-moriano/).
Second, there was an attractive Christmas market which included my first sighting of Babbo Natale this year.
Third, there was a small but very select display of vintage cars calculated to delight anyone who remembers motoring as it once was. Spot the Lancia Fulvia here?
Fourth, there was a blues festival organised by the Croce Verde, the other voluntary ambulance and emergency body (the main one is the Croce Rossa) which saved my elbow when I skidded off my scooter earlier this year. Here’s the ambulance which transported me to Lucca hospital for stitching up:
The Blues festival was a fun jam session with the band bringing out some classic numbers including ‘Got my Mojo working’ written by Preston Foster and popularised by Muddy Waters’. (PS A mojo is a good luck charm in case you’re wondering.)
The festival was accompanied by a scrumptious lunch which included the best-filled neccio (chestnut pancake) I’ve had for ages (ricotta cheese and Nutella). It was a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Fifthly, there were three exhibitions on the top floor of the Nieri Theatre which dominates the town’s square:
- An exhibition on the Mille Miglia car race which, this year went through Ponte a Moriano (and also Ponte a Serraglio). The photographs were quite stunning and some were on sale. I think a book should be made of them.
2. An exhibition by the children from the local primary school – most inventive. Recognize the Klimt?
(Incidentally the ‘winterval’ curse has fallen upon Italy this year as it did in the UK some years ago. Some head teachers said that Christmas discriminated (!) against those children who were born into a different culture and religion. When the principal decided against having a Christmas tree in the foyer of the FE College I worked at in the UK the first person to object was the Hindu receptionist. He quickly backtracked on his ridiculous decision. Fortunately, none of the schools in our area have been put into such a stupid situation and I hope they never will.)
3. An exhibition of war memorabilia (if war could ever be described as memorable) from the Gothic Line committee. (See my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/secret-mission-across-the-gothic-line-a-success/ to find out about the gothic line).
The shop run by older citizens and displaying some of their wares was also open. One of the staff showed me a pass, dating from before Italy was unified, allowing a person to travel from the Estensi kingdom to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany:
The person lived in Nieri’s house close by. I was curious for I’d seen the plaque on the façade:
and its inscription which reads:
|O VIANDANTI DELLA VITA
SALUTATE IL MAESTRO
DI VERITA’ NON FUGACI
DEL PONTE A MORIANO 1853-1920
LINGUA DEL COSTUME
DELLE TRADIZIONI DEL-
LA SUA LUCCHESIA AD-
DITO’ NELLA SCUOLA E
NELLE OPERE IL RITORNO
ALLA TERRA QUALE FONTE
PERENNE DI SALUTE E DI
LA REALE ACCADEMIA LUCCHESE
CONSACRÒ QUESTO RICORDO
IL 26 NOVEMBRE 1939
GREET IDELFONSO NIERI
FROM PONTE A MORIANO 1853-1920,
WHO DIDN’T FLY FROM THE TRUTH.
THE LANGUAGE OF
OF HIS LUCCHESIA
AND SHOWED THE WAY
IN SCHOOLS AND HIS WORKS
TO THE EARTH, THE SOURCE
OF LASTING HEALTH AND
THE LUCCA ROYAL ACADEMY
CONSECRATED THIS TRIBUTE
ON 26TH NOVEMBER 26, 1939)
Who was this Nieri who had Ponte a Moriano’s theatre named after him?
Idelfonso Nieri was born in Ponte a Moriano in 1853 and died in Lucca in 1920. He was a philologist and writer and worked as a secondary school teacher in the area. Nieri is important for two main literary works: his dictionary of the Lucchese dialect, which is obtainable at
and his works on Lucchese folklore.
Nieri’s ‘Cento Racconti Popolari Lucchesi’ (one hundred popular lucchesi tales) is downloadable at
Nieri also translated Theophrastus’ ‘Characters’ from the Greek.
Live and learn… I can now put a face and a biography on that previously unknown name!