Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

With a witty and cordial expression, typical of Chianti grandmothers, Lina Selvolini has a great capacity for communication. The history of the town of Volpaia evolves chapter by chapter from her stories. The history of this town in the township of Radda in Chianti is fascinating.

Lina Selvolini (she doesn’t want to be called “Mrs.”) and her ancestors have lived for centuries in one of the most imposing Volpaia homes, built into the body of the castle walls. Hers is the only one that is inhabited.

A Maltese Cross is sculpted in stone on the entrance to this historic abode. Lina tells us the story of her family, who for 200 years ran an historic food shop, which later added “salt and tobacco” and was sold at the end of the 1950’s. Lina has been telling her story since the end of WWll, memories and tales that left their mark on her, especially since she was only 10 years old during the Nazi-Fascist military occupatio.

In that rural context the feudal system was still practiced. The Industrialist Fiani, the Marquis Bartolini and Signor Piercapponi gave work to the locals in their fields. The German soldiers installed their logistic base for the territorial command in the Selvolini house.

Lina’s story begins here. In a lucid manner, she reconstructs the genuine flavor and simplicity of the solidarity of the chianti farmers.  Some families from Livorno reached Volpaia in search of refuge and work. Their port city had been heavily bombarded.

Carlo, Irma and Sandro, children of the Bertoli family who found refuge in the Selvolini household, integrated well with the 300 or so residents of Volpaia.  “Even though at the beginning”, Lina tells us smiling, “ they stayed “un po’ sulle scale’”… in other words, with a haughty attitude to mark their status.

The marriage between Carlo Bertoli and the local, Teresa Selvolini sealed the special tie that was created in those difficult days between the small town of Volpaia and the guests from Livorno.

And as the history of Casa Selvolini expresses the centuries of history of the town of Volpaia, “nonna” Lina is the protagonist of their purist soul.

Cosimo Ciampoli