Brescello, February 2020. I came to this village in the lower Reggio area for work, but when I crossed Piazza Matteotti I realized that I had entered another world, the "small" one, described by Giovannino Guareschi, writer, journalist and designer from whose imagination the characters of Don Camillo and Peppone: "This is the Bassa (…) and in Piacenza also the small world of my stories begins, which small world is located in that slice of plain between the Po and the Apennines". A long story, that of Guareschi, through post-war rural Italy, developed in 346 episodes published mostly on "White"(humorous-satirical magazine that he founded with Giovanni Mosca in 1946, publisher Rizzoli who later also became a producer of the films). The narration of a laborious peasant environment, made up of human solidarity and strong passions, accompanied by a landscape marked by the river and from the plain.
And here Peppone and Don Camillo come to life ("who created them is the Bassa. I met them, I took them by the arm and made them walk up and down the alphabet.") Who for all have the faces of the two actors who played them: “Gino Cervi corresponds exactly to my Peppone, Fernadel has not the slightest resemblance to my Don Camillo. But he is so good that he blew the place for my praeton. So now when I venture into some new Don Camillo story, I find myself in serious difficulty because I have to have a priest who has the face of Fernadel work ”.
Those who cross Brescello cannot do without feel on the set of the five films that were shot here between '51 and '65. There is still the Casa del Popolo with the inscription clearly visible, there is the house where Peppone overlooked, under the arcades of via Giglioli there is the recently restored Sputnik bell. But it is crossing the square that you can see the two bronze statues dedicated to the two protagonists and respectively placed one near the seat of the Common and the other to the church, where the wooden crucifix to which Don Camillo was addressing is kept inside.
In Small world of course we ate, meals were frugal: bread, cheese, cold cuts obtained from pigs, a soup with lard, an onion omelette, fried cake, fresh pasta, stuffed or not, homemade. Occasionally a few backyard chickens. All washed down with a glass of Lambrusco. Goodness that can still be eaten today in the many trattorias in the area in a small journey that from Roncole Verdi leads to Busseto, Zibello, Roccabianca, Fontanelle, Soragna, San Secondo, Colorno and finally Brescello. Here the museum awaits you Peppone and Don Camillo and the B museumrescello and Guareschi, the territory and the cinema. Nearby is Don Camillo's restaurant La Bottega del Paese, where I ate, which he has bought in the course of time the photos of the filming of the films completely wallpapering the walls. For a dip in the food of the Small world and Italian cinema of the 1950s.
on Sale & Pepe of October 2020