"Historically, this was not a rich world; predominantly agricultural, its wealth has always been wine and oil. Unlike Tuscany, the valley contains no large reservoirs of art or culture, it has no beaches, no cathedrals and no tourists. Until recently, large numbers of its inhabitants emigrated to Europe, the Americas and the Antipodes. No one ever came here, they just left."
"Lurking within this undisturbed territory is, of course, the real Italy. People from all over the peninsula lay claim to living in the real Italy, but they are wrong. The real Italy lies here, in the Comino Valley, north of Naples, south of Rome, high in the mountains, surrounded by the Apennine peaks."
"Families in Italy are large, not just because there are lots of children, but because they also include, cousins, second cousins, in-laws, godparents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Third cousins are aware of one another's presence and, though not strictly obliged to accept one another as family, often do."
"Italians, despite their apparently carefree life-style, are conservative by nature. They value the past and its lessons, they value order, saving money, education and self-advancement. The family unit makes much of this possible. Family members have the right to call on each other when they need help, but to obtain this right they are also subject to the responsibilities of being a member. Each favor demands a favor in return, each action is considered before a reaction. If a friend or relation gives you a plate of freshly made gnocchi, you do not return the plate empty. This tradition is no more than the recognition of the need to keep a balance."
"The family unit also explains why whole villages find themselves displaced to another part of the world. This is simply because the first to arrive would have sent for his brother or wife, then her cousin, his cousins, their wives and so on. Anyone thinking of emigrating would always think of going to where family and friends already were."
"Italians are house proud. Their houses are spotlessly clean and scrupulously tidy. It can get carried to extremes. It seems the middle road is not one Italians will take. They like extremes, in all aspects of their life, including politics. They embraced fascism whole-heartedly and rejected it equally whole-heartedly. Nothing comes in moderation, least of all moderation."
"The concern and control that Italians exercise over their personal fashion extends to most of the family as well. Why are children so regimented? Why are teenagers so controlled? There is no debate in Italy as to who is at fault if teenagers run wild. It is the parents, no question. There is no concept that society at large is to blame; the buck stops with the family. So it stands to reason that if you are going to get the blame for your offspring's bad behaviour, you must make some attempt to curb it." - Paolo Tullio "North of Naples, South of Rome"
Settefrati is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Frosinone in the Italian region of Lazio. It is located about 120 km east of Rome and about 40 km east of Frosinone. As of December 31, 2004, it had a population of 843 and an area of 50.6 km. Settefrati is a sister city of Stamford, Connecticut.
The Madonna di Canneto appeared near Settefrati and she is the town's Patron Saint. If you look closely at the photo of the main altar you will see behind a covered niche where the statue of the Madonna remains hidden for most of the year. At the time of the celebration, she is placed on a golden throne and carried by the faithful up the mountain to the place where she appeared. She stays there for four days then is returned to her niche for another year. - Ann Tantangelo - Italian researcher and the photographer of the following photos taken in Settefrati.