In the frame of summer happenings organised by the Piccoli Foundation and in collaboration with the town of Mundimitar in the Italian region of Molise an event was staged on the 17th of August dedicated to the traditions and the preservation of the local dialect under the Večera na našo (Evening In Our Tongue) moniker. Antonio Sammartino, the president of the foundation, moderated the event.

The event opened with a presentation of the latest book related to the history of the arrival of Croatians to the region, penned by Mr Sammartino, Ivo Marinović and Baldo Šutić. The book, Roots – The Croatians of the Biokovo Region and the Lower Neretva in Italy, is the fruit of research of the rich Franciscan archives in the Croatian coastal town of Zaostrog. Other authors of the volume are Giacomo Scotti and Predrag Matvejević, with an introduction penned by Zlatko Giljević. The book includes an extensive list of Molise Croat families and surnames in Italy. It also sheds new light on where exactly from the other side of the Adriatic these people came to Italy from.
In the continuation of the evening there was a screening of Croatian film director Matko Petrić’s movie Drops of Sea, Drops of Sun (Kapi mora, kapi sunca), which offers an idiosyncratic view of the island town of Komiža. The screenplay is by journalist Renato Baretić, a native of Zagreb now living in the coastal city of Split. The film features the late actor Ivica Vidović reading the verse of sciences and arts academy member Jakša Fiamengo.

The evening continued with recitals of poetry. The first to appear was Gabriela Brajevich, a guest from California’s San Pedro. Brajevich and Sammartino are members of the Croatian Emigrant Lyricism association. Her poem Vratit ću se (I’ll Be Back) touched many a heart in Mundimitar, as there are many there hoping one day to see their loved ones back in the old country – it is a well known fact that the Croatians of the Molise region have also been scattered across the world, with a community of some 2,000 in the Australian city of Perth alone.

The event closed with a presentation of prizes for this year’s literary competition for best poem written in the Molise dialect of Croatian. Third and second place went to Lucio Caruso and first prize went to Gabriel Blascetta, born in Mundimitar and now living in Austria’s Gradišće (Burgenland) region. Blascetta’s marriage to wife Renata, a Gradišće Croatian, has linked two of our linguistic enclaves in Europe. Their son also won a special commendation for his work in music. The prize aims to encourage the participation of young people in the life of the region.

The event also featured a group of young musicians performing the music of the Romani people of the Balkan region.
The summer happenings wound up over the coming few days, first with a festival that saw the entire town turn into a kitchen serving up some four hundred servings of beans and noodles, known locally as pasta e fagioli, ad other local culinary specialities. Socialising is, of course, the first item on the menu. 
The summer events wrapped up with a performance of the theatre play Teštamenat Cile Sepa. 

Text & Photos: Branka Bezić Filipović