SAN VITALE Hermit
Bastia Umbra, 1295 - Assisi, 31 may 1370
An exemplary story of a brigand who spent his youth in sin, but repented and went on a pilgrimage across Europe to atone for his sins. Reduced to penance at the Monastery of St Benedict on Mount Subasio, he lived as a hermit in St Mary of Viole near Assisi in absolute poverty. It is said that he had only a wicker basket to draw water from the spring near his hermitage. He was already famous for his holiness during his life and after his death he was attributed with numerous miracles, especially in the case of the problems of the urinary organs, making him the protector of those suffering from these diseases.
Condottiere and military captain who served Giampaolo Baglioni, both during the battles fought by the latter for the Republic of Florence and Pope Alexander VI, and against the Oddi family for superiority over Perugia. When Giampaolo Baglioni, by order of Leo X, was imprisoned and beheaded (1520) in Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, he passed into the service of his young son Malatesta IV Baglioni, who had great esteem for Girolamo Gambara, so highly esteemed as to entrust him in 1529 with the defence of Spello, one of the main castles under his rule, against the troops of Filiberto di Chalons, Prince of Orange.
In a document written by the Perugian historian Flogeri, Girolamo is described as: ‘A very experienced man of war and a valiant captain’; this praise comes from an opponent and refers to the so-called Salt War (1540).
Bastia Umbra, 19 october 1826 – Roma, 13 june 1849
Colomba Antonietti, a fearless woman who sacrificed her life for an ideal. She died defending the Roman Republic. She was born in Bastia Umbra on 19 October 1826.
She was the daughter of Michele the baker and Diana Trabalza, and when she was very young she moved with her family to Foligno.
In Foligno, when she was only fifteen, she met Count Luigi Porzi, a cadet of the papal troops, with whom she shared the courtyard. The two spoke to each other from the windows of their respective rooms, and met several times, exchanging a promise of marriage, as Porzi would reveal many years later. However, the different classes to which the two families belonged – Luigi’s family was rich and noble, from Imola, and Colomba’s was bourgeois – determined the hostility of both the Porzi and the Antonietti families towards this union. When the young people were noticed talking to each other through the windows, a scandal broke out and the young man was transferred to Senigallia. However, the measure did not prevent the wedding.
In the Misericordia Church in Foligno, Colomba married Luigi Porzi at one o’clock in the morning on 13th December 1846. Almost all the relatives of the newlyweds (with the exception of her brother Feliciano) were absent from the celebration.
The newlyweds immediately left for Bologna, the city where Porzi’s mother lived, but they stayed only two months before moving to Rome, where Luigi’s battalion, which had been promoted to lieutenant, was stationed. When he arrived in Rome, the soldier was arrested for marrying without the necessary authorisation and locked up in Castel Sant’Angelo with half his salary. The intervention of his uncle, a prelate, made it possible to revoke this last measure, but Porzi had to pay for his imprisonment anyway, relieved by daily visits from his wife.
In 1848-1849, her husband joined the Roman Republic. Colomba, a romantic figure, cut his hair and dressed as a man in a bersagliere uniform to fight at his side.
She initially took part in the Battle of Velletri (18-19 May 1849) and Palestrina, against the Bourbon troops, demonstrating intelligence, courage and valour, so much so that she earned the praise of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
Back in Rome, she worked to help the wounded while continuing to fight; during the siege of Porta San Pancrazio she died under fire from French artillery, defending the Roman Republic. Struck down by a cannonball on 13th June, she died a few moments later in her husband’s arms; tradition has it that as she died she murmured: “Long live Italy”.
Giuseppe Garibaldi wrote of her tragic end in his Memoirs:
“The cannon ball had hit the wall and thrown back had broken the kidneys of a young soldier. The young soldier placed on the stretcher had crossed his hands, raised his eyes to the sky and breathed his last. They were about to take him to the ambulance when an officer threw himself on the corpse and covered him with kisses. That officer was Porzi. The young soldier was Colomba Antonietti, his wife, who had followed him to Velletri and fought at his side.”
The next evening Luciano Manara and the Swede Hofstetter, having arrived in the city for dinner, came across the funeral convoy:
“The coffin was covered with wreaths of white roses and the tricolour scarf. The military band was playing the funeral hymn of the martyrs of Italy “Chi per la patria muor vissuto è assai”. […] The two officers were moved to greet the coffin of their heroic comrade-in-arms, to whom the whole of Rome paid its admiring homage”.
She was first buried in the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari, where Don Ugo Bassi was chaplain; in 1941 her remains were moved to the Garibaldi Ossuary Mausoleum on the Janiculum Hill, which houses those who died in the battles for Rome as capital city and for the Unification of Italy (1849-1870). Many personalities of the Risorgimento drew admiring portraits of her, including Domenico Guerrazzi, Felice Orsini and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who wrote of her: “she reminded me of my poor Anita, who was also so calm in the midst of the fire”.
Two months after her death in the fighting in Rome, Luigi Mercantini dedicated an ode to Colomba Antonietti.
Montecchio (Baschi), 2 June 1895 - Assisi 9 May 1969
An experimenter in innovative agricultural crops, he obtained a diploma as an agricultural expert having worked for many years on Umbrian farms, until he attempted the specialised cultivation of new varieties of tobacco (Kentucky, Sumatra, Bright) on rented land in the Bastia area The success he achieved led to the creation of Europe’s largest tobacco processing plant.
Involved in politics, he was mayor of Bastia Umbra from 1935 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1964. More than 1,000 workers found work in his factories, which were equipped with air conditioning, a refectory, kindergarten, library, etc., and even an elderly people’s home with every comfort.
He promoted the construction of roads, bridges, council houses, schools and a water consortium to safeguard water courses for irrigation.
He was appointed Grand Officer, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Knight of Labour.
FEDERICO LANCETTI Cabinetmaker
Bastia Umbra, 1817 - Perugia 16 april 1899
Federico Lancetti was one of the greatest Umbrian exponents of the nineteenth century of the so-called ‘minor arts’, which required study and aptitudes equal to those needed for the ‘major’ ones, such as painting and sculpture. He was a true artist of marquetry, of any work in wood, of restoration, of fine carpentry. After studying at the Accademia Perugina di Belle Arti, he was a student in Rome in the workshop of Luigi Frantz, a German cabinetmaker, and in other workshops in Florence and Livorno. He brought the art of cabinet-making to its fullest development in Perugia, together with that of modern inlay work, which had become an art applied to industry. His workshop was located in Via del Corso, number 59. Federico Lancetti, among other things, restored the inlaid doors and choir stalls of St. Peter’s Church in Perugia and the wooden panelling of the audience chamber of the Collegio della Mercanzia from 1865 to 1876. He also worked for Bastia, his home town, when in 1874 he made the furniture and armchairs for the Council Chamber and the Mayor’s office. In 1876 he already boasted the title of inlayer of the Royal House of His Majesty the King of Italy. He received seventeen medals for his work at the exhibitions he took part in, in particular that of Perugia in 1899. He died in Perugia at the age of 83 and was much talked about in local newspapers and by expert art historians. In his obituary, he was remembered as an ‘industrious shopkeeper in our city, well known even outside the city for the precious inlaid work that came out of his workshop’.
Bastia Umbra 1 September 1909 - 16 April 1999
An advertiser, designer and graphic artist, he joined Perugina around 1934, working together with his “maestro” Federico Seneca. He remained there until the end of the Sixties. He was head of the advertising department and later art director, creating designs, slogans and campaigns for Buitoni as well. His posters, advertisements, postcards, advertising strips and greeting cards are still of great impact.
Bastia Umbra, 27 november 1928 – Roma, 8 march 2007
Pino Lancetti began his artistic career as a painter and decorator of ceramics. After completing his studies at the Bernardino di Betto Academy of Art in Perugia, in 1954 he moved to Rome, where he opened his first studio in Via Margutta. During these years he began working with the big names in emerging Italian fashion: Carosa, Emilio Schuberth, Alberto Fabiani, Simonetta and Antonelli. However, the first to believe in the painter-designer’s talent were Irene Brin, a journalist and writer, and Palma Bucarelli, a critic and art historian, at the time director of the National Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery in Rome.
In 1961, Pino Lancetti made his debut in the haut-coutre with his first fashion show at Palazzo Pitti, although success only came in 1963 with a collection of military-inspired models that was ahead of its time. Lancetti was one of the first designers to understand that both fashion and the social role of women were changing considerably.
His international success came at the end of the sixties, when he launched clothes made out of printed fabrics which were inspired by the works of the great masters of contemporary art: Chagall, Kandinskij, Klimt, Matisse, Modigliani, Picasso, etc. This earned him the name of painter tailor in the international fashion world. The collection dedicated to Picasso, presented in 1986, the year in which the French Academy in Rome celebrated the designer’s 25 years of activity, is unforgettable. His expressive interest also often focused on folk style or the Italian Renaissance, emphasising the soft lines and colours he drew from them. Lancetti was the concrete ‘link’ between fashion and art, in times when these mutual influences were not as frequent as they are today.
The Umbrian designer founded the Lancetti brand and company, and not only dealt in clothes and textiles, but also bags, shoes, perfumes and accessories including fine jewellery. The business empire he created was not born by chance, but was the synthesis of assiduous research and an uncommon pictorial and poetic sensitivity. From the seventies to the nineties, his boutiques ranged from Tokyo to New York and his ateliers from Milan to Rome.
His most famous clients include: Ginger Rogers, Audrey Hepburn, Annie Girardot, Princess Salimah Aga Khan, Princess Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiari, Paola Ruffo di Calabria, Queen of Belgium from 1993 to 2013, and Silvana Mangano, for whom he had a true adoration: “Today’s women no longer know how to be elegant,” he observed in one of his last interviews, “there is no more attention, no research. All I see is sloppiness and standardisation, especially among young people. It’s the era of jeans and T-shirts. The last elegant woman was Silvana Mangano: refined, beautiful, with that almost transparent complexion, diaphanous in the last years of her life’.
In 1999, he decided to retire from the world of fashion and sold his company to an industrial group in Turin, to devote himself to his original passion: painting. In 2000, he showed his last collection at the Bramante Cloister in Rome. In the same year, he received the decoration of Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by the President of the Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, and was awarded the Career Prize by the Mayor of Rome, Francesco Rutelli, during the summer fashion shows in Piazza di Spagna.
Pino Lancetti died in Rome on 8 March 2007, aged 75. The funeral celebration took place on 10 March in the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo in Rome. Today he rests in the municipal cemetery of his hometown: Bastia Umbra, where a large square in the city’s historic centre was named after him in 2017.