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The territory covered by the Municipality of Vigarano Mainarda is made up of two main inhabited areas, Vigarano Mainarda and Vigarano Pieve, which have ancient origins, earlier even than the city of Ferrara. There is evidence for this place names of Roman origin, which indicate a demographic grouping formed within a large estate holding that took the name of the owner, probably called Varius. So the name would result from the association of Vicus Varianus and Manardo or Mainardo, names of a family which moved to the area in the 12th Century from Bertinoro of Forlì, and which was owner of the place for a long period of time. In that period, economical resources were mainly based on agriculture. However we have evidence of the presence of a trade along the River Po and Reno. During the centuries, in that area, agriculture has become the major resource determining the feel of the landscape as well.
Its Villas, towers farmhouses are well known and give honor to the agricultural past of Vigarano Mainarda. The ancient and well known Villa in the territory of Vigarano Mainarda is Villa Diamantina, built in the 16th Century at the time of the land reclamation carried out by the Este family, (end of 15th, beginning of 16th Century, it is a Delizia Estense. Villa Biagini, built in the 17th Century, has all the characteristics typical of Ferrarese houses: the rectangular hallway, red brick floors, ceilings with exposed wooden beams, internal stairways covered by barrel vaulting. Villa Roncati, was also built in the 17th Century, and shows a number of Venetian influences, especially in the fireplace and the small columns that support the balcony. Villa Bisi-Mayr, has the same structure as Villa Biagini, although restoration work in the 19th Century added two side wings, thus giving the whole an air of elegance and Villa Strozzi, that goes back to the 15th Century.
ART NOUVEAU IN VIGARANO
During the years following the Unification of Italy, the middle class of Ferrara tented to buy land and restore the old houses of the master land-owners, in the Vigarano Mainarda area. This was probably because of its favorable position, both for the road network and for the fertility of the surrounding land. The houses were embellished on the inside with decoration, often similar to that seen in buildings in the city. The style adopted in the decoration at the beginning of the 20th Century was, in most cases, Art Noveau. This style developed in Italy during the last years of 19th Century and continued into the next century up until the 20’s, when it merged with Art Deco.
Art Nouveau was developed extensively at Vigarano. The event that put this small town among the cornerstones of Art Nouveau and floral decoration in the Ferrara area, was the arrival of Ippolito Medini, who must be considered, without doubt, our greatest decorator in the Art Nouveau style. Ippolito Medini and his brother Giulio, tried to renew the Ferrarese taste in decoration. Over a period of twenty years they adorned the buildings, churches, and villas of Ferrara and the province, grafting the Ferrarese style onto the European context as a whole. Moving to Vigarano in 1913 Ippolito brought new life to a peasant environment. On his arrival he was called on to decorate the façade of Villa Lodi, an unusual request for our area, where, due to humidity, façades of villas were rarely frescoed.
A few traces of decoration survive at Villa Bonazzi, even though seriously damaged during the last war. The ceiling of one of the small salons opening on the left of the main hall survived, only to undergo retouching later. The best documented decoration carried out by Ippolito Medini from 1910 onwards, in collaboration with his assistant Bergamini, is found at Villa Roncati. Here, the small spiral columns of the façade have capitals in Art Nouveau style, while the design of the small balcony that they support is in the Neo-Gothic style. Of the many rooms decorated by Medini, only a space on the first floor, remarkable for its interesting style, has survived the war and post-war destruction.
The real masterpiece created by Ippolito at Vigarano, in collaboration with Bergamini, is, without doubt, the parish church of Vigarano Mainarda. Here one can see the beautiful “Concert of the Angels”, that still exist in the apse, and the two chapels which still have their original decoration.
Bergamini’s work can be seen in the Art Nouveau decoration at Villa Cariani – Biagini.
The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Church in Vigarano Pieve is the unique expression of the rich decorations developed in the second half of the 18th Century which made it a highly characteristic example of Baroque. The parish church there, on the other hand, has very ancient origins, and was already listed as a parish church in a charter of 1143. It contains work of a certain importance, for example the altar piece depicting the “Virgin glory with Saint Peter and Saint Paul”, by Bastianino.
The 16th Century parish church at Vigarano Mainarda, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, has undergone numerous periods of restoration. Inside there are examples of decoration by Ippolito Medini and his collaborator Duillio Bergamini.
As for museum, an area dedicated to Museum “Carlo Rambaldi” will be built in the new school of Vigarano Mainarda. Honorary Citizen of Vigarano Mainarda since September 2010 as a sign of gratitude for his great work, Carlo Rambaldi is known as the Inventor of special effects in cinematography. Died in August 2012, he is well known internationally for his industrious career that let him to win three Oscars: one Special Achievement Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1977 for the 1976 version of King Kong and two Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects in 1980 and 1983 for, respectively, Alien (1979) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). He is most famous for his work in those two last mentioned films, that is for the mechanical head-effects for the creature in Alien and the design of the title character of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In January 2014, in his honor the Foundation “Carlo Rambaldi” was elected with the aim to organize international debates, conferences and Film Festivals to continue and remember his work.
Vigarano Mainarda offers typical Ferrarese cooking: caplit (cappelletti) similar to tortellini Bolognese but a little bigger, caplaz (cappellacci) - tortellini stuffed with pumpkin, coppietta or ciupeta – fragrant, light, puffy bread in special shape, and pinzin – a mixture of flour and water, fried and eaten immediately.
The area is known for two gastronomic specialities: Frogs and Salama da Sugo, or salamina di Madonna Boschi, to which the Festival of the Salama da Sugo is dedicated.
This is, without doubt, one of the best known Ferrarese dishes, already celebrated at the time of the Dukes of Este. “I thank your Excellency for the salama that you so graciously sent me, I found it delicious.” So wrote Lawrence the Magnificent in a letter in 1481 addressed to Ercole I of Este, to thank him for the gift received.
The salama, a sack containing minced pork, spices and red wine, is cooked by steaming, but only after it has matured over a long period of time. It should be eaten in small portions due to its strongly aromatic and spicy flavor, accompanied by mashed potato. Salama has been celebrated for more than five centuries, and the Festival of Madonna Boschi has been held annualy since 1985 to promote this important product.
The typical cakes, we mention the Torta Tenerina, made of chocolate and butter, the Pampepato or Pampapato a Christmas cake and Torta di Tagliatelle, Tagliatelle Pie, pie from the Renaissance dedicated to the curly and blonde hair of Lucrezia Borgia.
Starting from gastronomy, a lot of cultural manifestation take place in Vigarano Mainarda. As for the salama, we could mention the traditional Sagra della salama that take place every last September, beginning of October of each year, that attracts a lot of people from the nearby regions. The salama is well known in France, in the twinned town Caudebec lès Elbeuf, as well, due to the manifestation “Marché Couleurs du Monde”, a gastronomy event that shows typical food and where local producers from the twinned countries meet each other.
Pears and apples are typical products of our region as well. To valorise them, in Vigarano Mainarda two important events are organised. During “Sagra della Mela” and “Sagra della Pera” in autumn, visitors could walk along the stands and have information on the importance of their nutritive values in our diet and in our economy too.
As for bread, we could mention the “Gran Festa del pane”. This event takes place every year in the twinned city and member of Cittaslow, Altomonte (Cs). The event aims to revalue the culture of bread in our society. During this event bakers from the whole Italy come and show their products so visitors could taste breads from the various regions of Italy as: the bread from Cerchiara or the bread from Ferrara and discover, in this way our diet and our history.
The twinning of Vigarano Mainarda
The Council Administration of Vigarano Mainarda is twinned with the Council of Salgótarján (Hungary), a small city, situated 110 km from the capital, in the north of Hungary. Salgótarján is the centre of one of smallest counties, Country Nograd, one of the major political, economic, cultural and administrative centres of country.
Caudebec-lès- Elbeuf (France) is situated in the department of Seine-Maritime in the Haute-Normandie region in northern France. It is a residential and light industrial town situated by the banks of the river Seine, some 13 miles (21 km) south of Rouen, at the junction of the D919 and the D921 roads.
Finally, the Council Administration in 2010 twinned with the Italian city of Altomonte in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. Altomonte is 60 km far from Cosenza . It is small town of strong artistic and historical interest and it is associated to the “The Most beautiful Villages in Italy” (I Borghi più belli d’Italia). In 2010, we mention as well the signature of “friendship pacts” with the city of Bad Dürrenberg (D), Praha Libuš (Cz) and Chiakariga (Kenya).
Every year, the city of Vigarano Mainarda and the twinned cities organise a lot of cultural exchanges in particular for young people. Students from our local school take part in a exchanging programme. This programme, based on the mutual exchange, give the opportunity to our students and foreign students to spend a week in a twinned town and to live an international experience.