Giuseppina Tizzani

The gift of Raffiuolo

Giuseppina Tizzani was born in Pietrelcina on the 6th  of January, 1962. She runs an oil-mill called “Piana Romana” after the hamlet in which she lives with her family; she also actively assists her husband in running the “Orlando” farm. Giuseppina is a point of reference for the whole community of Pietrelcina, thanks to her knowledge of the local recipes. She is one of the last master of the Raffiuolo, and for this reason she is called to hand down the tradition when it comes to produce it.

The Raffiuolo of Pietrelcina is a typical ring-shaped loaf to be cooked in a wood-fired oven, which seems to embrace the secret of so much knowledge of the local tradition. This particular kind of bread is prepared by the families of the married couple before the wedding. It is donated as an auspicious symbol to all the families living in Pietrelcina, even if there is little love lost between them – as an old saying of Pietrelcina goes, A la morte e a la sposa se leva l’odio (Hate disappears when it comes to death and weddings).

The Raffiuolo is made up of two over-under loaves (with a shape recalling a rolled-up snake), whose dough only contains eggs and other ingredients only known by the raffiuolare (people who make the raffiuolo) ; it is very dry and this is the reason why it is to be eaten with milk or red wine. 

The preparation of that it is a real rite. It is carried out in private ovens, where the mastre raffiuolare, together with all the women of the family, meet the bride at dawn. The kneading starts only when the bride has cracked the first three eggs. The rising phase, whose duration changes according to the quality of the eggs and the flour, is really important. The ability of the mastra lies not only in mixing the ingredients well, but also in rumbling which is the best moment to bake the raffiuoli. Woe betide the one who gets this phase wrong! A raffiuolo ‘ngeemato (a not well risen raffiuolo) puts the family to shame.   

Interview information

Geographic information

Country: IT

Region: Campania

City: Pietrelcina

District: BN

Suburb: Piana Romana

Altitude: 350m s.l.m.

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Giuseppina Tizzani

Year: 1962
City: Pietralcina (Bn)
Profession: Farmer
Languages: Italiano

Document by: Centro di Studi Sociali sulla Dieta Mediterranea dell'Università di Napoli SOB diretto da Marino Niola, Mario De Tommasi, Luigi Giova, Maria Scarinzi
Video by: Mario De Tommasi, Luigi Giova, Maria Scarinzi
Created: 03-07-2012

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