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In first place we are a group of friends who truly love our homeland, Vastogirardi; I think I express everybody’s mind in saying that it is not rhetorical to claim that our native village is always in our minds and hearts. That’s why the main goal of this website is to try to preserve and pass on, for as much as we can, our land’s dialect, mores and traditions.

Where does the idea to build a dedicated website come from?

It might have happen to most of you to hear or to see around you things to which you don’t seem to pay much attention at first, then all of a sudden, without any specific reason, something click in your mind and you start feeling in a different way towards them, a sort of bizarre sensation. We all know what Vastogirardi’s inhabitants are called, but how do you spell it? I have seen it spelt in many different ways: Wastaruoli at first, then Vastaroli. Therefore I thought that this should have been one of these matters we had to deal with sooner or later, as an excuse to try to resolve once and for all the dilemma of how to spell our dialect. Another thing I have noticed wandering in the village main piazza and talking around with teen agers and young people is that our original native language is getting even more contaminated by other dialects and slangs. Personally I have no prejudices against other dialects but, I am truly sorry to witness this happening and not to be able to do anything to try to reverse this trend. Thus I have been thinking to do something to safeguard it, since I consider our dialect other than a culture value, also one of the main cohesive feature of our small community. Another time I heard a local man telling his son about the type of jobs he used to do when he was young, and the son understandably astonished answered: “Dad, you truly did that?” That’s why another of this website’s purpose is to try to get the new generations acquainted with what was used to be the village lifestyle, not just hundreds of years ago, but at least 50 years backwards. What seems an easy task is far from that, because my generation is possibly the last one to have witnessed the village peasant civilization and to have personally assisted to the passing from that to an industrial society. From all these reflections was then generated the idea of building a website about our village’s dialect, old mores and traditions, in order to try to avoid that this huge heritage, which was used to be passed on to the next generations by oral tradition, will get lost forever, if it is not put into writing before it is too late. Besides this is not exactly a website about our village’s historical origins, but of course it would have been incomplete without a short reference to its glorious past, therefore it also includes an essential historical background. A lot of emphasis in the website has been given, instead, to the local traditions, among which the most important and striking is the “Sacred Representation of the Annunciation”, or the “Flight of the Angel” as the locals call it, which takes places every year on the 1st and 2nd of July in the context of the village’s Patron Saints Celebrations. This topic, being one of the most cherished and proud community traditions, is dealt with in a very comprehensive and extensive way, with original documentation and meticulous investigations.
One of the website’s pages I am particularly fond of is the one called: “I m’arecord”: that is dedicated to what I call “the closet inside us”. It may look weird, but if you think about it, almost everyone of us has a storage space in our mind in which we start to pile up memories since we are born, which we carefully keep and protect for our entire life. The storage space I am talking about is made by our memories. They are just our companion right through all our lives, making us wiser, cautious, and when it is needed they help us to make the right decisions (or so I hope!)
If you think about it, every time we compatriots meet or get together, the first thing we do it is to start to recall together shared memories, and possibly we look for each other just to do that.
This recalling gives us such a happiness; just doing that it makes you feel as a part of the community; and ultimately I think I am not wrong if I say that this activity of recounting old tales and recalling past memories is a sort of compelling urge that we feel. In this recalling we give a kind of added value to our memories. But as an old Latin proverb says "Verba volant, scripta manent ", therefore let’s start to put everything into writing before it is too late. We have so many things to remember that is almost impossible to list them all.
I think that the late Twentieth century will be for long remembered as the one in which fundamental changes in the whole human knowledge occurred. Perhaps culture, science and technology have never been through such profound transformations as they did in the last century. Obviously Vastogirardi didn’t escape from being affected by these changes. The rural and peasant life and activities which used to be led in the village, according to skills and procedures practiced, improved and passed on across the centuries, have experienced, since the Sixties, such deep changes that now they appear almost incomparable with the traditional ones.
But the idea underpinning this website is that our ancestors’ civilization is worth to be preserved, it should not disappear forever. We have the moral obligation to preserve it and as long as we have eye witnesses, we still have the chance to bring it to life through their evidences and tales.
Of course to deal with such a range of topics and material it takes a large number and a variety of experts and dedicated people, with specific competence and expertise. That is why I have asked the cooperation of my compatriots, getting an overwhelming feed-back from some of them. Therefore we have formed a team of people who, without any specific commitment or bound have agreed to give their contribution as far as they can and whenever required. At the moment the team is small, but everybody who thinks that can give a contribution or make a difference is welcomed to join us; and personally I wish that the group will get bigger and bigger.
Currently, besides myself belong to the group: : Di Benedetto Rita, Spognardi Michela, Terry Jeremik, Amicone Claudio, Bucci Fernando, De Luca Tonino, Di Benedetto Giuseppe, Iannone Claudio, Marracino Benedetto, Salvatore Ermanno, Scocchera Remo.

A hearty greeting to everybody, from me and all the contributors.


Domenico Marchione