Butchering in Basilicata (2018) by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Basilicata sits in an overlooked, rural region of Italy. After World War II, an economic shift brought the promise of a new lifestyle. Its people adapted to a new urban approach to life and slowly let go of their close relationship with the natural world.
Today, the departure of younger generations from Southern Italy has become routine. Preserving Basilicata’s cultural heritage has been left in the hands of the few who remain.
Episcopia's countryside by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Episcopia is a small village at the Southern end of Basilicata. Some inhabitants live in surrounding hamlets in the countryside. There are no more than 1500 people left.
Portrait of a Lucanian pig farmer (2018) by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Rosario’s hamlet is situated just behind the revered convent of Santa Maria. He is one of the last pig farmers in town.
Local pig farmer in Episcopia by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
He still uses ancestral techniques to raise a few pigs each year. He sells some to local families and keeps one for himself.
Rosario the pig farmer. by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Local family prepearing pork meat by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Rosario’s friends are also his customers. As they prepare their own meat, they help Rosario preserve the local traditions.
Local family preparing pork meat by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Only a few other families raise their own pigs. The pigs will provide them with meat for an entire year.
Preparation of sausage meat with traditional red pepper flakes by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
The traditional Basilicata recipe mixes pork meat with local sweet paprika.
Old woman preparing pig intestines by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Preparation still relies on simple and ancient techniques, passed on from generation to generation.
Woman knotting pig instestins for soppressata by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Pork intestines are carefully washed. Then knotted at one end.
Sausage making in Episcopia by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
The resulting casing is filled with meat. Making sausages in Basilicata is a surprisingly collaborative task.
Making of Basilicata soppressata by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Once filled, the casing is knotted at the other end.
Curing capocollo by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Finally, the meat is stored in cellars for curing and consumption over the next 16 months.
Old balance in Episcopia by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
Although fading, Basilicata’s traditions encourage a responsible and balanced approach to meat consumption. Can the region’s intimate and direct relationship with the environment be preserved and provide a model for our future?
Terra by Angelo ChiacchioEphemera documentary
To learn more about Basilicata culture, see also the story about "August 5th in Episcopia".
This story was created with the support of Art Works for Change, a nonprofit organization that creates contemporary art exhibitions and storytelling projects to address critical social and environmental issues.
Written, shot and produced by Angelo Chiacchio
Copy editing: Al Grumet, Rajesh Fotedar
With the support of: Google Arts & Culture, Art Works for Change
Thanks to: Rosario Oliveto, Francomario Bianco, Loredana Bianco, Mirko Bianco, Vincenza Lo Fiego, Felicetta Rondinelli, Antonio Fittipaldi e Pina Chiacchio.
Thanks also to: Angela Celano, Maria Chiacchio, Marianna Chiacchio, Marilena Fiordalisi, Antonietta Lauria, Carmela Longo.
In memory of Franceso “Provolone” Farisano