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City vs. Countryside. A close relationship without conflicts

This was the state of affairs at least until the year 1000. A complete recent study by the Italian Study Center for Middle Ages clarify the relationship between these two worlds nowadays so distant



Sometimes culture can be really “heavy”. This is the case of a recent publication by the Cisam (Italian Study Center for Middle Ages http://cisam.org/) title Città e campagna nei secoli altomedievali (“City and countryside in the Middle Ages”), edited in two heavy volumes for a total of 1084 pages (http://www.cisam.org/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=697&osCsid=90efdb9662c5dd2e84e1d79e0a9282d2). The Cisam has its main office in Spoleto, Italy, in the Ancaiani palace, the same of the Olive and Oil Academy.

The book is extremely rich and collects the speeches given on the occasion of the study-week about this topic that took place in Spoleto between the 27th of March and the 1st of April 2008. More than thirty of the main experts on Middle Ages participated at the study week; among the others the world famous professor Paolo Cammarosano.

During the introductive lesson Professor Cammorasano showed that the relationship between city and countryside was very close and without conflicts, at least until the year 1000. This is one of the reasons why this book is so precious: it clarifies this specific aspect of Middle Ages, which was told incorrectly by manuals and schoolbooks, but also by the most recent history researches. Then, it is untrue that the relationship between city and countryside was characterized by strong conflicts.

As a matter of fact, it was only later, and in particular in the period between the late Middle Ages and the Modern Age, that the separation between city and countryside toke place. In that period, the concentration of richness and finance in cities led to a marginalization of countryside and the concept of citizenship became source of discrimination and privileges.

By reading this book it is clear how important was, not only in Italy but also in all Europe, from the Slavonic to the Northern countries, the link between these two worlds. Then, by overcoming the old point of view of a productive energy just connected to the city bourgeoisie, the text analyzes the effects of the country economy on the city. It is worth noting at this point that the book in not intended for the lay reader, but we think it is important for everyone interested in the rural civilization knowing such interesting contributions.

by Luigi Caricato
05 july 2010, Food Notes > Miscellanea

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