Dina Fragai and I’cche c’è c’è
Memoirs of Dina by architect Fulvio Di Rosa.
“The first time I met Dina was 1990.
She and her family were one of the few owners who still lived at the hamlet until the early 80’s. Actually, they used to live in what is now our largest residence.
We’ve been together many times since then, throughout the process of acquisition, designing and, finally, implementation of the project.
Dina and her family were always helpful and never found anything too difficult or impossible.
With the strength typical of the people accustomed to an hard life, they went from helping me throughout the acquisition, to free the houses from the vicelike grip of the 1000’s of thorn bushes, to working the fields and bring them back to their original beauty, from searching for the source of our water springs in the heart of the woods behind the hamlet to planting and looking after the hundreds of olive trees, fruit tress, oaks, bushes of all kind that now create the hamlet’s indigenous landscape.
Always smiling, always ready to surprise you with the typical Tuscan humour, and telling stories from another era.
Loyal, open minded and thrilled with the idea of contributing to the re-birth of Borgo di Vagli. Many occasions were enjoyed along the years and I was and remain delighted to share the adventure with Dina and her family. Dina has an incredible gift to cook dishes that are magical and simply authentically related to the territory and people who lived here for hundreds of years.
During the restoration, when it was as muddy as I have ever seen a restoration site, I started to tease Dina about her being the cook in the trattoria. She thought I was crazy but she continually cooked the most delicious dishes from a totally improvised kitchen...; Frances and Ed Mayes were amongst the very first to experience that and often, still, we recall that unforgettable atmosphere and sense of home evoked by Dina’s steaming freshly prepared handmade pasta and served by her on the small table of Il Focolare.
Many lunches and dinner and recipes and challenges since then... and, finally, the logical conclusion of many years of sharing the same enthusiasm...; she accepted my offer to cook at our trattoria I’cche c’è c’è ('whatever there is there is').
This is not only a great restaurant but a life circle that brought Dina and her daughter, Tiziana – kind of Fellini’s La città delle donne – back to the origin.
What ever the reason was at the time for them to leave, is now a distant memory: today they welcome friends from all over the world, to make them experience, through her recipes, a whole story: the story of the hills, of the people who lived here for centuries, telling stories in front of the wood burning fireplace and or stove while waiting for the wild boar sauce to cook.”
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