Palazzo Farrattini Amelia owner, Ettore Farrattini Pojani, has written two books and a third is underway. Although not exactly a trilogy, the three books go hand-in-hand and represent different parts of Ettore's personal and family history, and the history of Palazzo Farrattini and Amelia.
The first book, Nisa - A Woman, Her War recounts the story of a woman and her family during World War II. It takes place in Rome and the beautiful Umbrian hilltown, Amelia. Nisa is Ettore’s maternal grandmother.
About Ettore Farrattini Pojani
Ettore was born and raised in Rome Italy. He’s dedicated the greater part of his life to the restoration of antiques and now he runs the prestigious hotel in the town center of Amelia, the Palazzo Farrattini, his family home on his father’s side. Ettore holds the title of count, although he doesn’t use the title.
Ettore’s greatest passion in life is probably music: pop, rock and musicals. For the past three years Ettore has worked with the Italian branch of the American website BroadwayWorld.com. He writes articles and reviews covering Rome’s musical theater scene.
Books by Ettore
The first book: Nisa - A Woman, Her War
The book is the true story of Ettore’s maternal grandma’s life during the second world war.
The book is divided into thirteen chapters that cover Nisa’s early life, but predominately her life during the war years.
Ettore wrote the book using two of his grandmother’s personal journals that he came upon postmortem. Ettore took the journals and wove them together to create a fascinating and compelling narrative of one woman's experience as a mother and wife during the war years.
Growing up in the Ciociaria area south of Rome
The earliest part of the book talks about Nisa’s growing up years in the Ciociaria area south of Rome and the great food from this area including caciotta sheep’s cheese. Nisa loved this cheese throughout her life and when she moved to Rome she met Pasquale, from the same Ciociaria area, who raised sheep and made wonderful caciotta cheese.
The most popular sheep’s cheese throughout Italy that's made in just about every region is pecorino cheese, both hard and soft. Learn more about pecorino cheese here.
Nisa’s trips to and from Rome and Amelia
Nisa’s husband worked in Rome for the bureau of statistics during the war, but Nisa and her children spent most of their time in Amelia where food was more plentiful. Occasionally she had to go back-and-forth and each and every one of her trips was an adventure in and of itself. Once she traveled with German soldiers to Rome and in another she and the other passengers had to get out of the vehicle and walk over a bridge that had been bombed.
Fascism & Italy’s complicated and dark moment during the Second World War
Ten scientists and university professors wrote the Manifesto della Razza, the Racial Manifesto, a document requested by the fascist regime to define the physiognomy of the European Aryan race. Jewish employees who worked with Nisa’s husband Claudio were fired and stripped of property and deported to labor camps. In addition Nisa’s son Giulio’s best friend met the same horrible fate. Nisa struggled to find a way to explain Giulio’s best friend’s disappearance without traumatising her eight year old son.
Food during the war years
In Amelia food was scarce but much more plentiful than in Rome, including wine and olive oil thanks to grape and olive harvests. At one point Nisa, friends and relatives secretly slaughtered their pig, divided it up and hid the cuts of pork so that they wouldn’t be discovered and confiscated by German soldiers.
Listen and read about this homestyle pig slaughtering experience in northern Tuscany here.
Chewing the Fat: An Oral History of Italian Foodways from Fascism to Dolce Vita is another book that shares women's perspective, especially as it concerns food availability, during the Second World War. Listen and read about this book here.
Bombing in Amelia and nearby
There was lots of bombing in the Amelia area because of its proximity to Terni, Italy’s steel capital, and the Marmore waterfalls that supplied electricity to Italian cities and factories.
Scenes from Roberto Benigni’s classic film, Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella), were filmed in Marmore and surrounding areas.
Ettore’s second book, The Nine Lives of Tito of Amelia
The book recounts the 3000 year old history of Amelia, and the Palazzo Farrattini history, as seen through the nine lives of a cat, Tito. The book will be published in January 2022 in Italian, and then it’ll be translated into English.
The Farrattini family in Rome and Ettore’s third book
Ettore is now working on his third book and it’s about Ettore's ancestor Bartolomeo the Third. He was the nephew of Bartolomeo the Second who built the Palazzo Farrattini. Bartolomeo the Third lived during the second half of the 16th century, a period that wasn't covered in Ettore's second book, The Nine Lives of Tito of Amelia.
Bartolomeo the Third became a Cardinal in the very last months of his life. He participated in the Council of Trent that established the new rules of the Catholic Church, which was accomplished in three phases during the 16th century. He was also responsible for many important works in Rome's Saint Peter’s Basilica including moving the obelisk into Saint Peter's Square. He Interfaced with Michelangelo during the final construction of the cupola (dome) in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He built the Palazzo Farrattini in Rome, which is still there but is now part of the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide in Piazza di Spagna. It was sold after he died.When you’re in the area you will likely run across the street, Via Frattina, which takes its name from Ettore's family name Farrattini. There’s a plaque on the street corner intersection with Via del Corso that states the street name comes from Cardinal Bartolomeo Farrattini.
In addition, Piazza Di Spagna was originally called Piazza di Amelia. The name was changed when the Spanish Embassy was placed in the piazza.
About Palazzo Farrattini in Amelia
Palazzo Farrattini was built between 1520 and 1525 and designed by the Italian architect, Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane.
The impressive and imposing façade of Sangallo’s Palazzo Farrattini stands amongst picturesque alleys dotted with artisan workshops, stores, and traditional restaurants.
As you step through the doorway and cross the atrium, you look out onto the garden and the olive groves that extend over an area of 10,000 square meters until they reach the polygonal wall, that offers an unparalleled view of the Amerina countryside.
The original Renaissance floors display five centuries of history.
The grand staircase leads to the piano nobile and the Salon of Sangallo, with its pictorial cornice frieze, completed for the marriage of Plantilla Pojani.
The lower section of the beautiful hearth is also attributed to Sangallo, whereas the upper section was designed by Scalzi. Scalzi also designed the funerary monument in the Farrattini Chapel in the Cathedral of Amelia. Many Farrattini family members are buried here including two bishops and a Cardinal.
I make a small commission on purchases made through links on my website. Prices are identical for you, but purchasing through my links helps support my work to bring you great recipes, podcast episodes, culinary and travel information.