Ecco Le Marche

On the International Women’s Day we couldn’t talk about anyone else than the unique female figure in Le Marche: La Vergara.

But who is a Vergara?

If we take the literal meaning, we can say that it is a woman who assists the vergaio [the farmer] in some activities or in the management of the farm.

But we must admit that in our region being a Vergara is something else completely.

First of all: the name comes from verga, a kind of rod that was used in the farming activities and sometimes even to hit the children that were naughty. Hence the name “she who held the rod”, that is, the one who had the power to manage everything related to the care of the house and the large families that lived there, even though officially it was the husbands that were taking care of them!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fotos-1_01.jpg

Families used to be very large and live under the same roof in the past: only a Vergara could have managed to keep everyone in order!

Should we sketch an identikit, we could say that her

  • Favourite activities: make everyone feel at home and hungry (even though you are not hungry, you MUST eat); a little pennica (nap) after the very long Sunday lunches; telling off every member of the big families; gossiping around with the other Vergare of the neighbourhood.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fotos-3_01.jpg
  • Favourite food: everything she could cook herself, from the meat to the cakes, from polenta to the own-made tagliatelle.
  • Favourite tools: the apron (called zinale in dialect – it was used everyday, every season and in every colour. The “good quality” clothes couldn’t get dirty so the apron was the everyday piece of clothes); kitchen tools (gigantic pans for many doses and everything could be useful for baking, cooking and making homemade dishes); old-style scuffs (to be changed when they moved from inside the house to the garden); secret ingredients (such as Alchermes liquor)
This is the Vergara depicted on one of the wall art in Cacciano

Of course, nowadays the farming traditions and families are not the same and the Vergara herself has changed her lifestyles and main activities.

It is thanks to a local blogger that this important figure has now become famous again in our area. Deborah Iannacci (her Facebook Page is followed by many readers) wrote about her and with so many Vergare: she created a calendar, a book and so many projects, all written in dialect.

And it her work that we quote:

“The great woman who hides behind this key figure in the history of Le Marche is none other than a matron who suffered a lot during her childhood, who also worked hard, who knows how to appreciate the little things and who prefers to demonstrate her immense love for the whole family through the wonderful dishes she prepares.

Vergara has always been and will always be a great example of a woman, she is more than a mother, more than a grandmother… in short, she is a superhero. However, instead of a cloak, she wears a splendid flowered Zinale!”


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *