The Di Ciacca family have always valued education.
The idea for the Accademia di Gastronomia grew out of a family decision to create a Foundation (ie non profit making) based on local food and traditions, which would be an International Exchange in Agriculture, Gastronomy, Work Experience and Business Opportunity
It should involve Local Traditions and Community as well as schools and Universities and become a place for research, cultural, scientific and market to prove the importance of food to health, social wellbeing and cultural traditions.
A Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Universities and I Ciacca to promote a Joint Second Level Masters in Gastronomia to be taught to mature graduates (especially from abroad) in English. Unfortunately our timetable was destroyed by the slow pace of Italian beaurocracy and Brexit. We have not given up hope that this may be achieved one day.
In the meantime the title “Accademia di Gastronomia I Ciacca” says it all:
Accademia a place of learning
Gastronomia conceptually and actually bringing the best of the land to the kitchen to be prepared in the best possible way to be served at the table, which is the original place to learn and to teach, to discuss, to laugh and cry – to live.
I Ciacca is proud to have been nominated by the Istituto Tecnico Agrario Alvito for the last 3 years to provide work experience to its students.
Shortly we shall start to plant our “Orto” - vegetable garden and we are working with local groups to encourage disabled young adults to become involved in this project.
If you would like to experience life and work in our Winery, our Vineyard or in our Olive Grove,
We welcome day visits from schools to learn about bee-keeping to visit our vineyard and olive groves and simply to enjoy the countryside.
We have also designed a 5 day trip specially for High School students from Italy and abroad. These are focused on "Eating the Italian Way" and take the students around through the various stages of producing typical dishes - from foraging for natural herbs and plants, visiting a food market, tasting olive oil and visiting a pasta factory to seeing it being made by hand, as well as enjoying some traditional music, food and festas.
‘RESTAURA’ is an academic community based in the heart of the geographic centre of Italy and it is located at various locations throughout Val Di Comino. The primary location is ‘I Ciacca’ below Picinisco and comprises a set of domestic buildings, vineyards and olive groves. The setting is stunning with the hamlet itself forming an irregular, linear construction hugging a small valley on the mountain side. One side of the street is a vertiginous panorama of mountains the other a humane scaled dense woodland. The village has a strength of identity in spite of being dwarfed by its spectacular and rugged environment. The re- development of the village aims to retain the locales peaceful isolation which, together with the provincial Italian lifestyle and quality of life, may well give students and residents a taste of a more immediate way of life and perhaps inform new approaches to their work.
THE ACADEMY ABROAD
As an academic centre, the intention would be to provide programs of study validated as credits in a modular system recognised by the colleges of Art in America and the United Kingdom.
These programs would vary in duration and be conducted within the semester timetable allowing different groups from various colleges to attend at the same time. Running in parallel would be dedicated programs belonging to specifically named institutions. This would encourage a collegiate atmosphere involving staff from the named institutions as well as the permanent staff of the college abroad programs.
Programs would cover topics such as history and theory within an Italian and European context as well as more art and craft-based studies of normal college life.
There would also be an opportunity for a named artist to take part in a residency lasting between one week and two months.
We have, with the gracious assistance of various people who live locally, in Scotland, Canada and America, started a collection of over 100 typical recipes from Picinisco. Our plans are to publish these as soon as possible in Italian and in English.
We have been involved with the Picinisco, Val di Comino Millennium Foundation, who have collected funds to conserve the Parish registers of San Lorenzo in Picinisco, which are nearly 500 years old.
I Ciacca is working with Angela Rossi a Masters graduate (with distinction) in Fine art from Middlesex University to establish a Living Archive at I Ciacca.
We hope to start a seed bank to preserve local seeds and plants.
Calamus the local Folk Group practice at I Ciacca. This dedicated group of teenagers and young adults are dedicated to keeping the traditions of the area alive and relevant.
Groups from the area still travel to Rome and Ischia before Christmas every year playing their instruments in traditional costumes in the streets.
The Zampogna (Bagpipe), accordion, flute and drum are the traditional instruments.
If you wish we can arrange a visit to a traditional Zampogna maker and the local Zampogna museum.