Mauro Antonacci: From Soccer Star to Restaurant Owner

In the quaint Italian town of Cagli in the Apennine Mountains sits the small restaurant Squaqua where the new owner Mauro Antonacci strives to make taste the most useful of the five senses.

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Mimi Bartoli: L'età è Soltanto un Numero (Age is Only a Number)

Mimi Bartoli’s no-nonsense manner contrasts her smile and energy as she moves purposefully in and out of Caffee Del Commercio. She enjoys a drag off her thin, delicate cigarette.

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Giovanni Bartoli: From One World to Another

If Giovanni Bartoli were to write his autobiography about his long life and varied adventures, he says he would title it “From One World to Another.”

Some days, Bartoli misses his life traveling the world searching for liquid treasure as a natural gas and oil engineer for Eni, Italy’s largest industrial company. Other days, he’s happy sitting at the café he owns with his wife, Mimi. The café overlooks Cagli’s Piazza Matteoti, and from here, Bartoli watches life and listens to people’s stories as the local reporter for the newspaper Corriere Adriatico.

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Ivana Carpineti: Not a Garden Variety Florist

People who walk the terra-cotta colored cobblestones of Via Lapis cannot miss Ivana Carpineti’s fioreria. The bright assortment of flowers and a sweet perfume greet visitors as they walk past, beckoning them to stop. As Ivana welcomes each customer, her smile lights her face, her love for her job apparent. As she prepares a single rose for a customer, her hands fly like butterflies. Ivana cuts and folds netting and makes each bow by hand to create a beautiful presentation. Florist spray makes the petals and each leaf glisten as though glazed in fine dew.

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Angela Corradi: Home is Where the Heart is

It is late afternoon as Angela Corradi walks through Piazza Matteoti. She passes Cafe d’Italia and waves to her friends, who sit around a crowded café’ table and enjoy an appertivo. She does not stop to discuss the happenings of another warm day in Cagli but gives a friendly “Ciao!” to the ladies who gaze across the piazza. She knows they will be there again tomorrow, and she must hurry home with her groceries. For Angela, the best things in life happen inside the walls of her home, and she is eager to see her husband Paulo Corradi who waits for her in their home library. They have been married for 50 years.  

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Gian Luca Caselli (Seven): A Different Kind of Businessman

Nestled in the hills of the Le Marche region of Italy resides the picturesque, ancient town of Cagli. Just around the corner from the lively main piazza is Caffe del Corso, a place where many Cagliese come to relax and socialize. The cafe is owned by a Cagli native who goes by the name “Seven,” which is a nickname handed down from his father who was one of seven children. Seven has a passion for people, and his zest for life is evident as he greets each customer by name and delivers service with a smile.

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Michele De Sanctis: Why Cagli Rocks

On a Sunday afternoon, in the depths of a small, dark basement in Cagli, Italy, the sound of music escapes. And these are not the operatic tones of Bocelli and Pavarotti wafting up through an open garage door.

The voice of Michele De Sanctis counts out the opening beats to a Beatles’ cover. “I feeeel fine,” he wails on perfect pitch. Bass and rhythm guitars follow in sync to the driving pulse of the drums. The combination of the lyrics provides a contrasting soundtrack to the surrounding, quiet streets of Cagli.

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Loris Mandolina: A Pharmacist in Cagli

The bells in the Cagli’s Piazza Mattoeti chime three times in the middle of “riposa” while a steady stream of deliveries arrive at the pharmacy's back door office. The pharmacist, Loris Mandolina, greets each delivery with pleasantries and politeness. Packages with medicines and inventory -- as well as the soft hum of a computer -- prove this enterprise is connected to the global village. While this pharmacy could be anywhere, it is nestled in the mountain village of Cagli, a 13th century town with 21st century technology. In some cultures, technology often removes the human element, but Loris shows how it can be used to strengthen relationships.

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Manuel Marini: The Depth Behind the Smile

The local teens of Cagli gather in the sunlight between the gelateria and the door to where a friend works. They are quick to notice the activities around them. They laugh and make comments about everything and everyone. They are difficult to photograph. Like a curious litter of puppies, they are too interested in the camera.

One such local teen is Manuel Marini, whose expressive brown eyes and flashing grin draw friends and strangers alike into easy conversation. Manuel, “Call me Manu,” he says, takes a genuine interest in all that happens around him, especially what is going on with people and his town.

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Ezio Martinelli: His Hands Built the City, His Eyes Watch it Change

Ezio Martinelli’s skin crinkles around his eyes and seeps into two distinct crevices that flow from his nose to the corners of his slightly upturned mouth. A white and black Panama hat covers his thinning white hair. Outlined by espresso-colored glasses, his eyes carefully scan the piazza in Cagli, Italy; Ezio has looked out over the piazza countless times in the 60 years Cagli has been his home. But he owes his greatest success to his hands, which rest in his lap. Calloused and rough to the touch, Ezio’s palms show wear from years of pounding nails, pouring concrete, and laying stones – they tell the stories of a laborer, a job title he regards with pride. Read More>>



Roberta Martinelli: Professoressa

Roberta Martinelli’s title of Professoressa commands respect in Cagli, Italy. She says that her students call her "Senora Martinelli." Then with a smile, she quickly clarifies, "Actually, they call me 'Prof.'"

Roberta's greatest joy in teaching is being with her students, and her unofficial title suggests her students enjoy learning in her classroom. Her voice nearly sings as she talks about them and their learning.

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Fabricio Ridolfi: Cagli's Karate Kid

Just off the piazza in Cagli, Italy, a rack filled with postcards invites customers into a small shop. A colorful mix of books, magazines and children’s toys are visible through the window.  “Giorno” says the gentleman behind the counter.  His name is Fabricio Ridolfi, but he’s known as “Bicio” – a name given him in childhood by friends.  His surroundings demonstrate his passion. Bicio thirsts for knowledge, and reading is his enterprise.

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Romano Romanini: A Man About Cagli

Romano Romanini smiles as he sucks in a breath of fresh, mountain air.  Before he exhales, he pauses to savor it.  “This is the life,” Romanini says, gesturing to the cobblestone streets and tiled, pointed rooftops of the ancient town he calls home.  “This is the real Italy.” 

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Patrizia Scaglioni: Salute; To Your Health

story and photos by Danielle Gruden

The bright sienna-colored building near Italy’s Cagli tower is home to the town’s only  “Erboristeria” or herbalist’s shop. This is where Patrizia Scaglioni provides alternatives to modern-day medicine, dispensing medicinal herbs, herbal prescriptions, and specialty products to the town’s people.



Matteo Susini: Salon Boy to Salon Owner

Hairdressing has always been a part of Matteo Susini’s life.

“I was a salon boy,” says Matteo, who spent his weekends during high school helping at his mother’s salon. “I washed people’s hair and swept the floor.”

Now 37, the owner of Cagli’s Loft Parrucchieri is a bit of hometown celebrity.  Walking through the piazza, the life-long resident is constantly greeting the people he passes.  “Everyone knows me,” Matteo says. “Everyone knows you when you grow up here, especially close to the center of town.”

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Linda di Zepponi: Painting Passion into Profit

Linda di Zepponi found her passion creating ceramic works of art.

“When you have a passion, you have to do it,” she says. “You have to do it your way, and you cannot be under anyone else’s rules.”

That passion dominates her life. Linda now owns a ceramics store in Cagli, Italy, but she took an indirect route to the life that she leads.

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