Bevagna: Finding Each TreasureBevagna offers something to every visitor.
The 1st c A.D, mosaics of the Roman baths – hidden away in the backstreets – astound. If you can locate the personnel to open it, the tiny 19th-century frescoed theater delights. Tastes of prosciutto, capocollo, salami and sheep’s milk cheeses at a now-famous butcher win over anyone seeking a true taste of Umbria.
Medieval paper-making and silk-weaving fascinate both young and old. In the medieval house, historian Filippo’s account of daily life in the Middle Ages astounds. A visit to a famed local artist in his frescoed 17th-c palazzo convinces you that you’ve now seen the best of Bevagna.
But you still haven’t met Signor Trabalza, Bevagna’s last tailor.He loves having visitors as he sews and can get teary with emotion as he tells his story: how he learned the trade at age six, threading the needles for his tailor father. He’ll show you the old photo of his father seated in front of the tailor shop, flanked by his assistants, young orphans apprenticed to the tailor so as to learn a trade. Signor Trabalza’s eyes mist over as he points up the photos of his father on the wall “enshrined” above a rosary-draped image of the Sacred Heart. Nearby, you’ll note a photo of a younger Signor Trabalza pressing a suit with his iron filled with hot coals. “Now and then, I burned a suit in error. And in the summer, I had to tie a scarf around my head so the sweat would not pour down onto the suit I was ironing.”
Signor Trabalza wears his measuring tape draped around his neck as he points up to all the framed awards he has received for his fine artisan work: from the Region of Umbrian, the Republic of Italy, the European Community. Don’t ask him who will carry on his trade: he knows he’s the last tailor in Bevagna and that “all suits are ready-made these days.” He looks wistfully at a stunning cashmere gray suit on the mannequin near the door, the precise stitching standing out along the unfinished sleeves. Signor Trabalza is over eighty now. Will the suit be finished? Pian piano.