Public wine cellar (ciddaro)

The ‘ciddari‘ were wine cellars and places of relaxation for peasants and small artisans that met there in the evening to speak of the daily problems especially in winter when they were free from the work in the fields.

The cellars were dug in the tufa of the Murgia and they were more spacious than houses: in fact they extended deep in the inner of the earth and they were wider near the entry where there were the bar and the tables for the customers. They didn’t were taverns in fact the clients brought their foods from home (roasted chickpeas, fennel, bread and cheese…): in the wine cellar they bought and drank wine and played cards relieving the tension for the work, the frustration, the disappointment, the resentment for their own condition of subdued.

The cellars owners produced themselves the wine: the bunches of grapes came in rod baskets (‘frizzole‘) and were crushed with wood presses (made in oak) embedded in the wall or with the feet in containers dug in the rock (‘palmmidd‘). The wine barrels and all the related tools were in the deepest part of the wine cellar (‘u stern‘).

The wine was directly drew by the barrels and served in decorated jugs (‘rzzil‘).

Among a glass and one other the customers played cards: one of the most recurrent games was ‘Padrone e Sotto’.

The women was absolutely precluded from cellars with the exception of the owner’s wife (‘la cantinera’).

Warm, pleasant and noisy the cellars were places that always assured the peace feeling and an olive sprig on the wall underlined this incontestable peculiarity.

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Public wine cellar (ciddaro)25