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From the book by Amedeo Massetti "Two centuries on the march - Umbertide and the band"

(Petruzzi Editore - May 2008)









We dedicate this page of umbertidestoria to Amedeo Massetti who dedicated the last years of his life to local historical research with great passion and competence and of which he left us testimony with the beautiful and well documented book on the history of the city band. We propose here some excerpts, also considering that the story of the maestro Alessandro Franchi (a myth for the old musicians who knew him) is included in the page dedicated to the biographies of the twentieth century.

It is clear that we refer to Amedeo's book all those who wish to deepen or know better this exciting story that continues even today.


Curated by Fabio Mariotti























The origins: music in Fratta


The practice of singing during religious services, as is well known, was widely consolidated in medieval times. The first testimonies of musical performances in Fratta date back to the fourteenth century and are to be contextualized in the context of associative life linked to lay Confraternities.

These Confraternities or Companies had their own headquarters and carried out their activity in some churches in the town, such as those of Santa Croce and San Francesco. They had their own regulations, their own administration and were under the control of the bishop. In the chapels, the Confraternities had the religious offices celebrated by a clergyman regularly paid by them, who also had the task of teaching music to some boy who then performed what he had learned in the liturgical ceremonies in the church. Hence, in Fratta the first approach to musical language consists of these simple performances of sacred and liturgical music which took place under the direction of the chaplain.


























In the Fratta of the seventeenth century, the teaching of music was entrusted to the teacher of the public school of the country - always a priest - managed by the Confraternity of Santa Croce. He instructed the young people of the most prominent families and being often an expert in music and organist in the church, he also took care of the parish choir.

Even in the following centuries, musical education will find its natural and qualified seat in the oratories of the churches. The wealthiest Confraternities had always had a chapel master employed by them, usually a clergyman. He took care of the singing liturgy and gave music lessons to the children who attended the oratory and were part of the choir. In 1764 the chapel master of the parish of Santa Maria della Reggia, Silvestro Fanfani, received a (considerable) compensation of 76.33 scudi.

Between the parishes and the various Confraternities "a competition of emulation was often unleashed to give religious events the character of grandiose solemnity, precisely through music and choral singing". For the feast of the Madonna, for example, on September 8, 1695, the parish of Santa Maria della Reggia spent 1.62 scudi for the musicians who performed lettanias, sung mass and solemn vespers. Even two years later, on 9 September 1697, Maurizio Savelli received 7 paoli for recognition of the music, that is, for the payment of the musicians who had solemnized the festivity with their work ".

The rich Confraternities, such as that of Santa Croce, called foreign masters among the best and most famous of the time. These musicians had a salary of a few scudi a year, but they supplemented their income with other proceeds and lent their work in more Confraternities. In Fratta, there were never more than two or three, despite being the most numerous Confraternities. In a receipt of payment of 1704 to the master Galeazzi by the Confraternity of Santa Croce, we find this annotation:

"Our Brotherhood has always been in the habit of keeping the Chapel Master of this land salaried with the annual salary of four scudi, with the obligation to make music for the feast of the Holy Cross, the Madonna and for the three evenings of the 'Exhibition of the Most Holy in Carnival, and other festivals such as at the Council of 21 November 1704 ”.

In the minutes of the meeting of May 3, 1707, there is confirmation of the existence of a regular music course dedicated to children at the Oratory of Santa Croce and in it it is even proposed to give a salary to the youth who practice music by half paul for each time they will participate to sing for the feasts of our church. There was therefore a real music school, so much so that an economic incentive was deemed necessary for those less motivated young people, who perhaps preferred other amusements to the commitment of the choir.

Even the Confraternity of San Bernardino, second in importance to that of Santa Croce, had its own Chapel Master, who in 1706 was Father Romanelli, a friar minor convent of Perugia, for the exercise of music in ecclesiastical functions and for the routing of young people.

In some particularly important circumstances, musicians were brought in from outside, paying them high fees.





















In 1765, for example, for the construction of the Collegiate Church, 116 scudi and 31.5 baiocchi were spent on the new choir. The sum was considerable: in addition to the remuneration for the numerous musicians and the various transport costs, the sumptuous and delicious lunch was also very important, the main dish of which was the Sicilian maccaroni pie, prepared during the three days of the group's stay at Fratta.

In 1795, the Confraternity of the Holy Conception, for the feast of the same name, brought ten professors of music and the chapel master of the cathedral of Città di Castello, for which ten scudi were spent, however, not considered Mr. Domenico Bruni who came to favor.

Other expenses incurred for the payment of musicians can be found in the recordings of Santa Maria della Reggia, in the note of the gifts given to various attendants of this Collegiate on the occasion of Christmas, Easter and 8 September 1819. In addition to the chapel master , a remuneration was also paid to Dr. Burelli, GioBatta Spinetti, Bonaventura Spinetti (singer), and Antonio Manzini (tenor singer). "In that year at Santa Maria della Reggia there was still the chapel master Giovanni Manzini , who died a few years later; in 1824 the Collegiate Church paid a sum to Mariangela Manzini, widow of the choirmaster.

Alongside the teaching linked to the ecclesiastical environment, there was a musical teaching that took place in the classic way of the time: the disciple stayed in the master's house in a kind of boarding school or boarding school for the years necessary to learn all the secrets of the art. . The relationship between the pupil's family and the teacher was regulated by a notarial deed, and the chapel masters often trained young people in music.

In Fratta we find a first example of this in 1774: Clemente Ciangottini entrusted his son Mariano to Domenico Romeggini, from Lucca, who at that time was the chapel master of the Confraternity of Santa Croce. The boy would have had to stay with him for ten years, following the teacher in all his movements, and an annual fee would have been paid to this.

But Mariano, two years before the expiration of the contract, ran away leaving his teacher and forcing his father to pay the teacher a large sum for damages.


Historical photographic archive of the Municipality of Umbertide

The first marching band

The group with the characteristics of a musical band, in the sense that is given to this term today, was established in Fratta on September 1, 1833. It took life within that private company, not dependent on civil or religious institutions, freely created by a group of citizens associated with each other and music lovers, of which it has been said: the Philharmonic Society of Fratta . The founders of the association were almost all very young and belonged to the class of landowners, bourgeois, or to that of craftsmen, that is, artisans or artists.





















The group of twenty-two members, who were also called Academics, because the Philharmonic Societies also had the name of Philharmonic Academies, was made up of Domenico Agostini, Giuseppe Agostini, Ruggero Burelli, Macrobio Brischi, Niceforo Cambiotti, Luigi Carelli, Domenico Carotini, Pasquale Chimenti , Giovanni Gigli, Lelio Lazzarini, Luigi Magi Spinetti, Luigi Mariani, Alessandro Martinelli, Angelo Martinelli, Demofonte Mastriforti, Antonio Montagnini, Averardo Paulucci, Cipriano Santini, Francesco Santini, Luigi Savelli, Luigi Vescarelli, and Antonio Vibi. We have news of almost all of them in the municipal historical archive.

- Domenico Agostini , employee of the Municipality, in charge of "road maintenance assistant";

- Giuseppe Agostini , born in Fratta on 21 August 1817, landowner, lived in via Dritta (now via Cibo); he will carry out the functions of Prior and will participate in the first war of independence '';

- Ruggero Burelli , born in Fratta on 25 June 1803, landowner and notary; municipal secretary, a position he held for many years; lived in via del Teatro (now via Alberti);

- Macrobius Brischi , "artiere" (craftsman), blacksmith;

- Niceforo Cambiotti , miller: his family practiced this trade already in the 17th century;

- Domenico Carotini , born in Fratta on 14 July 1805, maker of clay vases; lived in via di Castelnuovo (now via Cavour); in the municipal concert of 1862 he will play the "quartino";

- Pasquale Chimenti , ceramist;

- Giovanni Gigli , born in Fratta on March 4, 1813, potter; he lived in Piazza del Mercato (today's Piazza Caduti del Lavoro);

- Lelio Lazzarini , landowner, municipal councilor; from 1856 until September 1860, the year in which the temporal power of the Pope in Umbria, Prior of Fratta, ended; in December 1862, councilor acting as Mayor;

- Luigi Magi Spinetti , owner;

- Luigi Mariani , born in Fratta on September 6, 1807, "artiere", probably a blacksmith, lived in via San Francesco (now via Soli); in the municipal concert of 1862 he will blow the horn;

- Angelo Martinelli , born in Fratta on 25 July 1805, potter and landowner; lived in via del Mercato (now via Magi Spinetti); he will be municipal councilor from 1838 to 1847; he played the bass (he will also play it in the 1862 concert);

- Demofonte Mastriforti , born on June 28, 1813, lived in via Bremizia (now via Roma) at no. 24; "blacksmith-gilder, on 12 March 1849 he was elected municipal councilor";

- Antonio Montagnini , born in Fratta on May 31, 1815, shoemaker, lived in via Dritta (now via Cibo); in the 1862 Concerto he will play the clarinet;

- Averardo Paulucci , born on 10 April 1810, cashier of the Philharmonic Society; landowner, he lived in via Cavour; he was also the contractor for the duty on the introduction of wood and other fuels; in the 1862 Concerto the piccolo will play:

- Cipriano Santini , landowner, was among other things the owner of the farm in the Vocabolo "Fosso";

- Doctor Francesco Santini, born in Fratta on 24 May 1795, landowner, lived in Piazza San Francesco; municipal councilor; in 1840 and 1841, Prior;

- Luigi Savelli , born in Fratta on November 22, 1800, landowner, lived in via Dritta (now via Cibo); from 1838, for some years, municipal tax collector; from 1 November 1817 until 1818 and from 1825 until 1860 teacher of reading, writing and numerics in the municipal school;

- Luigi Vescarelli , born in Fratta on February 19, 1810, post officer; lived in via di Castelnuovo (now via Cavour); he will be elected city councilor on 12 March 1849.

























In a meeting following the establishment of the Philharmonic, on December 1, 1833, the Academicians drew up a regulation in which the organizational, financial and musical aspects of associative life were established. This Specification, which consists of 26 articles, is the oldest document found so far on our band, and places it among those with more distant origins, not only in Umbria, but also in Italy.

The formal constitution deed of the Company made official the existence of a group that had already been aggregating in previous years. It was most likely some of these musicians who had performed Don Antonio Guerrini's Te Deum in the church of San Francesco six years earlier, on 10 June 1827, even though the instrumental group had been integrated with foreign elements. Guerrini himself, a man of great culture and promoter of important initiatives in the early nineteenth century Fratta had cooperated in the formation of the band, probably also teaching music to many of its members.

It is interesting to note how the regulation, in 1833, highlights the presence also in Fratta, within the Philharmonic Society, of a Turkish band, that is, of a "specialized" section of the band, limited to a few instruments, probably only percussions ( the kick drum, the cymbals, the snare drum, etc.), which was convened only for special occasions and upon prior notice. In fact, it had to provide its service - reads the Specifications - only when it had received the prior notice.

Let's see the rules that our academics had set themselves and how the Philharmonic Society of our country worked, whose urban center had 825 inhabitants in that year.


Organizational and artistic aspect

Two deputies dealt with the general economic aspect. Similar to the managing directors of our day, they were renewed every six months, by drawing (by lot) among all the members of the Company. Therefore the two top managerial functions were held in turn by all the shareholders; this criterion denotes a notable form of internal democracy, balanced however by the selective admission of members who, without class prejudices, must have been pleasing to the group of founders. In fact, it was difficult to enter the music association and the admission requirements make us think of a fairly closed group. The candidates had to submit a written request to the president who, after having ascertained the musical ability of the applicant, submitted it to the shareholders' meeting; the request was accepted only with a majority of 2/3 of the votes. However, if any of the shareholders were against it, he brought his reasons to the assembly, and if they were recognized as correct, he did not even proceed to the vote.

Discipline, in a group of a fair number of people, was quite rigorous. Everyone had to submit to the authority of the music teacher, the band leader and the director, the most important operational roles in the association, who chose the pieces to be performed and also indicated those to be learned by heart. They could establish additional tests in addition to the usual Sunday tests. In fact, since the components were busy during the week in their work, being owners, employees and artisans, the rehearsals took place on Sunday, usually at two in the afternoon, in a room intended for this use, probably the theater, the only space then existing in the village for recreational activities. Only the Academicians attended, that is, the members of the Philharmonic Society, who had to behave in such a way as not to disturb education in the slightest part.

The player could not show up late for rehearsals or music services. If he did so, after half an hour of tolerance, he was fined three baiocchi, and for each piece performed before his arrival he paid another baiocco, in addition to not receiving his share of the regalia, that is, the compensation received by the band for that performance. . No other reason was admitted, if not illness or urgent commitments, of which the director had to be notified in advance. Who notified the musicians of the date of the extraordinary rehearsals and of the services to be performed through the janitor, who probably also had the task of preparing and rearranging the registered office.

Within 15 days of the assignment, a musician chosen by lot had to copy the scores with clear and correct writing. Everyone had to have some training and know how to write the music in beautiful handwriting, then distributed to the banders who had to read and play it.

The music masters of the various instruments attributed to their students the place in the band and established their role in the instrumental ensemble. Alternatively, the attribution was the responsibility of the director, bearing in mind the boy's ability and talent.

The teachers trained the young pupils in a way

complete, providing them too (such as

could do Antonio Guerrini , gifted with great

musical preparation) notions of harmony,

composition and counterpoint, in addition to those of

reading of music and instrument technique.

The Fratta Philharmonic Society included a 

set of wind instrument players (brass and

woodwinds and strings (strings), and also a singer;

depending on the type of service requested, he adapted

the staff to the circumstance.

The uniforms were not provided by the Company. But charged

of each musician. The winter one, which was worn

from autumn until March, it consisted of a black dress

and black trousers; in spring and summer, however, he would wear

black dress and white trousers. Failing that, it was recommended

to wear the most decent clothing. Some, therefore, do not

they possessed what was required and, on the occasion of the services of the band, wore the best clothes.

The musicians had the obligation to jealously guard their instruments and repair any damage; at the end of each service they had to return them and deposit them in the gang room. They could also buy them, and in this case the gifts due to them were passed to the cashier until full payment. But the hit instruments, that is the bass drum, the tambourine, the cymbals and the triangle, even if purchased, had to remain in the band's room and, in case of absence, the player delegated to use a person he trusted. If he had not done so, the Society of the band would appoint the most suitable and responsible: the rhythmic instruments were considered essential in the performance and there always had to be someone to play them, like today.

The musical group also performed services outside Fratta and could stay away even more than a day. He animated village festivals and gave concerts. The Philharmonic Society had an eminently civil and secular character (even if it participated in religious feasts and ceremonies), with a repertoire both sacred and profane.

The deputies (managing directors) thought of providing the venue or space suitable for public performance. The amount of the donation payable by those requesting the musical services was determined by the deputies themselves. In the country, it could not be less than scudi 1.50; outside Fratta with scudi 2, in addition to transport, food and lodging.









If a theatrical company required the intervention of banders for a show at the theater, the deputies established a preferential price with the manager so that the amount of it does not ruin the company and prevent the population from enjoying this entertainment. In this case, therefore, the local instrumentalists necessary for the theatrical performance played for a low fee, sometimes even symbolic, for the appreciable purpose of allowing the Frattisans to attend the theater performances of the passing companies ".

The compulsory exits were those of Corpus Domini and of the Holy Conception (8 December), occasions in which probably the band, in addition to playing in the church, also accompanied the procession.

Those who joined the band had to sign a specification for acceptance which established, among other things, the duration of the Society for a six-year period, which would end in August 1839. We do not know for certain whether at the natural expiry of the six years the Philharmonic Society of Fratta formally renewed his commitment; however it is certain that the brass and woodwind band continued to play regularly, and five years later, in 1844, at the height of its activity, it will serve in important celebrations in the country.


Economic aspect

A deputy, elected every two months, kept the register of the attendance of musicians at rehearsals and services, of delays and fines (puntature), which he himself applied by collecting the sanction, for unjustified absences. At the end of the mandate, he presented the statement, pouring the proceeds into the hands of the cashier. The cashier had to keep the cashier of the stakes and gifts: in essence, he paid the fees for the services of the band in the cashier, from which he took the bonuses for the players. The money from the stakes was reserved (when there was an adequate sum) for a recreation (convivial meeting, party) at a time chosen by the players, but, depending on their amount, they could also be reinvested in the Company for the purchase. of tools or other.

In the event of expulsion, the musician was not entitled to the distribution of the gifts; the episodes of disagreement between the master, band leader or director with the banders were dealt with by the entire Society, convened to resolve the dispute.

The musicians received an equal share, including the singers; the ringleader one and a half altitude, the low band half altitude. The latter was almost certainly the rhythm section of the group, that is, those who played the percussion instruments. In fact, we find that, in the Treviglio band (also from 1833), the term low band indicated the tamburone bass drum), the tamburella (snare drum), the sistro chinese and the cymbals. The players of these instruments were evidently thought to be a less educated and less skilled group and took half the others.

The Philharmonic Society of Fratta, structured and regulated in this way, continued to exist until 1852 as a private association, independent from public institutions, even after the issue of Cardinal Gamberini's circular. Evidently the Statute respected the criteria established by the circular of 1835 if the Prior of Fratta, in 1852, reported to the Austrian Command of Perugia that the Philharmonic Society, even though it had not "asked for nor ... had any superior permission", had continued to operate .


- Historical photographic archive of the Municipality of Umbertide

- Amedeo Massetti (from the book on the history of the Umbertide band)

The centenary party and the fanfare of the Civic Guard









The Centenary Festival and the band

A memorable performance by the Band of the Fratta Philharmonic Society took place in 1844, on the occasion of the great Centenary Festival which was celebrated for the second time, repeating that of 1744, a century earlier. An event was recalled whose echo, after two centuries, had not faded at all, but still profoundly marked the collective memory: the end of the war of the Grand Duke of 1644, which had also closely affected our small city on the Tiber, besieged by he Tuscan army which had put the Fratigians in serious danger, who had built formidable fortifications on the walls and with great fear had prepared for the worst.

The bicentenary became the occasion of grandiose celebrations that were concentrated particularly in the days of the traditional September festivities: from the 5th to the 8th of the month. The greatest expenses were borne by the Confraternities who, since January 1st, had formed deputations with the task of going around the country to collect funds.

Printed tickets were sent to the owners of the houses to light them with torches, and on September 6 a balloon was raised. There was also a free horse race along the straight stretch of the road to Città di Castello, over the bridge over the Tiber, where, in the first hundred meters, a long embankment ran. And since a large turnout of people was expected, as in reality it was, a long wooden fence was built on both sides of the road to ensure the safety of the crowd.

On the 7th and 8th of September, at nightfall, fireworks were launched at will; over a thousand mortars were purchased in Città di Castello and shot by the only Frattisan expert, Pietro Barafano.














The houses, the town hall and the town gates were illuminated with wind torches, and the oil lamps were left on along the streets for all four nights.

There were various performances at the theater and a service of the marching band.

After those of 1835, 1837, 1839 and 1840, this is another important historical documented news of the performance of our city band complex in a specific public service. He had been called to animate the party by the Compagnia della Concezione, from which he was also paid. Perhaps he had done months of rehearsals to prepare a repertoire worthy of this special occasion and he had probably never played in front of so many people. We imagine the skill of these musicians in obtaining harmonious notes from the instruments of the time, not as perfected and technologically advanced as the modern ones.






















The players probably wore the "black dress and white trousers", the summer uniform established by the regulation. Perhaps they will have performed in Piazza del Grano , also called del Marchese, which was smaller than today or perhaps, after having gathered in the space between the doors near the bridge, they will have pushed marching towards the Prato del Comune where there were so many people who attended the horse race. Or, more likely, they will have played in the Sant'Erasmo market or in the Piazza del Borgo Inferiore enough space for a stationary performance, surrounded by hundreds of festive people. In addition to all this, there were solemn religious functions with the participation of many players who came from Sant'Angelo in Vado, Città di Castello, Gubbio, Perugia and Foligno.

The anniversary remained memorable.

In this feast there was also another orchestra in Fratta made up of about twenty elements from outside, which had played in the various churches during the solemn religious functions. The components had been paid for separately, one by one, as shown by specific registrations and regular receipts. The band had therefore carried out a mainly civil service, of animation of the party, parading and playing among the crowded streets of the town, even if it is probable that it participated in some procession, which certainly did not fail for this event, given the devotion of the Friars to Madonna della Reggia to which they attributed the grace of having escaped, two centuries earlier, to the fury of the army of the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Dense of events, therefore, these festivals of September of 1844, and never repeated again. After this anniversary, for the celebrations in honor of the Madonna, everything fell within the usual limits.


The fanfare of the Civic Guard

Different from that of the band was the phenomenon of the fanfare of the Civic Guard in Fratta. In March 1848, on the occasion of the institution of the Civic Guard, the Municipal Council decided to bring together a concert for the Civic Guard with the obligation to also lend itself to the public sorties of the Magistrate [...] and it was approved.

























The proposal to organize a musical band within the City Corps came from the councilors Giuseppe Savelli and Angelo Martinelli , passionate musicians, both double bass players, whom we will find four years later as members of the Fratta Philharmonic Dilettanti and in 1861 active directors of the Concert Society. Probably, what was intended to be created and which was almost certainly established, was a fanfare: a small group of musicians from the band who were also part of the civic guard and gathered to play in public events and in the outings of the Magistrate for civil ceremonies. A military fanfare, in short, with instruments that were perhaps more suited to parades than to concerts. In these circumstances it was necessary to use a few more percussion instruments, at least two more drums. For the occasion it was said that he would have wanted to buy one, finding someone from outside, because Fratta's was not very capable. However, the question was resolved by sending the drummer Giacinto Tancredi to a specialization course in Perugia. The institution of the Civic Guard created in Fratta great enthusiasm, and probably the members of the fanfare were the best wind instrument players of the band, who had thus found another opportunity to express themselves and assumed a further commitment in their musical activity. Since no expense was spared for the equipment of this Corps, it is possible that new tools have been purchased.

There is no other information on the activity of the fanfare which, however, probably had to lend its work to Fratta on several occasions.


- Historical photographic archive of the Municipality of Umbertide

- Theatrical poster from the book on the city band by Amedeo Massetti

The teaching of music in Fratta


The Collegiate Church and the choirmaster. Giuseppe Foraboschi

While with the birth and development of the bands the music came out of the churches to spread into civil life, the music schools held by the chapel masters continued to be active in Fratta, who shared the alternating fortunes with the bands for a long time. From the music schools, in fact, the bands will draw the highest professionalism and the new generation of musicians.

Up to now, the one who had been involved in teaching music in Fratta was the Collegiate Church. Together with the Compagnie (the Confraternities) that contributed to the expense, this provided for an annual sum of 70 scudi for the salary of the choirmaster. In 1810, the master was paid 54 scudi per year. A fabulous figure, considering the salaries of the time ", which always remained at high levels. This explains how many of the best musicians of the time aspired to come to our country to occupy that position. Among the most authoritative masters who had held this position. role had been the canon Antonio Guerrini, composer of Masses and other sacred pieces, such as a full orchestral Te Deum (1827), a Tantum Ergo a tenore (1830) and a Kyrie (1837?) in which only instruments were used for many years Guerrini exercised the office of chapel master of the Collegiata (the main church of his homeland) for many years without ever receiving any remuneration.
























From 1835 the Municipality of Fratta also contributed to this expense of the Collegiate, participating however in the choice of the teacher. In that year he had allocated a contribution of 25 scudi for the three-year period 1835-1837 and Giuseppe Foraboschi was commissioned, who was also supposed to teach music to young people. “Born in Montefiascone (Sabina) [in 1806, NdA] which later became Perugian, Foraboschi managed the chapel of the cathedral [of San Lorenzo] and the municipal school of Perugia in 1844-1846. Giuseppe Foraboschi of Perugia is named in the diploma of chapel master of the Academy of S. Cecilia, conferred on him on May 30, 1845, which was kept in the reception room of the Shelter he founded.

Advisor and censor of the Accademia S. Cecilia, [he was] a pupil in Rome of Maestro Fioravanti, then a teacher in San Pietro. Finding himself in Corfu on the occasion of the passage of King Otto, he was appointed director of all the music of that city, where he replaced Maestro Battagel in the direction of the musical band of the 88th Regiment of His British Majesty, commanded by Colonel O 'Malley, direction that held for six years. From England he moved to Perugia, where he was appointed by the magistrate to succeed Tancioni in 1844 [...].

He attended with many other personalities of music at the funeral of Francesco Morlacchi, celebrated in the cathedral of Perugia on January 14, 1842.

Giuseppe Foraboschi resided for a few years in Umbertide, where he married Blandina Agostini. He died in Perugia on June 22, 1878, in his house in via del Circo, at no. 5.






























Foraboschi distinguished himself for an extraordinary work: the creation of the "Shelter for poor music virtuosos of the Province of Umbria". The institute "originates from the holographic testament of Foraboschi dated January 15, 1883 and subsequent codicils deposited with the notary Benedetto Rates on June 25, 1887 and is governed by the rules laid down by the Law on Pious Works. The Shelter that bears his name was opened on July 12, 1891, and every year it was commemorated with gratitude by the inmates. According to the statute, only the virtuosos of music, excluding the instrument makers of the Province of Umbria who drew their source of income exclusively from the exercise of the musical art and that as they got older they could no longer exercise ".

Foraboschi composed the Funeral Sonata (1841) for the funeral of Francesco Morlacchi. His symphony for orchestra, Il bivacco, was performed in Perugia in 1874. Other musical compositions and writings of his are known.

The choirmaster Foraboschi certainly also had relations with the Philharmonic Society, because some of the boys who learned music from him then joined the band to play an instrument. Perhaps he was the brass teacher himself and it is very likely that for some time he was also the director of the band, since no names of other masters have been handed down. Giuseppe Foraboschi, however, did not stay long at the keyboard of the organ of the Collegiate and instructing the young people of the band in music. At the end of his three-year assignment (1837) he left Fratta, leaving the town without a choirmaster for many years. He must have been a truly excellent musician if, as we have seen, he later settled in the service of his British Majesty; then he went to Perugia as a music teacher.



Francesco Colombati choirmaster and the musical band

On 15 December 1849, when the expected specifications were drawn up with the Municipality and after the approval of the act by the pontifical commissioner, the chapel master in service, Professor Francesco Colombati di Pergola, was confirmed. Colombati, organist, graduated from the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna, was born in Sant'Elpidio a Mare in 1823 and came from an illustrious family of musicians.



















Two years later, on January 15, 1852, Francesco Colombati was re-affirmed by the Municipality; in that year he was also part of Fratta's Philharmonic Dilettanti of sound and song. Therefore, at this date, the Philharmonic Society operated under this new name. It is no coincidence that Colombati is in first place in the list of musicians and, most likely, was also in charge of the instruction and direction of the band, given that part of his annual remuneration was paid by the Municipality.

Colombati's musical group played both in the theater and in the church, and also provided services in the village on the occasion of parties and public events. It rang, for example, for the celebrations organized on the occasion of the visit and stay in Fratta of Cardinal Giuseppe Pecci, bishop of Gubbio, on 9 May 1852. It was a great celebration and the Municipal Council, on the following 3 June, resolved the payment of ( huge) expenses, of 21 scudi and 43 baiocchi, for fireworks, refreshments and reconnaissance to the band, the reward, as a sign of "recognition" for the work done by the musical group.






















But in November 1852, the professor gave up his post and in December he left Fratta because he was appointed chapel master of the Cathedral of Gubbio. Colombati was married, had two children, Emanuele and Maria: the salary offered to him by the Gubbio Chapter was higher than that of the Collegiate Church and more suited to the needs of his family.

From now on, for several years, we will see the events of our band intersect directly with those of the chapel master of the Collegiate. In Fratta, as happened in many other cities, the figures overlapped. This musician of ecclesiastical nomination, who was required to have a complete preparation, so much so that he also had to be a composer and teacher, was used by the Municipalities or by the Philharmonic for the training of young people who would be part of the band.

In addition to accompanying religious ceremonies with the organ, he imparted the first rudiments of wind instruments and directed the band.

The Fratta band was an autonomous entity, born from the Philharmonic Society; the Municipality, however, supported it indirectly by financing the Collegiate Church with a contribution for the salary of the choirmaster who, with his teaching, created the nursery for future musicians.



From the book by Amedeo Massetti "Two centuries on the march - Umbertide and the band" - Petruzzi Editore, 2008

San Francesco.jpg
Le origini: la musica a Fratta
La prima banda musicale
La festa centenaria e la fanfara della Guardia Civica
L'insegnamento della musica a Fratta

The rebirth of the band and the feast of Santa Cecilia


The band restarts after the Great War

Maestro Franchi worked assiduously at the school with his uncommon didactic skills that he knew how to apply to the study of every instrument. "On May 27, 1920 he invited the old members of the Umbertide band to a meeting that would take place on May 30 at the headquarters of the music school, in the Nunzi house. The meeting would have prepared a meeting requested by the Prefectural Commissioner, Tacchi, who has recently taken over from the mayor Andreani. The interview with the Commissioner took place on 10 June at 9.30 pm, in the Town Hall. , for a total of 44 musicians.

1. Pucci Celestino, trombone accompaniment - 2. Guardabassi Gaetano, does not play -

3. Pucci Arnaldo, clarino - 4. Bebi Quadrio, clarino - 5. Cozzari Giovanni, bass Bb - 6. Lisarelli Eugenio, cornet - 7. Vibi Ovidio, bass F - 8. Alberti Quartilio, clarino - 9. Bettoni Raffaele, cornet - 10. Salciarini Raffaele, trombone accompaniment - 11. Bartolini Giovanni, bass or trombone - 12. Fucelli Galileo, clarino - 13. Melgradi Silvio, bass drum - 14. Melgradi Michele, flute - 15. Mariotti Celestino, quartino - 16. Villarini Domenico , trumpet accompaniment - 17. Rinaldi Giuseppe, genis - 18. Zurli Astorre, genis - 19. Fiorucci Amedeo, cornet - 20. Codovini Riego, bombardino - 21. Ivo Rossi, bombardino - 22. Barbagianni Giuseppe, trombone - 23. Barbagianni Angelo , trombone -

24. Ceccarelli Luigi, trombone - 25. Celestini Giovanni, genis - 26. Polveroni Giuseppe, clarino - 27. Villarini Mario, clarino ".































There was a long discussion about the measures to be taken to reconstitute an efficient band. The speakers were very motivated and Franchi explained the situation thoroughly to the Commissioner, who was interested in the subject. He pointed out the numerous lack of tools, even if the staff was sufficient to start over, waiting for some other boy. In the end, also to start again on the most certain possible bases, it was decided to put pen to paper, to entrust to some people the compilation of a statute. The regulation commission was formed by Quadrio Bebi, Riego Codovini, Giovanni Cozzari, Giovanni Bartolini, Giuseppe Polveroni, Ivo Rossi and Gaetano Guardabassi ".

























The meeting bore fruit and the first measures in support of the gang began from the Municipality. On July 16, 1920 Commissioner Tacchi adopted a resolution to repair the instruments, in need of restoration, or for the long time in which they had been abandoned or for other "technical deficiencies". The owners, almost all workers "and therefore in very limited economic conditions", did not have the possibility of providing with their own means. Tacchi approved an expense of 801 lire, then added another 52.50 for the purchase of 35 "booklets for marce". And in that same month of July the musical group finally resumed activity.

By the end of the summer, the gang was resurrected. Il Messaggero, published in the days close to the Solemnity of Our Lady, says that it had resumed functioning regularly and had been appreciated by the people of Umbria in the celebrations of 8 September 1920: "... It is in the religion of art, of good and of beauty , that Maestro Franchi, with a truly admirable work, managed to resurrect our Concerto which, made up of many young elements, promises a lot ... " (1) .



















It is also interesting to note the richness and solemnity of the religious celebrations, organized for the occasion by the young "diligent parish priest Don Luigi Cozzari " (2) , in which master Franchi also played a large part. The bishop of Città di Castello, monsignor Carlo Liviero , participated.
































The "Santa Cecilia Alarm Clock" is born

On November 22, 1920, on the initiative of Maestro Franchi and president Gaetano Guardabassi , the feast of Santa Cecilia was celebrated for the first time. The band, "from early morning, walked the main streets of the town thus starting the nice party with a brilliant idea".

The gang had inaugurated the "alarm clock" of Santa Cecilia. By parading and playing through the streets of the town in the early hours of the morning he had brought a pleasant musical awakening to the people of Umbria. Franchi and Guardabassi had a good idea, so much so that this tradition continues to this day.

In the afternoon there was a concert prepared with all artistic diligence by our talented teacher prof. Alessandro Franchi who deserves the greatest credit for the revival of the city concert. And after the musical program, the traditional dinner.


Il Messaggero of 28-29 November 1920 dedicates

an article at the event: “… All the pieces, including

two very successful compositions of the same

master, received unanimous approval

of citizenship that was wide of deserved applause

for the overall success of the program and of the

nice party. There was no lack of the traditional banquet 

during which the most cheerful and frank reigned

enthusiasm of all the participants and there was no lack of it

not even greeting speeches praising this beautiful

such an effective institution, especially for culture

music of the people and for life and brotherhood

small town; and so that this new institution can

worthily prosper, let us hope it gets

moral and financial support, both from the Administration

municipal and every single citizen. To the beloved

Maestro Franchi, to the diligent president of the Band, Mr.

Gaetano Guardabassi, and to all the musicians, go to

satisfaction of the citizens of Umbria ".


In addition to the students and the components of the concert, "they took part

even the former musicians and became more fraternal

alliance disparity of ideas and views, thus demonstrating how

with joviality and moderation they can still be in similar circumstances

unite in a good and friendly thought people who, unfortunately,

well they often fight bitterly. "The dinner of Santa Cecilia

she had managed to bring together politically minded people

completely different, at a time when the victory of the socialists

in the local elections of October 24 he had created forts

oppositions and one began to feel the violent reaction of the

first fascist organizations. The feast of the patron saint of musicians was therefore very successful in her familiarity, and unanimous gratitude was given to Maestro Franchi, "a young and good author and conductor who does so much good to the country both with having restored the city concert and for the perfect performance he gives very good trust for the future, both for the local Schola Cantorum of which he is the true soul ".

Probably, however, there was a need for an adequate location, if in December the new mayor Settimio Rometti asked Count Emanuele Ranieri for a room in a house he owned in via Cavour. But the count replied that it was not possible to grant it because it was already occupied by the “Antonio Guerrini Youth Club”.



(1) Il Messaggero of 11 September 1920 also reports the description of other events that took place during the feast of 8 September 1920: "Our town, thanks to the tenacious and indefatigable work of a few young people, to whom partisan hatred does not it makes a veil and has not destroyed the love for its native place and for the fine arts, it has been enlivened by gracious celebrations for public benefit. ... The master Maccarelli revealed himself last night for a perfect artist, in the recitation of the "Gruff Beneficial", the very difficult work of Goldoni, together with the master Rondoni, Antonio Igi and Domenico Pauselli; the teacher Fornaci and Professor Garognoli are also very nice and perfect. The Charity Fair and the swimming competition on the Tiber were very successful and charming ... ".


(2) Don Luigi Cozzari was born on February 4, 1982. In 1906 he was ordained a priest. Very active in Catholic organizations, he founded in Umbertide, together with Don Bosone Rossi, the Catholic club "Silvio Pellico" based in via Soli, annexed to the church of Santa Croce.

He was parish priest of the Collegiate Church of San Giovanni Battista from 1911 to 1956, when Don Antonio Fanucci took over. He died in Umbertide on March 15, 1965.



- Amedeo Massetti photographic archive

- Corradi photographic archive

- Photographic archive of Don Luigi Cozzari

La rinascita della banda dopo la Grande Guerra
The master Pietro Franceschini

From favorite pupil of Maestro Franchi to the direction of the reconstituted musical band

di Umbertide from 1966 to 1970, but above all an exceptional teacher and trainer of many young people
















Pietro Franceschini is a cornerstone in the history of the gang. And not just ours. There is no wind instrument player in Umbria who does not know him. His activity as a musician has intersected more or less directly with the history of all bands in the region for almost fifty years.

He was born in Montecastrilli, in the province of Terni, on 10 December 1919. To follow the movements of his father, a railway worker, he arrived in Umbertide in September 1925 together with the brothers Dino and Goffredo (who will become in the band respectively a flutist and a clarinet player) and he settled with his family in Montecorona.

At the age of nine he joined the band of Franks who taught him solfeggio and the first elements of the trumpet. The maestro understood that he had an exceptional natural talent in front of him and immediately included him in the staff by making him play in the band services. At the age of ten he was already performing in concerts in Piazza Umberto I, with a wooden box under his feet to be "up to par" with the others. Franchi had discovered a trumpet player of rare skill, became fond of the boy, took care of his musical training and entrusted him with increasingly important roles. Pietro, at the age of twelve, was already an appreciated instrumentalist and he was also called by the most famous dance orchestras in the area, such as that of “Palazzone”, “Pippo del Caporale”, and others. Franceschini will play in the Umbertide band for many years, attracting attention also in the surrounding area for his skill. Later he will be part of pop music orchestras and his trumpet will become legendary.

In 1939 the winds of war began to blow and Franks, like a good father, worried about the boy's destiny. He knew well the director of the Presidential Band of the 81st Infantry Regiment of Rome, Edoardo Castrucci, and wrote to him asking him to include the young talent in order to avoid a possible call to the war zone. In fact Franceschini had already been subjected to a military visit and assigned to the Vº Bersaglieri Regiment of Siena: he was only waiting for the postcard to leave. The master of the Presidiaria, at the end of September 1939, immediately invited the young man to Rome to take a test, brilliantly passed, and the young recruit was drafted into the military band. He didn't even go home to get his personal effects and some documents, but he had the most urgent things sent by his family.

Thus began his engagement with the military band of Rome, in which he performed many important services as a soloist in concerts often held at the Basilica of Maxentius and at the Pincio. He had as a colleague an “exceptional” cymbal player, Alberto Sordi, son of a well-known professional of the tuba bass, also recently enrolled in the band, perhaps helped by his father to avoid the front. The young Roman was already embarking on a career as an actor and was acting in prose shows at the Sistine Chapel and in avanspectacle theaters; he had also been the voice actor of Oliver Hardy. Franceschini often amused himself with the funny jokes that the budding actor improvised in the evening in his dormitory, without imagining that soon that cymbal player would become the national Albertone.




























His fellow musicians (including Professor Luigi Francavilla) looked at him with admiration and were amazed to learn that this talented trumpet player did not have a formal academic degree. The pressures for his enrollment at the Conservatory began, but Pietro remained undecided for a long time until one evening he witnessed his solos in a concert by Tullio Semproni, first trumpet of the Augusteo's orchestra who, after speaking with the master of the band, convinced the young man umbertidese to enroll in regular academic courses. Franceschini plunged into his studio, took private lessons in harmony and history of music, burned all the stages and in just three years, in September 1942, he graduated in trumpet at the “Santa Cecilia” Conservatory in Rome.

In the summer of 1943 he will be joined in the band by a fraternal friend of Umbertide, Renato Radicchi, also an excellent trumpeter also sent by Franchi to Castrucci, who will happily share with him three months of military life and musical experience in the Presidency. in Rome not yet occupied by the Germans.

After the war, Franceschini returned to Umbertide and began the profession of musician. On February 26, 1946 he won a national competition and began teaching at the Liceo Musicale Pareilato "Francesco Morlacchi" (since 1968 State Conservatory) in Perugia. The acquaintance with the famous conductor Franco Ferrara dates back to this period.

He immediately had the position of deputy director of the school, while he carried out an intense concert activity hired as an "adjunct" in the most famous orchestras: that of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma (at which he won in 1947 the national competition for the position of second trumpet), the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santa Cecilia, the Orchestra of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra of Palazzo Pitti in Florence (with whom he toured for a month in Spain) and the Orchestra of the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto .

He also played with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Herbert Von Karajany, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Krakow Radio Orchestra during repeated seasons of the Umbrian Music Festival.

In his spare time he took care of the Umbrian bands, their reconstitution and musical direction: those of Ponte Felcino, Ponte San Giovanni, Spina, Cerqueto, Petrignano d'Assisi, Ponte Pattoli, Gubbio, Pietralunga, Piegaro. Many owe their current activities to Franceschini's professionalism and commitment. He also took care of the teaching of music and the training of students. He followed for the Umbria Region and for 1'Anbima (National Association of Italian Autonomous Musical Bands) numerous events and band competitions, of which he was often an esteemed member of the commission.


The reconstitution of the town band and the creation of a music school

In 1966, on behalf of Professor Bruno Porrozzi , president of the Pro Loco Umbertidese Association who together with Giuseppe Fiorucci was working on the reconstitution of the local band, he personally committed himself to revive a complex that had dissolved ten years earlier and which he will direct until 1970.

At the same time he established a music school which immediately saw the influx of many young people. The musical teaching will continue even after the dissolution of the band, until 1989, and will form a large number of young people from Umberto I, many of whom will be initiated by him to the Conservatory and to a career as musicians.
























He held the position of director of the Perugia Conservatory from 1974 to 1975, crowning his academic commitment.

Among the members of the Umbertide band there had never been a graduate musician, no one who had completed regular courses of study. His teaching was a tremendous incentive. Franceschini, taking them from the large nursery of his students, began to bring prominent elements to the Conservatory. This is a great merit that is unanimously recognized in the Umbertidese musical environment, and beyond. The role of exceptional teacher and trainer continued even after the period of his direction in the band, launching many young people on a musical career. Many have graduated from his school and many professionals have come out of his school.

Many other boys (now ex boys) owe to him the only pleasure of playing an instrument and having fun with the music in the local band or orchestras. Franceschini also taught solfeggio to a great Umbertide musician, maestro Gerardo Balbi, making him continue his studies at the Conservatory where he graduated in piano, harpsichord and composition.

Umbertide's first graduate was Galliano Cerrini, initially a pupil of the master Corsaro, then of Franceschini who had him enrolled in the Conservatory.

An excellent teacher, he managed to bring out the best in anyone, professional or amateur, always paying great attention to detail.


































In early December 1999, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, he was celebrated with a concert in his honor in the auditorium of the Museum of Santa Croce in Umbertide, held by the "Ottoni di Perugia" group directed by maestro Massimo Bartoletti who he succeeded in the chair of trumpet at the “Francesco Morlacchi” Conservatory.






























Maestro Franceschini died in Umbertide on 4th August 2004. At his funeral there were many and authoritative exponents of the Umbrian musical environment. The string orchestra "I Solisti di Perugia" wanted to honor him by performing touching musical pieces during the religious ceremony celebrated by Don Gerardo Balbi, his old pupil, in the church of Santa Maria. The town band of Umbertide, integrated by musicians from other Umbrian bands, was waiting for him lined up under the arcades of the Franciscan convent. In an atmosphere full of emotion, under a pouring rain, he sang, at the exit of the coffin, the beautiful funeral march by Ugo Manfredi "Mother's cry".


Amedeo Massetti photographic archive

Il maestro Pietro Franceschini
Pierantonio's band

The "Pierantonio Concert Society" was born in 1886



















The constitution of Pierantonio's band almost certainly dates back to 1886. The letter in which Giuseppe Mannocci, on 10 February 1920, asked for a subsidy in the name of the members and the president of the “Società del Concerto di Pierantonio, founded in purpose of entertainment since 1886 ". Mannocci wrote to the Commissioner of the Municipality of Umbertide, Tacchi, recalling that in the village “there are no other entertainments and the members of the band had been forced to give up on Maestro Franchi due to lack of funds.

But that Pierantonio's band could already be active in 1886 we are also told by the fact that the musical group, directed by Maestro Massimo Martinelli, received in 1887 from the Municipality a "small annual subsidy" of about one hundred lire, increased to 125 over the years subsequent.

However, in those last decades of the nineteenth century, as well as financial means, Pierantonio's gang also needed expert guidance. In fact, on 24 April 1889 Giuseppe Carlani wrote to the Mayor asking to insert in the specifications of the Umbertide band, for approval in those days, the obligation for the music teacher to go to Pierantonio once a week with expenses to be borne by the Pierantonio Concert . The clause was not included in the regulation. But the meeting of the City Council of 26 April established that Massimo Martinelli, conductor of the Umbertide Municipal Concert, for the duration of three years from May 1, 1889, had to go to Pierantonio every Friday for two hours, to "continue teaching music there and direct the relative rehearsals of that concert ". He would have been paid by that same band: five lire every time he went to the hamlet, the same for the "invention or reduction" of every piece of music that had been ordered by the directive commission of that concert. Finally, it was established that this condition was valid only for Pierantonio, excluding Preggio, another fraction of Umbertide in which there was a gang. The activity of the Pierantonio Concerto (probably directed by Massimo Martinelli from 1889 to 1897, albeit discontinuously) continued until the end of the century amid various economic difficulties, relying solely on the shares of the members, ready to self-tax to keep the musical group, much felt and loved.


















In 1900 he received from the Municipality of Umbertide a small subsidy, of about one hundred lire per year, insufficient to meet the expenses. And the constant lack of funds pushed the executives to appeal to the local administration every time.

On November 22, 1906 Pompeo Fanelli wrote a letter asking for a contribution for the "Musical Society of the Village of Pierantonio", established for twenty years and always financed by the members: "The teacher pays the rent of the hall alone - underlined Fanelli - and it meets all other needs with its own means ". But the subsidy did not have to change if a few years later Fanelli was forced to repeat itself. On 22 October 1912 he requested an increase in financial support in the name of the Concerto: "Pierantonio's Concerto Society - he explained - has 25 years of activity and has supported with its own resources the costs of renting the venue, for the master and 'lighting". In exchange, the gang offered itself for any services requested by the Municipality. Finally, after so many questions, on 15 December 1912, the Municipality decided to increase the annual funding from 125 to 2001ire, allowing the gang to continue its activity more calmly. The contribution was even raised to 300 lire in 1913.

Now the conditions existed for a profitable and lasting musical commitment, but the First World War was approaching and, starting from 1914, all young people of military age will be called up and sent to various fronts. The band activity thus suffered a long interruption. After the conflict, the musical group slowly resumed work. On October 18, 1919 Pietro Carlani communicated to the Mayor that "the Pierantonio Concert has been reconstituted for some time" and that the partners, wanting a "licensed" teacher, had requested the work of Alessandro Franchi di Umbertide. Carlani specified that the partners paid the rent for the rehearsal room, the maintenance of the instruments and all other small expenses. Therefore he asked the Municipality to intervene.





















Another letter for a loan will be sent on February 10, 1920 to Commissioner Tacchi, signed by Giuseppe Mannocci, on behalf of the shareholders and of the president for the Società del Concerto di Pierantonio, the owner Pietro Carlani. The Company - underlined Mannocci - had always supported itself with small municipal subsidies, which had been removed during the war period. In the absence of financial means, it was not possible to pay the remuneration to the master Franchi. Almost six months will pass before Mannocci's request is accepted and it will be the new commissioner Lino Molinari, who succeeded Tacchi, to grant a contribution of two hundred lire to the Società del Concerto with a provision of 23 July 1920.

The following year, September 24, 1921, Pierantonio's gang again wrote to the Commissioner asking for an increase in the annual contribution. The new prefectural commissioner Angelelli tried to find out about the situation and the next day he replied to Carlo Carlani, head of the section of the Fascio di Pierantonio, asking him "some information on the foundation, purpose and political and financial direction of the local Concerto Society".

On 19 October 1921 Carlani expressed a favorable opinion, and the Commissioner thus raised the contribution from two hundred to six hundred lire, starting from 1922, given that an increase of 2,200 lire had been granted to the Umbertide Concert. “We also consider the courage and enthusiasm of Pierantonio's small population - concluded Angelelli - who were able to put together over 20 elements to make up a musical body”. On November 28, 1921, a telegram from the president and the master of the band expressed Pierantonio's gratitude to the Commissioner.

The band served on the occasion of civil and religious events or festivals in the town and in the countryside. But on November 4, 1921 he also played together with that of Umbertide in the imposing event in homage to the unknown soldier; memorable is the performance of the hymn of the Piave in Piazza San Francesco. And it often happened that on important occasions she was called to "reinforce" the Umbertidese group.

On 10 June 1923, directed by Maestro Franchi, she went alone to La Bruna where the Parco delle Rimembranze was inaugurated. The mayor of Perugia, the Uccelli lawyer, was also present and a long procession, preceded by the band, paraded to honor the fallen by bringing flowers to the commemorative plaque.



















On 9 September 1923 Pierantonio's musical group played together with those of Montone and Umbertide at the inauguration of the monument to the fallen of the 1915-1918 war, in front of the elementary school building in via Garibaldi. And among the immense crowd, the three groups united managed to create a suggestive sound power. In 1925 the director was Alessandro Franchi. The rehearsals were usually entrusted to a band leader of Pierantonio, Severo Scapicchi, a former clarinet player. Scapicchi, however, only directed the preparation of simple repertoire pieces, such as marches or dances. If pieces of opera or complexes were to be set up, master Franchi from Umbertide would arrive. The gang leader then directed the services for processions or country festivals and his role also appeared from external signs on the uniform: two fillets on the cap unlike the banders who only had one.

The band was made up of 30-35 elements, artisan workers, peasants, depending on the availability of each and any absences were due only to work commitments or illness. For the people of Pierantonio, who always stayed in the village in the evening, the band was one of the few diversions. In some particularly large farming families, even two or three members played in the band.

The band members included: Sestilio Marcucci (first clarinet) Sigilfredo Valentini (first clarinet) Eliseo Valentini (tenor flugelhorn) Domenico Medici (baritone flugelhorn) Riccardo Fanelli (tenor flugelhorn) Rolando Fanelli (second clarinet) Enrico Arcelli (flugelhorn in E b - pistoncino) Pierino Bistoni (second trumpet) Enrico Ragni (first trumpet) Igino Tosti (second soprano flugelhorn) Giuseppe Scapicchi (first soprano flugelhorn) Pietro Scapicchi (small clarinet in Eb - quart) Fidenzo Mannocci (second clarinet) Ninetto Mannocci (alto flugelhorn) Eraldo Arcelli (second clarinet) Luigi Mannocci (horn) Luigi Giulianelli (trombone) Aldo Giulianelli (alto flugelhorn) Luigi Briziarelli (bass drum) Paris Marcucci (cymbals) Renato Martinelli (horn) Lorenzo Rosini (Eb bass) Pompilio Lazzarini (Bb bass ) Bettino [?] (Solo clarinet) Dante Fanelli (flute) Guerriero Marcucci (second clarinet) Pompeo Fanelli (second clarinet) Alberto Fanelli (co rno accompaniment) Pasquale Casciarri (janitor).

On November 22, 1925, Pierantonio's band celebrated the feast of Santa Cecilia with a concert. For the occasion, ten young students made their debut and seventy attended the social dinner, attended by the mayor of Umbertide, Gualtiero Guardabassi and the teacher Franchi.

In 1927 Pierantonio's 1st band received an annual contribution of 1,500 lire; that of Umbertide of 4,000.

On 8 September 1927 he went to Umbertide together with its president Domenico Medici for a concert in the square together with the band of the capital, forming a group of eighty elements directed by Franchi. Also the following year it will be called to Piazza Umberto I on the day of the feast of the Nativity of the Madonna to play with the band of Umbertide: in all, a group of ninety people.














On 28 October 1928 he played again with his colleagues from Umberto who had come with Maestro Franchi for the inauguration of Pierantonio's Casa del Fascio. An important ceremony: the building was among the first of its kind in Italy, thanks to the offers and the industriousness of the inhabitants. The activity in 1929 was intense, with probable services in the capital, since the Municipality assigned a further contribution of five hundred lire. On September 8, 1930, the two bands of Pierantonio and Umbertide still played together. But sometimes, on important occasions such as the patronal feast, the master Franchi called only a few musicians from Pierantonio. In general, Eraldo and Enrico Arcelli, Domenico Medici and Pompilio Lazzarini who went to "reinforce" the roles of Umbertide, also participating in the rehearsals prior to the concert. In these cases, Franchi was very strict. One evening, in the music room of Umbertide, not happy with the success of a piece, he held the band until half past one in the morning. And the clarinetist Eraldo Arcelli returned by bicycle to Pierantonio pedaling for almost an hour. At 2 pm the following afternoon he had to go back to Umbertide again for the concert.






















Arcelli used the bicycle every time he came to Umbertide; at night the acetylene lamp allowed you to see the stones on the road and not hit them: "It was a tough discipline - remember now, ninety-five - but we were twenty and it was a prestige to belong to the gang". Pierantonio's band, made up entirely of local elements, held concerts in the village at least four times a year. A large audience, on those occasions, flocked to the unpaved square, strewn with breccia. In the lineup pieces of opera, under the direction of the master Franchi. The group then played at the processions for the Ascension, Sant'Antonio, on June 13, Corpus Domini and Easter. But he also went out on the occasion of religious holidays. Like in San Sugaro - Parlesca (the second Sunday in May), in La Bruna (twice a year, but always on the first Sunday in September), in Rancolfo (the first Sunday in June), in Pietramelina (last in August, "At the end of the watermelons") and on August 15, the feast of the Assumption, in Castiglione Ugolino.

At country festivals he received salaries ranging from fifty to one hundred lire per performance.

The rehearsals were held once a week with Maestro Franchi, in a rented room, also used as a dance hall. Above there was the "Circle of the Lords", where the notables of the town went in the evening to play cards and where dancing parties were organized at carnival. He played an orchestra formed by the instrumentalists of the band (always the good Lorenzo Rosini on the bass).

Maestro Franchi came to Pierantonio twice a week, by bicycle. One, for the afternoon music school for the boys and he went home: the salary was five lire. Another, for the evening rehearsals of the band: in addition to the five lire, he was paid for dinner and room for the night. Franchi, in fact, after the rehearsals, slept in Pierantonio in the house of Luciano Barcaroli, owner of a grocery and butcher shop. It would have been hard for the teacher, at eleven in the morning, to travel eight kilometers on a bicycle: the road, unpaved, was full of cobblestones.

Pierantonio still reminds us of Franchi's extraordinary speed in composing. Eraldo Arcelli was also a member of a local orchestra and when he needed some new pieces (at that time there weren't many printed scores), he went to Franchi with two pigeons (a sign of gratitude, but also a welcome consideration in lean times) and the teacher, at the piano, instantly churned out a waltz, a polka or a mazurca: a danceable piece to play in the evening.

With Franchi, the clarinetist Eraldo Arcelli also played in the Umbertide band. He was second clarinet (2nd A) together with Goffredo Franceschini (2nd B). The first clarinets were Mario Villarini and Filippo Filippi.


























On July 7, 1930, the 1st band performed under the direction of Franchi in the "beautiful and magnificently illuminated square of Pierantonio". The musicians, "admirable for their discipline and spirit of sacrifice, performed very well all the numbers of the rich and difficult program". Riccardo Fanelli, Domenico Medici and Enrico Arcelli distinguished themselves in a particular way "for their passionate performance". Unanimous praise goes to the master Franchi who even in this hamlet "carries out his skilful activity". A special thanks to the president of the band Ciro Carlani who "supports this beautiful institution which is so useful and accepts the whole country".

On Sunday 23 July 1933, at 9 pm, Pierantonio's Dopolavoro band, directed by Maestro Franchi, held an applauded concert in homage to the 1st Artillery Regiment stationed there for tactical exercises. The musical program was greeted with lively cheers from the officers and from all citizens. The symphony of Verdi's Nabucco and the duet of Bellini's Norma were particularly appreciated. The musicians were much acclaimed, including the young Eraldo Arcelli and Pierino Bistoni. After the concert the dances began, very animated in the hall of the Casa del Fascio.

The band's activity was interrupted from 1935 to 1939 due to the call to arms of many young people. In 1940 it was reconstituted by a group of boys. It was always directed by Severo Scapicchi, and once a week Franchi came for rehearsals.

There was then another interruption during the war period. But it started again immediately after the crossing of the front. Severo Scapicchi and Alessandro Franchi still ran.

The gang provided services in La Bruna, in Santa Giuliana, in Pietramelina, in Montelovesco. And also to the Madonna del Monti, after Camporeggiano, which the musicians reached on foot. Bulky tools, such as the crate and dishes, were moved on the back of a mule. The band also went to the Abbey of Montecorona and the Hermitage, Castiglione Ugolino, Murlo, Bagnaia (for San Giuseppe), Rancolfo and Parlesca-San Sugaro. In the latter locality the musicians used a horse cart.

The musical group played in Pierantonio for the Ascension, for Sant'Antonio (June 13), for Easter and December 8 (Immaculate Conception). Sometimes he also performed in the square in concerts which he attended all over the country.

He was rehearsing in the former “casa del Fascio”, the elementary school building.

They made up the group:

Evelino Briziarelli (clarinet in Eb - quart) Eraldo Arcelli (first clarinet)

Carlo Montacci (clarinet) Goffredo Sannella (clarinet) Giuseppe Salciarini (clarinet) Sestilio Marcucci (clarinet) Guerriero Marcucci (clarinet) Giulio Fanelli (clarinet) Antonio Castellani (clarinet) Renato Fucsina (soprano sax) Enrico Arcelli (trumpet) Pierino Bistoni (trumpet ) Elio Mariucci (trumpet) Renato Arcelli (soprano flugelhorn) Giuseppe Ugolini (trombone) Alberto Arcelli (trombone) Remo Riberti (horn) Marcello Rossi (horn)

Ugo Binucci (alto horn) Ugo Fanelli (alto horn) Vincenzo Montanucci (baritone horn) Luigi Monsignori (tenor horn) Ennio Marri (baritone horn)

Alfeo Rosini (tenor flugelhorn) Renzo Castellani (bass Bb) Lorenzo Rosini (bass Eb) Pompeo Grelli (bass Fa) Giuseppe Cozzari (bass Bb) Enzo Nottoli (tambourine) Romolo Briziarelli (bass drum) Paris Marcucci (cymbals) Pasquale Casciarri (janitor) . Subsequently Giuseppe Cencetti replaced Romolo Briziarelli at the cash desk.

The instruments had been purchased by the musicians themselves.

The band reconstituted after the war, however, did not reach the levels of preparation and harmony of the first.

When Franchi died in 1948, Severo Scapicchi continued to direct it, helped by Eraldo Arcelli, until 1959, the year of its closure.



Amedeo Massetti photographic archive

La banda di Pierantonio
La banda di Preggio
The band of Preggio

Born in the mid-nineteenth century, it remained alive until the early sixties

when the depopulation of the territory began





















The band of Preggio originated in the second half of the nineteenth century, with a considerable numerical consistency when compared to the population and the difficulties that this small mountain town encountered. Both for the poverty of resources, and for the lack of communication routes that would facilitate relations and exchanges with one's own Municipality and the rest of the territory. There were therefore also obstacles to have a qualified musical guide, stable and present over time. In fact, in the decades in which the Preggio band was alive, it often had to provide itself with an autochthonous teacher, while requesting from time to time contributions from Umbertide for its own survival and the presence of the master of the municipal band. For example, with a resolution of April 26, 1889, the municipal council of Umbertide agreed to the request that Massimo Martinelli , master of the band of the Municipality, went to Pierantonio once a week to teach music and conduct the rehearsals of the local Concerto. But in the act it was established that this should happen only for Pierantonio and not for other hamlets of Umbertide. The restriction to a single fraction can be explained by the fact that Martinelli, already occupied by two groups, could not take on a new commitment in another town eighteen kilometers from Umbertide and moreover difficult to reach. Consequently, the Preggio band continued to carry out the activity by providing itself with a local teacher.




















The request of the president Giovanni Battista Contini on 7 March 1898 is documented, asking the Municipality for financial support of fifty lire "as usual in recent years as an encouragement". Contini specified that the contribution should be received by 12 May, because a "title" had to be paid to the band of Umbertide for the purchase of instruments. The council decided to disburse the requested sum, but specified that this should not have constituted a precedent that would constrain the action of future administrations. It can be deduced that the Municipality had already granted the subsidy for some years, and continued to pay out the same sum of fifty lire, in the following two years, on February 26, 1899 and in January 1900, thus satisfying Romolo Fabbri's requests for " encouragement to the Preggio Music Society ".

The preggese group was probably directed in those years by a local person and urgently needed a trained teacher to train the new recruits and carry out the tests. In fact, on 7 September 1901, 67 heads of families, together with the members of the band, signed the petition to the municipal council that the teacher Stanislao Franceschi, recently director of Umbertide, would go once a month to Preggio to give lessons to the members of the philharmonic who otherwise it risked melting. The Mayor gave a favorable opinion.

It is probable that the inhabitants of Preggio already knew the maestro, having directed the band of the nearby Castel Rigone in previous years. In 1902 Franceschi continued to go to Preggio every month; his salary, in that year, had been increased from 800 to 1,050 lire. His was a real “journey”, because he arrived in a horse-drawn carriage crossing the Niccone valley up to San'Andrea di Sorbello, touching a strip of Tuscany. Sometimes, between the two groups he directed there were exchanges of instruments and two bombardini were also used by the band of Umbertide.

The Concerto di Preggio continued its activity with commitment over the years

later, until, in 1905, Stanislao Franceschi left for Sigillo.

Umbertide's new master, Carlo Morbidelli, arrived at the end of

1906, he probably did not deal with Preggio due to his many commitments

in place with the music school and the subsequent collaboration with the

band of Ponte Felcino, in 1909.

Preggio had to continue alone again, with the constant

problem of scarcity of means. In 1913 Guido was its president

Fabbri, who on April 20 presented a request for subsidy to the Municipality.

The president pointed out that the eight hundred lire destined as of

onsuetudine to the band of Umbertide that year had not been

disbursed due to the inactivity of the group, which was expected

reconstitution. So he got that from this unused fund

a good hundred lire were granted to the band of Preggio.

The Great War was also a cause of interruption for the musical activity

of the country: there were many young people who left for the front.

A regular activity resumed only in 1927, when the organization

of the regime's Dopolavoro tended to favor and frame all

forms of aggregation between citizens.

On 5 January 1928, the mayor of Umbertide, Gualtiero Guardabassi,

granted a room for reconstitution to the “Società Filarmonica di Preggio”

of the band ”and on 7 December approved a contribution of five hundred lire

to the “Banda del Dopolavoro di Preggio, an institution essentially understood

to the moral and intellectual elevation of the working class and of one

large population that for strength, activity and discipline with

which follows the directives of the new regime, deserves every possible regard ".

Even under the aegis of fascism the musical society preggese lacked

means, so much so that to make the site accessible it had appropriated one of the

three oil lamps of public lighting, at whose operation it was

chief Giuseppe Cardini.

The fact sparked protests and was reported to the Municipality by Romolo Fabbri and David Trentini.

In 1929 the band depended on the “Società Musicale di Preggio”, of which the lawyer Antonio Contini was president. The Municipality intervened with a contribution of five hundred lire a year, as it did with the Pierantonio Musical Society, restoring fair treatment between the two fractions.

In October 1929, with a provision of the podestà Guadabassi, the "musical society of Preggio" was formally associated with the Dopolavoro: the Podestà granted a contribution of five hundred lire.

The 1930s were glorious for the band. The group was directed by a local gang leader, Gaetano Boni; from time to time the teacher Franchi arrived from Umbertide to assist him in teaching young people and in rehearsals. The activity was intense and the repertoire was vast: it included marches and Opera pieces that were played in the square on Sunday evenings in the summer. The presence of the band was often required at religious festivals in nearby parishes, such as Racchiusole or, on the opposite side, in San Paolo, Reschio in the municipality of Lisciano Niccone. The musicians gladly answered the invitations because (as the popular saying states that "all the psalms end in glory") they were occasions for a cheerful feast of macaronias. It wasn't just a recreational function, for an hour's entertainment or an afternoon of celebration. The band of Preggio, and those of all the small towns, far from the cultural circuits and lost in inaccessible areas of a poor and backward nation, deserve the merit of having played a role of cultural promotion in times in which the presence of means of mass communication, as specifically, was limited to the telegraph of the Regie Poste and the radio equipment of the headquarters of the beam. The band activity was a vehicle of knowledge, through a certainly not secondary part of culture and national identity, capable of igniting interest and passion among a population far from cultural centers. It also had the merit of spreading the knowledge of melodrama, so much so that not only men but also completely illiterate women sang songs by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti by heart.

Almost all the families of Preggio had a musician in the band: some more than one. Among the buffaloes, Giovanni called Nino, cornet player, and his brother Luciano the clarinet. Then there were the Stoppa: Settimio on trumpet, Bruno and Benedetto on baritone flugelhorn. To the Contini family belonged the brothers Dino, clarinetist ("quartino"), David, bass player in Eb, Alceo and his father Luigi, also at the clarinet, whom he had to abandon when the shotgun exploded in his hand and lost two fingers.

Maestro Boni also belonged to the Contini family, having married Luigi's sister and thus becoming the uncle of two brothers; and they were also his nephews on the part of his mother Giovanni and Luciano Bufali. Relationships of kinship, musical activity, work connected families and players. For example, Alceo Contini was a carpenter together with his uncle Gaetano Boni. This man, a rigorous and tenacious man, was a master of the band and a skilled craftsman; tireless educator, in his spare time he gave music lessons to the boys in his own workshop. A kind of head of the family for that band that among the many relatives, also included another nephew and a brother.



















The hamlet of Preggio, at the beginning of the thirties, was close to two thousand souls, while in the countryside the families had up to thirty or forty members. The country itself was densely populated. The population increased when work began for the construction of the road section from Preggio to Umbertide through Monte Acuto and Polgeto. Workers came from all over Italy and it was a real providence, because in a period of high unemployment a work of this magnitude, built entirely with a pickaxe, employed hundreds of workers. The road was inaugurated on October 28, 1934, a historic date for Preggio which had been waiting for the connection with its Municipality since the time of the unification of Italy. The service of 21 April 1934 is unforgettable, when the band participated in the inauguration of the cross placed on the top of Monte Acuto, in memory of the holy year 1933-34 and the fallen of the war 1915-1918. It was hard to get to the top, the heaviest tools loaded on the back of a mule, but the wonderful view of the valleys below repaid the efforts of the long climb.
























Another historic occasion for the town, and therefore for his band, was the "taking possession" of the parish of the Holy Trinity by the new prior, Don Espedito Marcucci, who would hold the Priory until his death in 1973. The band actively participated to the celebrations; the importance of the ceremony was underlined by the presence of civil authorities and by Archbishop Giovanni Battista Rosa who "placed the young priest in possession of the parish benefit". At 11.30 on February 20, 1938, mass sung by the local “Schola cantorum” directed by Alessandro Franchi; at 4 pm, solemn thanksgiving with the performance of the “Te Deum” and the “trina benediction”. The party ended in an evocative way: in the evening Preggio was all lit up with "Venetian lanterns" and "fires of joy" were lit in the countryside.















The band continued to be called in the surroundings for the holidays: its services were required in a large area, from Castel Rigone towards Lake Trasimeno, up to Migianella, near Umbertide. By now she had beautiful uniforms and was renowned for the vast and well-kept repertoire, which animated the associative moments in the surrounding countryside and centers.

In the mid-forties we find it always active. And in the immediate post-war period, in the period of political elections in which heated and violent partisan passions were unleashed, the gang was the protagonist of an eventful episode. On May 18, 1947, the Sunday after the Ascension, she was called to Monte Acuto, to the traditional feast of the Madonna della Costa, where, after the religious celebrations, she was to hold an "outdoor musical entertainment". He had already started playing in the open space in front of the church when a "communist speaker", climbed onto an embankment, began a meeting addressed to the many present. Impatient for the prolongation of the play, the politician urged the "comrades" to stop the music and they accepted the invitation so well that they lashed out at the players, forcing them to stop with swear words and shoving.

The event, although serious, seemed to be over, especially since the lunch seemed to have calmed the spirits. But when, in the afternoon, the band was invited to resume the program, the "comrades" began to mock the band-players who, even hit by a few stones, placed the instruments on the grass and put the jammers to flight with punches. Even the parish priest and his brother, also a priest, were victims of the turmoil, who, in an attempt to gain the door of the rectory to take shelter, were slapped by the mob. The story did not end there, but it had serious consequences.
























In 1949 the group celebrated the ordination of another priest from Prese, a former member of the band, Don Dino Contini. He accompanied him from home to the church of the Holy Trinity, where the young priest celebrated his first mass. Since then Don Dino would no longer play the "quartino" in the band, but the piano and the great organ of the cathedral of San Lorenzo in Perugia, of which he has been an appreciated organist from 1942 to the present day.

But shortly afterwards the good teacher Boni, who had led the group with firmness and skill for many years, died. In the pouring rain of a stormy summer day, the gang accompanied him to the cemetery amidst general emotion. It was a strong and engaging atmosphere that the players managed to create at the funeral of a companion or a relative: people were always struck by it.

The gang, therefore, fell silent for a while, but the activity was soon resumed. The prior, Don Espedito Marcucci, passionate about music and aware of the importance of the band for the community of Preggio, took steps to reconstitute it, managing, in 1950, to recompose a group of twenty-three people. Don Espedito had also thought of the instruments, in need of repairs, entrusting them to the tuner Schippa di Passignano. He also bought new ones at his own expense, equipping the gang with everything they needed.

The group thus resumed playing under the guidance of Gaetano Boni's nephew and pupil, Alceo Contini, Don Dino's brother; his brother David was then at the baritone flugelhorn (bombardino), Nicola Boni at the cash desk bought by the prior. The director of the band Alceo Contini was a good instrumentalist who played all woods and also the saxophone; famous for his clarinet skills. Contini also took care of the children's music school; the rehearsals took place in a local of the Municipality under the square, in via Dritta. The headquarters will then be moved to the "theater" room, in the large hall overlooking the square.

Carlo Boni played the trombone, Otello Sergenti the bombardino, Tommaso Orsini the cornet, Marino Orsini the bass, Biagio Trentini the bass drum, Raimondo Stoppa the "quartino". Then there were Terzilio Peverini and Antonio Cinaglia on clarinet, Gino Falomi and Rolando Trentini on bass, Luciano Bufali and Pietro Bastianoni on clarinet, Quintilio Zandrini on cornet, Pasquale Secondi and Primo Falomi on trombone, Gustavo Bastianoni on alto horn, Riccardo Benigni on tambourine and Alfredo Peverini with dishes.

The Preggio band lasted until the early 1960s, when the depopulation of the Apennines began, which would reduce the population down to a hundred inhabitants.


- Amedeo Massetti photographic archive

- Historical photographic archive of the Municipality of Umbertide

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