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Signature Stories

Signature Stories

“A town is what it takes, except for the pleasure of leaving. A town means not being alone, it means knowing that in people, in plants, in the ground there is something that belongs to you, something that keeps waiting for you even when you’re not there”. From these considerations arise the studies of Marco Fragale about Gratteri, the town where he grew up, where he spent the best years of his childhood.

At the age of 18, he starts gathering information from the oldest inhabitants of the town and searching in the sources of the State and Parish Archives in order to rewrite the history of one of the most beautiful towns in the Madonie. Today, Marco Fragale is a professor of literary subjects at the Brera High School in Milan but he has never forgotten his deep roots, going on to collaborate as PhD student in Humanistic Studies in the University of Palermo, dealing with Sicilian onomastic repertoire.

Biography

Marco Fragale was born in Cefalù, a sicilian wonderful town, in 1983. He grew up in Gratteri, a little medieval town in the Madie, where he spent the best years of his childhood. In 1992, at the age of 9, he moved with the family to Termini Imerese, his father’s hometown, remaining attached to the town of maternal grandparents and memories.

In 2002, for personal passion, only 18 years old, undertook a research in Gratteri, conducted among “young” eighty years old, in archives and craftsmen workplaces. In the same year he registered for a degree course in Modern Literature of the University of Palermo where he graduated in 2007 with a thesis on “Cycle of the year in Gratteri”, underlying the bound between material culture and devotional aspects.

In 2009, continuing his academic studies, he specialised with top marks in Modern Philology with a thesis on the official and popular onomastic repertoire in Gratteri, called “Rattalùçiu..abberaffé!”, a complete onomastics collection with interviews with local farmers and shepherds.

The research work was followed within the chair of Italian Linguistics, where the research group of the linguistic Atlas of Sicily, directed by Prof. Giovanni Ruffino, has thirty years of experience in the field. The project aims to document the linguistic repertoire of Sicilians.

In the same year of graduation, his thesis and part of the work he has done over the years (prayers, lullabies, nursery rhymes, proverbs, formulas and healing rites, popular beliefs, etc.), are presented during the XII summer course of dialectology and historical linguistics held at the Centre of Dialectology and Ethnolinguistics in Bellinzona, Switzerland (Republic and Canton Ticino) with the presence of expert dialectologists and university professors.

He continues his research studies that make him also involved in direct consultation of sources in municipal and parish archives, libraries, as well as at the State Archives of Palermo and in 2013 he published and introduced his first volume of the series “Gratteri in the heart” entitled “Rattaluçiu..abberaffé! – Surnames and nicknames of Gratteri from the end of the XVI century to the beginning of the XXI century“, considered the first complete onomastics collection of a Sicilian municipality.

Since 2020 he is a PhD student in Humanistic Studies at the University of Palermo, dealing in particular with a project of historical socionomy of an area of the lower Madonie.

Between the educational and cultural experiences, the collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Luxembourg, where in 2010 he started as a stager for the MAE CRUI project, a collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian Embassy in Luxembourg, taking care of the organization of the Institute’s activities and then working as a teacher of Italian language and culture, subsequently obtaining the CEDILS certification in teaching Italian to foreigners at the Cà Foscari University of Venice and the CELI examiner certificate at the University for Foreigners of Perugia.

In 2011 he was selected among young Italians to participate in Hemispheres, a European project of exchange and training in Paris, sponsored by the European Commission, which included the participation of 20 young people from seven European countries to discuss global issues in favor of international solidarity in collaboration with the association Frères des hommes. In 2016 he gained the degree of specialization on the CLIL teaching method in French at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. Since 2018, he’s been a member of ANFIS (National Association of Italian Trainers Supervisors).

Today, Marco Fragale is a teacher of literary subjects at Brera High School in Milan where he proposes and realizes together with his students original educational projects (musicals, plays, short films) on legality education, the defense of human rights and the fight against the mafia.

Between these, the video clip “Il silenzio è mafia” (Silence is mafia) in memory of all mafia victims made with the students of ITSOS in Cernusco sul Naviglio, published on various national anti-mafia sites such as Antimafia2000, 19luglio1992, and presented live in Telejato during the visit with his class to Pino Maniaci; the video clip “I have a dream” on modern slavery and the defense of human rights shared by Segnali di fumo, the human rights magazine of Amnesty International.

In the school year 2016-17 together with the students of the linguistic high school A. Gentileschi of Milan he realized the book “Le parole che non ti ho detto…” imaginary interviews and letters to mafia victims, presented on the occasion of the exhibition “ANSA l’eredità di Paolo Borsellino” and the unexpected visit to Salvatore Borsellino’s school on May 11, 2017.

In the same year he won the 1st Prize at the National Competition Festival of Human Rights with the students of the Gentileschi High School, with a radio piece about Cosimo Cristina Termitano, journalist killed by the mafia.

In the school year 2018, together with class 4 FL of the Gentileschi Institute, he won two first prizes at the literary competitionLeggere il 900” organized by the Leone XIII Institute of Milan and awarded by the writer Davide Enia.

His projects of active citizenship and paths on legality carried out over the years were finally collected in a book entitled “La coscienza è conoscenza. Noi giovani contro la Mafia” published by the publishing house Lampi di Stampa.

During his free time, one of his passions is poetry, participating in national and international competitions. In 2015 he won the third place at the International Literary Prize “Edoardo Salmeri” organized by the City of Villabate (PA) with the poem “Quella viuzza del mio borgo“. From 2016 to 2019 he studied theatre acting in Milan at the school IL FARO TEATRALE by Massimo Sabet.

“SO WHEN I COME TO VISIT YOU,
I COME DOWN THE STAIRS OF TIME AGAIN.
AND I SEE MYSELF CHILD OH MY LITTLE VILLAGE.
AND I HEAR VOICES FILLING THE STREETS, I SEE VANISHED FACES,
THE COLORS OF HAPPY SEASONS AND A FRAGRANCE OF ANCIENT…”.

FROM “QUELLA VIUZZA DEL MIO BORGO” BY MARCO FRAGALE

INTERNATIONAL LITERARY AWARD “EDOARDO SALMERI”, 2015.

Check out the author’s website www.marcofragale.it

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