l’amurella bianchi

The Italian for mulberry is gelsi; the Calabrese word for mulberry is amurella.

Now tell me that amurella isn’t a more interesting word than the pedantic gelsi. But then modern Italian is about Florentine snobbery not the rolling r’s that are produced by vibrating the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, just behind the

In Aprigliano, this is the time of l’amurella. As kids, we would eat our fill and maybe, just maybe, bring some home. I remember lining the bottom of a panaru – shallow willow basket – with mulberry leaves to keep the berries from getting squished against the woven strands. (Mafalda and I were amurella aficionados; we only ate the white ones. Mafalda is my mother.)


The white ones – amurella bianchi – were prized for their subtle taste, their scarcity. The dark mulberry were common; they grew anywhere and everywhere.


This post is dedicated to Lucy Galiardi, an Apriglianese FB friend. She posted both the featured image and the one above.