I had never heard of Renata Fonte until this past weekend. I watched a movie on YouTube that was part of a four part series that ran in 2018 called Liberi Sognatori. I was stunned that I never heard of her since I have avidly been reading Italian news since 1991. Infact, I learned Italian reading La Repubblica, the Italian newspaper about the links between Cosa Nostra and Politics and a man who protested paying bribes who was assassinated. His name was Libero Grassi. The first movie I watched was about his life. The last movie in the series is about the life of Renata Fonte who lived in Puglia and was a councilwoman or assessore who looked into construction on sites she thought should be a nature reserve in a town called Nardo near Lecce in Puglia.
For her investigations and her refusal to go along with these projects, she was assassinated on March 31, 1984 at only 33, leaving behind a husband and two children. Her husband I read wasn’t happy with the movie. That said, I was pretty taken with the movie and the life of this young woman and how much the stand she took cost her.
I also discovered a wine in her honor and memory made by Libera Terra. “The Coop Terre di Puglia Libera Terra wine division, Hiso Telaray operates on assets seized from Apulian organized crime. The coop runs 25 hectares of vineyards around Brindisi, in the districts of Mesagne, Torchiarolo and San Pietro Vernotico,” according to the website. Here is the first story I wrote about Libera Terra years ago.
This particular wine is made from Negroamaro (98%) e Montepulciano (2%) and is certified organic. With high acidity (5.3%) and a relatively brief maceration of 10 days, this wine will likely be one to drink immediately or within a few years with good local cuisine of which there are many iterations in Puglia. I love Negroamaro, it’s a very elegant grape and one that I think can be considered a noble grape. In this part of the Salento, it makes great reds and rose wines.
I’ve never been to Porto Selvaggio but I have been to the Salento and Lecce and it is among the most beautiful parts of Italy and I understand why Renata Fonte wanted to defend it. It was a terribly sad story and thinking of her daughters, my heart went out to them.