azdora romagnola
Azdora - Foto: ITineraris

In the dictionary of Romagnolo dialect by Libero Ercolani, Monte di Ravenna edition, under the word Azdôr we find Reggitore in Italian, i.e. the man who directs the family’s affairs and work in the fields. Under the word Azdôra: Reggitora, i.e. The woman who presides over housekeeping matters.

It is no coincidence that the term “presides over” is used in the female definition of Azdôra. In fact, women in Romagna have not only had the task of managing housework, but of managing and presiding over these tasks. The “Reggitora” is the one who supports and rules – a central pillar. We have to thank the Azdôra if when we speak about Romagna we think of the many daily customs and traditional dishes that have maintained their originality over the years. In this part of Italy, to highlight the importance of women, the definite article is added in front of female names.

Our grandmothers, however, tell us that in addition to “managing” the house, often they also had to go to work in the fields and naturally this was detrimental to the management of the home:

Quand che l’azdôra la va ala campâgna la perd piò che la ‘n guadâgna (when the azdora works in the fields she loses more than it earns)

This saying teaches us that she absolutely could not be absent, no one could replace her.

Money was managed by the head of the family, but it was the woman who went to the market with eggs, cheese and poultry to obtain oil, salt and anything else that was needed at home. She knew how and what to choose because she was appointed to cook and get the end result which filled the dishes and fed the whole family.

The most characteristic element of this figure was the imagination she managed to transmit in the creation of her dishes. In no other region of Italy are there so many varieties of pasta, because the Azdôra was the Queen of “Pasta” who has transformed this basic dish with its many sauces into a real “gastronomic heritage” to be passed on to future generations and which must not be forgotten.

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