The parable of Italians in the South

May 28, 2017 1959

THE cellar is flooded and Chris Ranalli worries about snakes. From the safety of the back door, he points out the sturdy walls—two feet thick, as if to withstand Mediterranean earthquakes—and the elegantly vaulted ceilings.

“They lived in the top two storeys and made wine in the basement,” explains Mr Ranalli, who now tends the 100-year-old vineyard adjacent to the house. The view from the road is anomalous: framed by Catawba trees, the façade combines northern Italian architecture and Ozark stone, seeming to belong as much to the Apennines as Arkansas.

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