Angelo Floramo, academic, historian, medievalist and scientific consultant of the Guarneriana Library of San Daniele del Friuli, is, as he likes to define himself, a “son of the frontier”. In his study wanderings among the oldest libraries, villages and monasteries in Italy and Europe he has always searched for the threads that link Friulian culture to Slovenian culture where the two merge. (Balkan Circus 2013 and La Veglia di Liuba 2018 Ediciclo editions and Bottega Errante). In search of common roots through the “mothers”, the “majke”, who, linked to their lands, become songs in the deepest sense of existence, he came across the INSIEME cooperative formed by women from Bratunac and Srebrenica, women from Bosnia as they like to define themselves, not Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, not Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox, Jews. Women and that’s it. These women prove that it is possible to rebuild a collective identity against the divisions imposed by war and have started a process of mourning based on the recognition of the value of one another’s pain, no longer understood as an enemy but as a victim of the same violence. This is the incalculable ethical value of the INSIEME cooperative “Fruits of Peace” created in 2003 by a group of “practical pacifists”, like their president, Radmila Zarkovic.

Cooperativa INSIEME ‘Fruits of Peace’

Every year Angelo Floramo accompanies his students to visit Srebrenica, one of the areas most affected by the war in Bosnia between ‘92 and ‘95. There, General Ratko Mladi ´c ’s militias killed all the males of any age between sixteen and sixty-five. Every woman who lives in this region has lost someone: a brother, a father, a son. The bodies of these women have become a battlefield in which wounds, torture and violence are inflicted. Anyone who lived there, or saw that land after the massacre, understands what miracle we are talking about … Bosniak women, as they like to
call themselves. Not Serbian, Croatian, Bosniak. Not Muslim, Catholic, Orthodox, or Jewish. Women and that’s it. These women have shown that a collective identity can be reconstructed against the divisions imposed by war. They immediately understood that to make peace win it was not enough to rebuild roofs under which to live or churches and mosques to pray in but it was necessary to rebuild the conditions for living, first of all work, to be shared in the recomposed community. To defeat the culture of war, they started a mourning process based on the recognition of
the value of the pain of the other, no longer understood as an enemy but as a victim of the same violence. This is the incalculable ethical value of the INSIEME cooperative of the “Fruits of Peace” project, created in 2003 by a group of “practical pacifists”, like their president, Radmila (Rada) Zarkovic. The first aim of the cooperative – founded by Rada together with Skender Hot – was to unite the weakest families, offering them the possibility of growing berries. In ten years, the INSIEME Cooperative has grown from 10 to 500 members. It directly employs more than
20 people who are veterans of the massacre and widows who were looking for a solution to live in a country strongly exacerbated by conflicts but which remained their home. Over the years the cooperative has managed to purchase equipment for the production of juices and jams. To be a member of the cooperative the following conditions are required: a small size of the farm, founded on a family basis, in which the owner works the land directly and controls every stage of the production activity, the use of non-genetically modified fruit varieties and, when possible, the choice of local and traditional fruit varieties, with the use of cultivation, processing, transformation and ripening methods that are respectful of human health, animals and the environment, adopting environmentally sustainable cultivation techniques. Before the war, Bratunac was one of the largest harvesting areas for small fruits, especially raspberries, in the entire former Yugoslavia. And it is precisely on the return to the processing of these traditional products that the project aims to encourage the return of refugees and displaced persons, giving them work that could allow them to support themselves economically and reintegrate into a social fabric devastated by long years of conflict. Today the Cooperative is able to support farmers in the production phase and deals with the harvesting, freezing, processing and sale of products derived from small fruits, a typical product of traditional agriculture in the area. For a better world it is not enough to dream with the fruits of peace you can change it’ is written on each jar: it is from the desire to escape from the nightmare of war and return to one’s own land that this jar is born, the fruit of meticulous embroidery, vase by vase, of the women of Bratunac and Srebrenica. Human dignity rediscovered through work that unites people and rebuilds peace. The products of the INSIEME Cooperative are on sale in Italy in the stores of the COOP network.


Angelo Floramo (born in Udine in 1966) graduated in History with a thesis in Medieval Latin philology and has been an expert in the subject at the University of Trieste since 1992. Since 2012 he has collaborated with the Guarneriana Library of San Daniele del Friuli (the most ancient Friulian library and one of the first public library in Europe, founded in 1466) as a scientific consultant for ancient manuscripts and the rare section. Founding member of MediEuropa MediAetas, International Center for Medieval Studies for Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, he organizes and participates in numerous research and scientific diffusion activities. Since 2020 he has taught anthropology of the image at the Tiepolo Academy of Fine Arts in Udine and since 2023 he has been a lecturer in Food History at the University of Udine. He has always considered himself a child of the frontier. Of this plural land that develops in intersections and that knows how to grasp the difference of accents, flavors, alchemies. Friulian on his mother’s side, on his father’s side he is instead of mixed, varied blood, of distant and mestizo ancestry, grown in a Slovenian village, Sveto, among the vineyards of the Karst plateau that connects Gorizia to Trieste. For study and research reasons he has visited and still continues to explore the oldest conservation libraries in Italy and Europe, often getting lost in the fascination of monasteries hidden from the eyes of the world. Author of a series of books on Friuli, its history and its people, in which he reveals how this apparently marginal land was for centuries the heart of a plural Europe, of peoples, languages and cultures that met here; among these Storie Segrete della Storia del Friuli (2018) and Breve Storia del Friuli (2020) published by Newton Compton. Always interested in the history of the Balkans, understood as the almost mythical epicenter of a Europe net to be explored, every year he accompanies his students to explore its souls, among taverns and squares, among ordinary people, where he meets witnesses of often forgotten events. Following up on his interest, he wrote Balkan Cirkus (Ediciclo 2013), a book that, halfway between narrative reportage and map of the soul, tells of an experience, a journey into the breath of a colorful and astonishing world, and La Veglia di Ljuba (Bottega Errante 2018), a journey that continually crosses the borders of Italy and Yugoslavia, and tells the story of the fate of children, men and women who found themselves in the right place but often in wrongtimes. Among his other countless works we remember: Guarneriana Segreta (2015), L’Osteria dei passi perduti (2017), Come Papaveri Rossi (2021), Vino e Libertà (2023) all published by Bottega Errante and La sensualità del libro. Piccole erranze sensoriali tra manoscritti e libri antichi (Ediciclo 2019). He has also published several essays and specialist articles on the Middle Ages and its dreams. He lives in San Pietro di Ragogna, in Friuli and is a teacher of Italian Language, Literature and History in secondary schools.