There is a small and pretty village between Atina and Gallinaro, in Italy called Rigatoni. Many years ago, the town was suffering great poverty due to harsh weather and a poor crop. One villager in particular, Tony Macaroni, was extremely worried and would slowly pace the streets trying to reassure everybody. Old Maria Trenette would say, “What am I to do Tony? I have seven mouths to feed and only a bowl of durum wheat!” His old friend Mario Fettucine would say, ‘It’s just no use, we’ll starve as well as being thrown off the land – we’d better just prepare for the worst.” Linguine the dog whined mournfully as he lay in the street and Tony’s daughters Penne and Fusille looked sadly and sympathetically at both Tony and the hound.
Tony knew that as ‘godfather’ of the village, he must do something – but what? He racked his brains as he wandered the woodland path on the outskirts of Rigatoni. It was just as he was considering running away that he heard voices through the trees. Bright colours shone through the trees – closer and closer they came until Tony could see a band of brightly dressed travellers.
A solitary figure dressed in scarlet with a long beard tailed off from the group. Tony watched in fascination as the figure approached and instead of stopping or greeting him, merely passed by him, handing him a package.
Quite in a daze, Tony stumbled slowly back to his house in Rigatoni. Tony and his wife Rotelle opened the package nervously to find small soft pieces of dough wrapped in a colourful paper.
It certainly gave Tony an idea and eventually the answer to his problems.
Exactly one week later the first pieces of “Macaroni” with old Maria Trenettes rich tomato sauce went from the kitchen all the way through the village, even into Linguine’s belly.
So Tony then set to work making different shapes of macaroni and naming them after each and every one of his friends and family.
They would never go hungry again.
Tony Macaroni’s legacy continues in Italy and indeed all over the world to this day.
As for the strange figure in scarlet, some say he was “Marco Polo” who appears in history now and then.