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A Taste of England

Aprile 2009
Questa cattedrale è stata per secoli l’edificio più alto del mondo. E’ il vanto di Lincoln, una splendida città inglese che una volta vista non si vorrebbe più lasciare.

di Julian Earwaker

File audio:

Lincoln Cathedral
Lincoln Cathedral

They say money doesn’t grow on trees. But it does in Lincolnshire. And in the ground, too. Lincolnshire is Britain’s fourth largest county and it produces around 20 per cent of the nation’s food and contributes £1 billion annually to the local economy. Lincolnshire fields produce fruit, flowers and vegetables but, most famously, potatoes – this is the home of the world’s first Potato Festival!


There’s more to Lincolnshire than farming and food, of course. There are popular seaside resorts like Skegness, Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe, while walkers enjoy the hills of the Lincoln Wolds. Then there’s the town of Boston. This is home of the iconic church of St Botulph’s, which celebrates its 700th anniversary this year. It was from here that a group of Puritan emigrants followed the Pilgrim Fathers to America, where they founded a new settlement of Boston in 1630.
Lincoln is the historic county capital. You can see agricultural land in every direction from Lincoln Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror in the late eleventh century. Used as a courthouse and prison, the castle is home to one of only four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta (see box).


Lincoln is full of history. It was settled by Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings – though the Cathedral dates back to 1072, soon after the arrival of the Normans. The triple towers of this spectacular medieval building, the third largest church in England, are visible from 30 miles (50 kilometres) away. For centuries Lincoln Cathedral was the world’s tallest building and a beacon to pilgrims.
Most of today’s pilgrims are tourists. Maintaining the Cathedral is very expensive and it is often necessary to find new forms of income. In actual fact the Cathedral has been used as a location for two blockbuster movies: The Da Vinci Code (2006) and this year’s The Young Victoria. The Da Vinci Code in particular has attacted a lot of tourists (see interview).


Most visitors to the Cathedral want to see the Lincoln Imp, a thirteenth-century stone gremlin which, according to legend, represents the devil. Like The Da Vinci Code, the imp is very good for business: it’s used in everything from local council letterheads to designs for door knockers and garden ornaments!
The imp is also the mascot of Lincoln City Football Club, local shops sell Lincoln Imp cheese, while the Lincoln Imp pub is another popular tourist attraction. The menu here offers many items of delicious local produce, including Lincolnshire sausages, onions, peas, and, of course – potatoes!

The Wow Factor

Speaker: Rachel Roberts (Standard British accent)

Lincoln Cathedral was built in the 11th Century and it is said that it was once the tallest building in the world. In the 21st Century it has been used as a film location, first for The Da Vinci Code and, more recently, for The Young Victoria. John Campbell, whose official title at the Cathedral is “The Dean’s Verger,” met with Speak Up. He explained how the Cathedral’s impressive architecture still creates what he calls “the wow factor”:

John Campbell (Standard English/north-eastern accent):

There was a prize, a worldwide prize of The Da Vinci Code, and a hundred people won a prize from all over the world to visit all of the sights of the film of The Da Vinci Code. They went to The Louvre, they went to Burghley House, they went to Westminster Abbey. And one of the trails was to pay a visit to Lincoln Cathedral. So we decided, when we got them here – and don’t forget, they’d come from India, Africa, Japan, South America, Switzerland, Iceland – and there was a hundred people, cosmopolitan, and we thought we’d get them off the coaches, we had a little bit of a dais built at the west end of the Cathedral and we’d put them all on this dais and take their photograph collectively before they went into the Cathedral. So they were stood with their backs to the west doors. And then they all had to turn and walk into the Cathedral. The great west doors opened, as these hundred unsuspected (sic) visitors turned round and, to a man and woman, the whole hundred just went “Wow!” And that, you know, I’d heard the odd person come in singularly and say “Wow!” But for a hundred people to turn and they were dumbstruck and they just stood at the west doors, and it took a little bit of getting them in because they didn’t want to move, they wanted just to soak the atmosphere up. And that was sort of an endorsement of the “Lincoln wow factor.”

For further information, visit: www.lincolnshire.gov

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Lincoln Wolds - le brughiere di Lincoln.

settlement - insediamento.

courthouse - tribunale.

beacon to pilgrims - faro per i pellegrini.

new sources of income - fonti di reddito insolite.

imp - diavoletto.

council letterheads - lettere intestate ufficiali.

door knockers - batacchi dei portoni.

produce - prodotti alimentari freschi.



“The Dean’s Verger” - mazziere del diacono.

a worldwide prize - un concorso (a premi) mondiale.

trails - itinerari.

we thought we’d get them off the coaches - abbiamo deciso di farli scendere dagli autobus.

we had a little bit of a dais built - abbiamo fatto costruire un piccolo palco.

to a man and woman - tutti quanti.

I’d heard the odd person come in... - avevo già sentito qualcuno da solo entrare...

they were dumbstruck - erano senza parole.

it took a little bit of getting them in - c’è voluto un po’ di tempo per farli entrare.

to soak the atmosphere up - assorbire l’atmosfera.

an endorsement - una promozione.