The village of Steriglio introduce
itself as you enter the municipal territory with a sign defining
it: "village of hygiene and cleanness", even
if the charming introduction is completed by the sentence: "Are
you sure you're really worthy to get in?".
Actually many visitors complained for the intrusiveness of the Local Police in checking nails, teeth, shirt collars and breath of the passers-by, but the measure is deemed as necessary to assure the microbiological purity of the country.
The visitors should better adapt themselves to the Sterigliese lifestyle, in order to avoid unpleasant consequences: in particular it's advisable to remind that in Steriglio every litter must be washed and sterilized before being thrown away, in order to avoid heavy penalties. Moreover smoking is forbidden to everyone, except to the persons submitted to the sterilizing burning, applied to those being suspected to be bearers of pathogen germs.
In Steriglio few typical products can be purchased, even if each of them is really original: the most characteristic are the marzipan little animal, which in reality are made of antibiotics in paste and vacuum packed in sterile bags. Are also typical the hospital tyle bearing witty puns like: "Did you wash your hands?" or even: "Put your hand before your mouth when you sneeze!".
What to see
On the main square of the village, called after Louis Pasteur, stands out the monument to the fighters against the enemies of hygiene, with the touching epigraph "against the dirtiest dirt". On the same square lies the Mr. Clean native home, destination of pilgrimages.
The Steriglio Cathedral is entitled to Saint Hypochlorita, founder of the religious Order of Sacred Bleaching Immacolate nuns; the precious fifteenth century frescoes decorating the walls are unfortunately almost unreadable, due to the repeated cleanings with abrasive detergents, while the wide Flemish tapestries decorating the apse are today reduced to the size of handkerchiefs, due to the weekly wash at 90 centigrade degrees.
The visit of the church anyway is not easy since, for hygienic reasons, at the masses the attendance of not more than one person at a time is allowed, and that's why they are celebrated for 24 hours a day.
The patronal festivity of July 22nd commemorates the avoided danger of 1630 when, in order to escape the Black Plague, the whole village was put on fire, and in the burning all the villagers died, so nobody was reached by the illness. The mass of thanks to the Virgin of Charcoal ends with the symbolic burning of all benches and confessionals of the church, that traditionally involves also the more aged faithfuls, the less quick to clear out the temple.
Carnival is another traditional festivity of the village, when all the villagers disguise themselves, wearing anticontagion masks (but all of different colours) and latex gloves and surgeon's white coats. The animation of the festivity is trusted to the thrown of bags full of chlorine bleach and, instead of the usual confettis, of coloured capsule of antibiotics.
In Steriglio the following foods are not consumed: beef for fear of Mad Cow, sheepmeat for fear of Scrapie, poultry for fear of Avian Influenza, tunny for fear of quicksilver, herrings for fear of Anisakis, dairy products for fear of Brucellosis, fruit and vegetables for fear of pesticides, corn for fear of mycotoxins, farinaceous foods for fear of the ergot, grapes for fear of mildew, bananas because they come from Africa (and you never can tell).
The only typical dish, anyway very healthy, of Sterigliese gastronomy are the Lysoform spaghetti: the pasta is cooked in autoclave per 30 minutes, and not everyone finds it of his own pleasure.
In the restaurant's kitchen the chefs wear surgeon's white coats and masks and are helped by assistants handing them the kitchen utensils, but they are anyway periodically brought down in order to reduce the risk of food contamination.
The favourite entertainment of the Sterigliese people is to submit themselves to specialist's medical examinations, clinical analysis and diagnostic procedures like Computed tomography, Nuclear magnetic resonance or X-rays. In spite of the great number of analysis laboratories, the intense flux of patients impose long waits, not leaving then enough time to the villagers for further occupations.
Before entering the Steriglio territory everybody must submit himself to a cycle of vaccinations against 34 different infectious diseases, and it's necessary to make sure to be in good health, since even a simple sneeze leads to a precautionary deportation in a decontamination center to be submitted to a sterilizing treatment with Gamma-rays.
How to get there
The "Neat & Clean" bus lines carry out the line service to Steriglio. It can be admitted on board under submission of a medical certificate and after a short visit by a infectiologist doctor. During the trip special sprinklers spray on the passengers a pesticides' mist.
The Sterigliese Tourist Office doesn't allow a direct contact with the public, in order to avoid infections; the letters are boiled 24 hours before being handled, and then they usually become unreadable; the e-mails, in order to avoid the risk of informatic viruses transmission, are cancelled before being opened; the phone calls are allowed, even if some operators, deeming them as a possible vehicle of infections, use to answer just holding the receiver with tongs with a 1 meter extension, and then often the conversation cannot be understood.