Mezzogiorno: Life. Death. Southern Italy.
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A work of fact, fiction, fable and folklore spanning three generations of southern Italian family life. "Europe ends at Naples and ends badly. Calabria, Sicily and all the rest belong to Africa." - Creuzé de Lesser, 1806 No geographical map distinguishes Montefalcione as being different from any number of isolated mountain villages in southern Italy. It has ancient customs and its own saints and feast days, like other villages. Yet Montefalcione in Campania is the setting for a unique meditation on family and the Italian Diaspora, reconstructing three generations of village life through myth, superstition, and the anecdotal history of the author's own family. The drama unfolds amidst a landscape of peasant riots, vicious landlords, religious festival, feuds, the collapse of the Fascist party, and the tarantella - a world lost to the changing face of the twenty-first century.
were another blight upon the land during the crumbling Western Roman Empire, another barbarous invader decimating whatever empire the previous barbarian horde had built. To defend their new domain, the Lombards built a castle on the top of the mountain. As their domain extended to a large duchy and the pagan ’long beards’ adopted Christianity, the castle on the mountain was soon joined by a church devoted to Santa Maria Assunta in Heaven, and the village comprising the people once scattered all
tomatoes to one old neighbour and not another. Giovanni takes a knife and waves it in front of his hat, tumbling about with Martignetti his host at his throat, throwing a drunken fist here and there and scaring the children. Some newlyweds go on a honeymoon. Some of them go to wherever they live, such as Martignetti’s son and his new bride, who are serenaded on their wedding night by friends jumping around in the dark outside the window. “You won’t get much sleep,” they laugh. In the morning
which is generally the prelude to one of his long speeches. “A teacher who isn’t from here,” he begins. Cataldi is still calling for calm so the mayor begins again: “A teacher has told me she will introduce every child in Italy to school and university in September.” Scorolli, expecting the worse, barks in a flat rage. “This is what she said and I believe her!” Tignanelli retorts, which leaves an incensed Scorolli no choice but to bounce off down the street and out of sight. “The village may
Atripalda. “The fruit is in the way of Sant’Antonio! “determines one old woman, an opinion upheld by Camillo on his return from the bar. The Ape refuses to budge and Camillo refuses to stop swearing at it. This is how it stands until the padre trills a blessing and everything stands apart. Soon enough Sant’Antonio is on his way, on Camillo’s cart, accompanied by music playing through a speaker, which ebbs and flows on the mountain. When it stops it starts again. QUIRINO PUTS HIMSELF at the
Development in a Southern Italian Community (University of Denmark: Denmark, 1985). Pagliuca, Fulvio, and Cucciniello, Nicola, Storia di Montefalcione (ovvero Antologia di Storia e Cronaca quotidiana) (Edizioni R.O.M.A: Avellino, 1990). Procaccini, Generosa, Pompeii Prohibited: Sacred, augural and customary eroticism in the ancient city buried by Vesuvio (Edizioni Procaccini: Naples, year unknown). Urso, Paolo Maria, Guida Pirotecnica: In giro per l’Italia tra fuochi e spettacoli pirotecnici