L'Italo-Americano

italoamericano-digital-9-22-2022

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2022 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 F r o m P u l c i n e l l a t o the miracle of San G e n n a r o , f r o m the Smorfia – used to interpret dreams – to the lucky red cornetto. But we could also say from pizza Margherita to Mount Vesuvio or, in the kitchen, from coffee to sfogliatella, from hot mac- c h e r o n i t o b a b à . S o m e e l e - m e n t s a r e s o i n h e r e n t t o a place that you can't even imag- ine it without them: it'd be like taking a picture of a person leaving out their body. It's not a simple matter of material things that are part of the land- scape or of daily living. They are integrant and essential, they are the pieces needed to make up the whole jigsaw. Belonging to a place means you absorbed its spirit, traditions, customs and habits. Making its culture and language yours means that you truly live a place, that you understand it and know how to convey its meaning. Naples always had a very deep relationship with her roots, with that colorful and varied patrimony the city inherited from its history, a history that, through the centuries, cohab- ited with many different cultures. If we want to understand A beautiful novel about local identity: Naples and its traditions From the Editor Naples and especially Neapolitans or, more simply, if we want to enjoy her from the right perspective, without judging her extravagance following the rules and parameters we are used to, then we need to make a little effort. We must avoid reducing her to a caricature, or to a handful of stereotypes, and capture her complexity, her cultural layering, her sedi- mented language. While they have always been open and creative, Neapolitans are famously proud and identitarian, and they have a pro- found respect for their genetic heritage, for the teaching their past gave them, even for the legends and superstitions that contributed to create the city's multifaceted soul and distinctive identity. Indeed, it's not uncommon to find out that some of these traditions are still alive today in modern Naples, a city that, despite her incredibly chaotic and hectic life, always gets the time to find herself and her unmistak- able spirit. Something all the more incredible and important in a time when globalization seems to erase all local peculiar- ities. But not those of Naples. But how important are traditions? How much do they affect our way of being and thinking? A lot, if it's true that, often, they even manage to transcend the natural boundaries of the city. Naples offers many examples. a A legend says that, after the Vesuvius eruption of 1858, the inhabitants of the villages at the feet of the volcano began hearing, at night, the agonizing screams of a woman. Despite several expeditions across the surrounding lands, they couldn't find anyone nor solve the mystery. Frightened by such an inexplicable event, locals asked advice to a legendary sorceress who lived nearby, "a Vecchia 'e Mattavona." She solved the problem by casting several spells that rid villagers of the paranormal phenomenon. American cartoonist Carl Barks was inspired by this mythical Neapolitan figure when, in 1961, when he created the popular Disney character of Magica De Spell. Another example comes from the small island of Gaiola, today home to a sea park loved by Neapolitans and tourists alike: 42 hectares from Marechiano to Trentaremi, off the coast of Posillipo. There, in an ancient villa, you'll find terri- fying ghosts. According to the legend, the villa is home to the faceless ghost of a woman, who'd appear when the sea is stormy: fishermen say it's the ghost of a woman who died in a shipwreck back in 1911. Since then, the villa and its resi- dents have been cursed and plagued by accidents, violent death, bankruptcy and misfortune. Curiously, the building was once owned by famous figures of the 20th century like Paul Getty, themselves charmed by its history. Some say, moreover, that in the very same place, back in the first cen- tury BC, wealthy Roman Publius Vedius Pollio had a beauti- ful home he used to call "the place where all sorrows end." Legends say he used to breed moray eels and that he would feed them with his slaves. Another story recounts how an English nobleman who lived in villa decided to abandon his wife: after a violent fight, she left the island but never reached the mainland. Some time later, he fell victim to the same fate and so did their cat. It's for all these reasons that whoever lives in the Villa degli Spiriti is plagued by pain, misfortune and … followed by the shadow of the cat. Some superstitions, popular beliefs and legends, but also customs, habits and events penetrate communities so deeply to become an essential part of them, so much so they can no longer be set apart. Actually, do away with them, remove them from the narrative, would be just like skipping several chapters of a beautiful novel. Simone Schiavinato, Editor Simone Schiavinato NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 Member of FUSIE (Federazione Unitaria Stampa Italianaall'Estero), COGITO L'Italo-Americano 610 West Foothill Blvd. Unit D, Monrovia, CA 91016 - Tel.: (626) 359-7715 PLEASE SEND CORRESPONDENCE TO P.O. BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano Newspaper (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization), www.italoamericano.org, is the largest and longest-running Italian newspaper in America, not to mention the cultural and news resource for all things Italian in the US. A bilingual newspaper which repre- sents an historical landmark for the Italian American Communities in the West Coast and throughout the US. L'Italo-Americano benefits from subsidies by the Italian Government, Memberships and Donations intended to support and not interrupt a mission that began in 1908 to preserve and promote the Italian language and culture in the USA Periodicals postage paid at Monrovia, California 91016, and additional mailing offices. PUBLISHER Robert Barbera Grande Ufficiale EDITOR IN CHIEF Simone Schiavinato ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Patrick Abbate EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Barbara Minafra COPY EDITOR Francesca Bezzone LOS ANGELES CONTRIBUTOR Silvia Giudici SAN FRANCISCO CONTRIBUTORS Catherine Accardi Serena Perfetto SEATTLE CONTRIBUTOR Rita Cipalla CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mariella Radaelli, Francesca Bezzone, Luca Ferrari, Stefano Carnevali, Paula Reynolds, Nicoletta Curradi, Generoso D'Agnese, Fabrizio Del Bimbo, Maria Gloria, Alfonso Guerriero Jr., Anthony Di Renzo Serena Perfetto, Kenneth Scambray, Chiara D'Alessio © 2020 L'Italo-Americano Membership: One year $59 - Single copy $2.25 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to L'Italo Americano PO Box 6528 Altadena, CA 91003 P.O.BOX 6528, ALTADENA, CA 91003

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