legend

All posts tagged legend

NAPLES ANCIENT BUILDINGS

Published January 13, 2014 by Tony

– MYSTERY AND DECAY OF PALACE PENNE –

Penne's palace

Palazzo Penne is a Renaissance building in Naples, built by Antonio Penne, located in the Piazzetta Teodoro Monticelli, in that narrow blind alley that leads to the long and narrow “Scalea del Pennino” in the Sedile “Porto”.
Antonio Penne, so named because coming from the town of Penne in Abruzzo, belonged to a wealthy bourgeois family, and in 1391 he became secretary and special adviser to the king Ladislaus of Anjou (Naples 1374-1414), son of Margherita of Durres, nephew of the Queen Joanna I. His prestige at court became so high till to obtain permission to erect his own memorial in Santa Clara’s church, exclusive place for Angevin nobility, where today, in a chapel we can still admire his tomb.
Once this property was famous for a legend that hovered over, while in the last centuries a total negligence led it to ruin.

Penne's tomb

HISTORY

Palazzo Penne was built in 1406 and the area where it is located is called “Pennino” (meaning slope), because it was a small hill where the road surface was about 5 meters lower than now, a place that at the time was considered healthy, and safe against flooding landslides.
The year of manufacture can be inferred from the inscription on a plaque above the arch at the entrance of the building: “XX anno regni regis Ladislai sunt domus haec facte nullo sint turbine fracie mille fluunt magni bistres centum quater anni.” The inscription arranges a single block with the Anjou-Durres’ coat of arms. The concession of the sovereign to embellish the building with weapons and symbols of the royal family, as well as the approval of Penne’s blazon, signified the eternal protection to the family Penne.

The facade  is made with ashlar rusticated “piperno” alternated with “soft stone of the mountain”, referred to as “piperino tuff”, which is actually trachyte: a compact yellowish rock. The pediment is formed by arches called “flaming Gothic” with the crown of King Ladislaus in the first order, and below the Cross of Jerusalem, Majorca’s coat of arms (poles), and the stripes of Durres’ lineage. In the ashlar frame you see the “feathers”, symbol of the house in three rows, topped by Angevin lilies in seven rows, in honor of King Ladidslao. In the middle of the arch, a composition represents the religious and superstitious spirit of Antonio Penne: the stylized clouds from which come out some beams (the divine light) with two hands holding a tape containing two engraved lines of Martial (against evil eye) “Avi Ducis Vultu Sinec Auspicis Isca Libenter Omnibus Invideas Tibi Nemo” (you, who do not turn your face and do not look at this building willingly or envious, envy everyone well, no one envies you). The door is oak, although altered over the centuries, is one example of craftsmanship with steel spikes, iron studs called “Peroni”, consisting of the original arches of the Gothic period.
The inner courtyard is decorated with a beautiful five-arched portico with a lovely garden still partly preserved. Originally, in the courtyard there were sixteen stables, while the beautiful porch was adorned with statues of the Roman period, all remodeled in 1740 and then covered up by the construction of the janitor’s home, as well as the “Majestic Arch” which remains only a track in the wall. In the apartment on the first floor there were two rooms, one looking out on the porch and another on a courtyard that led into the park, all with frescoed ceiling. In the courtyard there was a spiral staircase that led to the basement that were below the level of the building. A scale of piperno led to the second floor, where there was a large terrace with a balustrade still made with piperno.

After Antonio Penne’s death, the building passed to his nephew Onofrio, as long as the last heirs sold it to the family Rocco or Rocca, and finally in 1558, to Aloisia Scannapieco Capuano who in turn gave it to her son Giovanni Geronimo, married with Lucretia de Sangro.
In 1685 the house was purchased by the Order of the Somascan Fathers, the nearby church of Saints Demetrius and Bonifacio. The fathers Somascan modified it according to their needs and transforming it in novitiaten and cells for the Fathers. The transformations occupied nearly a century, new houses were built in the garden area, while part of the cellars, adjacent to the Church of Santa Barbara, were transformed into shops and other flats. The final annihilation of the ancient structure happened with the destruction of the top floor’s roof. With the arrival of the French, in the first decade of the nineteenth century, and with the abolition of religious orders in 1806, the building was put up for sale and became the property of the abbot Teodoro Monticelli, noble barons of Cerreto, a volcanologist.
After his death in 1845, the assets were sold to the University of Naples, while the watchman Saverio Monticelli remained, the grandson of Theodore. In memory of Monticelli was a plaque on the first floor of the building, commissioned by the Civic Administration in 1909. In 2002, the Region of Campania bought the building for 10 billion lire, held by a private possession who had transformed the building into a “bed and breakfast” . The palace was then transferred on loan to “University Orientale” in 2004. The project involved the construction of laboratories, rooms for seminars or conferences, and services for students. Work on the renovation of the building that never initiated by the presence of squatters in the building. In 2007, the intellectuals Alda Croce e Marta Herling, daughter and granddaughter of the philosopher Benedetto Croce, obtained the suspension of the squatters works inside the building for the construction of some housing units by the occupants (who resumed work despite the ban). To no avail the appeals of the President of the Republic and UNESCO for the start of restoration work. On 20 May 2008 the investigations requested by UNESCO through the Italian judiciary, were concluded, and among the defendants the governor Antonio Bassolino and the then dean Pasquale Ciriello, for the non-restorative intervention against an artifact of historical and artistic interest. In November 2009, the Prosecutor has requested the dismissal of the process, giving the opportunity to the Public Prosecutor to appeal to the prosecution, if the case. In 2013, all the defendants in the trial, for damage to property of historical interest, were acquitted by the Tribunal of Naples because the crime does not exist. The agreement between the Region and the last two individuals, illegally occupying the building and to which it has been procured an alternative residence, has allowed to finally put the entire building under the supervision of the Region and the University Orientale, which must agree to the restorative intervention and the intended use. In November 2008, work  for the safety of the building has begun, to prevent further deterioration, as a new abusive attack, nipped in the bud by the Superintendent and the City of Naples, took place in the early months of 2009 when an adjoining hotel was taking possession of the garden.
For now, the only certainty is the decay and neglect that still prevail in the building.

THE LEGEND
”Beelzebub’s building”

As soon as the noble Antonio Penne come to Naples with the French entourage, he fell in love with a beautiful Neapolitan young girl.
Having too many offers of marriage and the next day to give an answer to other suitors, the damsel replied that she maybe would agree only if the Penne had built, for the next morning, a building equal to her beauty, as a pledge of love and wedding gift. Sure that he had not been able to fulfill such an absurd request because, alas, she already had chosen the man to marry.
Aware that he could not cope with such an impossible request, it is said that to just to have a change, the nobleman asked for help to the devil, Beelzebub, who accepted in exchange for Penne’s soul. Antonio accepted by signing with his own blood, but reserving the right to insert an irrelevant clause that he would reveal in the end.

At midnight the evil forces began their work, and at dawn and the building was ready. At this point Beelzebub asked him about the last clause and Antonio explained it: he would have sprinkled many grains of wheat in the courtyard, and the devil would have to pick up and count them all, and if he had missed even one of them, the agreement was no longer valid. Said than done, when the devil counted the grains their number wasn’t exact, because Antonio  deliberately had mixed them with pitch, and inevitably some of them stuck under Beelzebub’s nails. This one protested demanding for his soul, but Antonio made the sign of the cross obliging the devil to sink in the courtyard, where today it is said that there is a well.

 

Greek Myths Sexuality

Published February 23, 2013 by Tony

Greek Myths Sexuality
Erotic fancy Scenario III

 Statue d'Apollon, Musée archéologique de Naples, Italie

Apollo, Zephyrus and Hyacinth

The god Apollo was the illegitimate son of Zeus and Leto (Latona), twin brother of Artemis.
When Zeus’ wife Hera discovered that Leto was pregnant and that Zeus was the father, she banned Leto from giving birth on “terra firma”. In her wanderings, Leto found the newly created floating island of Delos, which was neither mainland nor a real island. Here, she gave birth there, without infringing the provisions of the queen of Olympus, and was accepted by the people, offering them her promise that her son would be always favorable toward the city. Afterwards, Zeus secured Delos to the bottom of the ocean. This island later became sacred to Apollo.
Apollo, deity of ancient Greece, was the god of all the arts, medicine, music and prophecy, and its main symbol was the Sun. In Greek culture he was characterized by ineffability, by an androgynous figure and by a look of a hunter, wolf chaser (hence Apaliunas Lyceus).

Hyacinth, statue by François Joseph Bosio, Louvre
Apollo is usually depicted crowned with laurel, plant a symbol of victory, under which some legends says that this god was born. His typical attributes were the bow and the lyre. Animals sacred to him were swans (symbol of beauty), and the rooster as a symbol of homosexual love, since he fell in love with several men. Apollo had many epithets, designed to reflect the different roles, powers and aspects of his personality, like that of Phoebus, meaning “bright” or “shining” referring to its great beauty, of which he was proud, or its link with the sun. His bisexual nature, found in many other Greek mythological figures, led him to have numerous love affairs, with  women (Daphne, Cassandra, Marpessa, Melissa), and with men (Hyacinth, Zephyr, Licoreo, Asclepius, Admetus, Hymenaios).
Following what it is said about the relationship between Apollo and Hyacinth, also described by Homer,
here’s a personal  

erotic fancy scenario

(suitable for adults)

Apollo and Hyacinthus, 16th-century Italian engraving by Jacopo Caraglio

Apollo was madly in love with Hyacinth and just to be with him, he omitted all its major activities. They both spent hours in the woods where, in the stillness and to the shade of trees, were used to entertain and amuse themselves. Apollo loved to caress and kiss tenderly the companion, who felt attracted by The Sleep of Endymion by Anne-Louis Girodet (1818), Musée du Louvre, Paris.Apollo. However, the ambivalent character of Apollo led him to become often rude and quite violent, thing which did not like to the delicate and younger Hyacinth. Hugging each other, Hyacinth also liked caress and touch the more mature body of his boyfriend. A love really tender and intense. When the passion of Apollo was lit, he could not restrain himself and immediately asked the boy to suck his cock that in the meantime had become big and hard. While lying on the grass, his hands held Hyacinth’s head, driving its movements, but pushing to make sure that the boy’s mouth swallowed all the way down his cock, Apollon Embraces Hyacinthosbothering Hyacinth who felt to choke. Young and strong as he was, Phoebus was not satisfied by a simple suck and after having ejaculate for the first time, then asked the boy to squat onto his phallus, and holding with the hands his hips, brought him to come down until his cock was fully housed in the boy’s bowels. After a few moments of pain, Hyacinth enjoyed the penetration and gladly began to ride on the crotch of his tutor. After a while, the fatigue was not slow in coming, and to go ahead Apollo turned on his side, bringing the boy’s body, clinging to his, to lay on the ground, one behind the other. Through a slow and steady “to and fro” Apollo went on to fuck, savoring every inch of those tender Giulio_Romano_-_Apollo_Cyparissusinnards. Having nothing else to do and being so pleasant, they could remain for a long time to enjoy that carnal union. Only towards the end, when the second ejaculation was coming, Apollo gain the upper, and sprawling onto Hyacinth, completed the sexual act by violent and strong thrusts that forced the boy to sink his hands into the soil to keep himself firm on the ground.
They loved each other so, through a deep and passionate relationship, while time passed among games, jokes and sex.
One day Zephyr had to pass from there, and seeing Hyacinth alone playing in the woods, glided like a puff of air on the ground and began to speak with the guy. Although younger than him, Zephyr had fewer years than Apollo and it was love at first sight.

Louis_De_Boulogne_-_Zephyr_Crowning_FloraNot a day passed that Zephyr not return there to spend time with the boy and since a caress leads to another, it happened that the two had sex. Zephyr’s love was more platonic and sensual than Apollo, thing which appealed more Hyacinth, who preferred  sweetness more than spirited passion. When the boy saw that the story could not continue, tried to talk to Zephyr, but he was now too much in love to give up and maybe it was even the same Hyacinth to felt Apollo e Giacinto, dipinto a olio di Méry-Joseph Blondelsweetness towards Zephyr.
It was to be expected, and one day Apollo saw the two together and threw violently against Zephyr threatening and forbidding him to meet Hyacinth again and to never return in that place.
Zephyr could do nothing but retreat in good order but, blinded by jealousy swore to himself that he would avenged. Time passed and one day, while Apollo was playing at the discus-throw together Hyacinth, Zephyr was watching them from a distance, and decided to act quietly without being seen. Jealousy had clouded his mind and repeating “nothing for me nothing for nobody” blew on the discus that the two lovers had launched into the sky, forcing it to turn and come back at high speed, hitting mortally the head of the poor Hyacinth. Apollo barely managed to grab the boy’s body, while helplessly witnessed his death.
The_Death_of_HyacinthosBoth slumped to the ground, with Hyacinth lifeless in his arms, while Apollo were weeping and despairing.  Apollo tried to save the young man striving every known medical art, but nothing to do against the fate. Not being able to do anything else, then he decided to turn his beloved friend in a flower with an intense purple color, like the color of the blood spilled on the ground and on which even his tears were falling. Then, before going back to Heaven, leaning over the flower just created, Apollo with his tears drew on the petals the letters άί (ai which in Greek is an exclamation of pain), as a sign of undying grief felt for so much misfortune, which had deprived him of love of his young friend.
Flower that still bears the name of hyacinth.

.

Hyacinthus_'Red_Magic'

 

 

Blackbird day

Published January 30, 2013 by Tony

DAYS OF THE BLACKBIRD
January, 29, 30, 31

In northern Italy, the last days of January (29,30,31) are called “giorni della merla” [days of the (female) blackbird], because are generally the coldest days of the year. This appellative comes from a legend according to which the blackbirds were once birds with white feathers and during the winter, as usual, quite difficult for them to find food. Once, just during the last days of January, the cold increased so much that a family of blackbirds had to find shelter in a chimney. When they came out, their plumage had become completely black and it is said that from that day most blackbirds had a black plumage (in fact, white blackbirds are quite rare).
Farmers also say that on January 29, 30 and 31 if the weather will be very cold, the spring then will come sooner and will be sweet. Conversely, if these days will be less cold, the coming spring will be delayed.

A NEAPOLITAN SPIRIT

Published November 2, 2012 by Tony

O’ MUNACIELLO

Not all Neapolitans know the history of “Munaciello”, especially young people, so I guess that very few of you, living in other countries,  will know it. “O ‘Munaciello” and everything that has to do with supernatural and death are part of the culture and folklore of Naples, especially in the past, when there were many legends around spirits or strange presences.
The Neapolitan “munaciello”,  that means “little monk” is just a little spirit, perhaps the most legendary of Naples, which is usually represented as a deformed child or a person of a very small stature, wearing a robe, with silver buckles on the shoes. Depending on the circumstances, it may manifest either as good spirit or as a demon, in fact, a Neapolitan proverb says,
« ‘o munaciello: a chi arricchisce e a chi appezzentisce »
which translated means,
“the munaciello either enrich (you) or send (you) in misery”
To let you know his history I will take a cue from a tale told in one of his writings by journalist and writer Matilde Serao.


During the reign of Alfonso of Aragon, after a long war in 1442 that reduced the kingdom of Naples to the extreme, the situation gradually improved, and between 1503 and 1707 many works and renovations were carried out, including sewers, roads, the Arc de Triomphe, the Spanish Quarter, via Toledo, the Riviera di Chiaia, etc..
At that time, in the area of the merchants, love had blossomed between the girl Catarinella Frezza, daughter of a merchant of cloth, and the noble guy Stefano Mariconda. Their love and their fidelity was great, but the disparity in birth forbade them the marriage as the union was not well seen by their parents. In spite of so much pain and bitterness, there were moments of happiness for the two lovers, who used to meet in secret. To get to her, Stefano at night, not without danger, jumped up to the roof, from terrace to terrace, till to reach the balcony where the beautiful beloved was waiting him. But one night two treacherous hands grabbed Stefano and threw him down from the balcony, while the poor Catarinella, crying, tried to ward off the killers. Stefano fell in the fetid street below, horribly mangled, until his parents later gave him an honorable burial. The girl, crazy with grief, ran away from home and was admitted to a convent of nuns. She was pregnant, and prematurely gave birth to a little child, tiny pale and with dismayed eyes. Over time, the child was not growing normally and nuns counseled her to take a vow to the Madonna, Catherine did it and dressed up the baby with a little black and white coat that made him look like a small monk. Even when he was a great age, he was short in stature, a dwarf in fact, and went on to wear that kind of robe, and that’s why people called him “the munaciello.” Small body, large head and almost monstrous, the nuns loved him but people in the street and shopkeepers always pointed at him frightened,   reviled at him, as people often do against the weak and defenseless persons. When he passed near the Frezza’s shop, just his uncles and cousins, they threw the most horrible curses. He only found peace and consolation in the mother’s arms. Gradually, in the poor neighborhoods where he was toddling, spread the rumor that the munaciello had something magical, supernatural. From that moment, when people met him, made the sign of the cross and murmured words of incantation. It was said that when he wore the red cap, it was a good omen, but when it was black, a bad omen then. Since he wore the red cap rarely, “the munaciello” was often blasphemed and cursed.
It was said that it was he who carried the foul air in the slums, carrying the fever, rotting water and carrying the bad luck. The mud that people threw at him, soiled the little robes, while the fruit peels hurt his face He fled without speaking, bringing the torment in not being able to react. Now that Catarinella Frezza was dead no one could comfort him. The nuns let him do small services and work in the garden but they also scared to see him suddenly in the dark, as a devilish appearance does. The saying that he had a dark face, that had never been to church, and that people could meet him in different places at the same time, corroborated this. Then, one night he disappeared and did not fail those who said, it has been the devil to carry him off by the hair. But someone suspected the  Frezza family to have strangled and thrown him into a sewer, as well as some small bones with a large skull, found in the cloaca, left suppose.

This here is the story, but nothing ended with his death because it is just here that the legend of munaciello begins.
Here, the poor and unimaginative middle class, living in the fetid narrow and dark streets, in the Neapolitans “basso”‚ without dawn, without end, without water, without poetry and without imagination, had their own sprite. It is not the elf who sings on the banks of the river, nor the gnome dancing on the grass of the meadows, or the one who lives in the new  aristocrats districts, but the evil elf of the old houses of Naples. The zones airy, beautiful, bright and neat does not belong him, just as they are, instead, the streets of Toledo, the gloomy streets of the Tribunali or the dark quarters of the Vicaria, Foria and Pendino. There, where he lived and where he wandered with his robe, with a large head, pale face and large eyes, then it is there that he reappears as a ghost scaring women, children and men. There, where people have let him suffer, unknown soul but  perhaps great in a shrunken weak and sickly body, that’s where he comes back, mischievous and evil spirit in an insatiable desire for revenge.  The “munaciello” is capable of all, when the housewife finds the door’s pantry open, the bladder of lard smashed or the vase with oil on his back, with no doubt it has been him to do it. And it’s always him who let fall the tray with the glasses in the hand of the careless servant, that brings wine to become sour, that kills the hens or dry the basil plants. If the sale in the shop goes wrong, if an established marriage fails or if a rich uncle dies and leaves everything to the parish, for people all this happen because of this little  demon who prepared these large or small misfortunes. It is always “the munaciello” that mess-up house and furniture, that troubles hearts, disarranges minds and frighten. And it is this spirit tormented and tormentor that brings turmoil with his black coat. But when the munaciello wore the red habit, his coming is a good omen. It just for this strange mixture of good and evil, malice and goodness that “munaciello” was respected, feared and loved.
That was why girls in love put themselves under his protection or because old maids were invoking him, from the balcony at midnight for nine days, so that he could procure them a husband.
For this, the player of lottery repeated three times the spells for having the numbers winning, or children to pray to him to have the wished sweets and toys. The house where the munaciello appears is regarded with distrust but not without satisfaction, the person who has seen him is looked upon with compassion, but not without envy. He appears more to girls and children but those who have seen him, keep it as a precious secret that, perhaps bringer of luck. The ghost of this story, which is a soul that has been crying and that makes we cry, that smiled and makes we smile, is a child that men have tortured and killed as a man, but also an elf who torments men as a naughty child but caress and console them as a child naive and innocent.

.

Cult of the Dead in Naples’ culture

Published October 19, 2012 by Tony

Cemetery of Fontanelle

Fontanelle Cemetery entrance

One of the most populated and rich in history and tradition neighborhoods in Naples is the one called “Rione Sanità“. The area in which this district develops is situated between two big valleys, “Valley of the Gerolamini” and “Valley of the Vergini“, areas rich in tufa, as is most Neapolitan’s subsoil, a time exploited to find the tuff needed to build the houses. For this reason, the subsoil of Naples seems a huge gruyere, with hundreds of grottoes and long tunnels.
One of these abandoned quarries in the valley of the Vergini, was used for the burial of those who could not afford a more decent burying and later as a huge mass grave for all the victims caused by various epidemic that hit the city, such as plague of 1656 or the cholera epidemic of 1836. To these mortal remains later were joined also all the bones of the dead who until that moment were in the catacombs of the churches, as a result of the edict of Saint Cloud, a Napoleonic decree of 1804, according which the dead could no longer be buried in churches and in urban areas.
Because of the inadequacy of the sewer system and the steep slope of the site, a strong deluge led the caves to flood, and the consequent dragging of all the bones that inevitably invaded the streets. Thus, at that time all the bones were brought back in the caves and also was built a barrage wall, while the construction of an altar led the site to become the official ossuary of the city, called the “Fontanelle cemetery”. Currently, the ancient ossuary runs for about 3,000 square meters, and the cavity is estimated at about 30,000 cubic meters.
Interestingly, the local place names of “Fontanelle” (small fountains) and “Sanità” (health) are derived, the first by the presence of abundant water sources in this part of the city, especially during periods of drought, while the second name is due to the many miracles obtained on the graves of saints buried, but also for the healthy place.
It is said that at the end of 1800 a monk counted about 8 million corpses but, although today they have been estimated to be about 40,000, under the caves is assumed that are present four meters of human bones compressed in the subsoil.
Between 1872 and 1877, thanks to the pastor of the “Sanità district”, the first cave with the altar became a church opened to the public.
Although the cult of the dead has always been felt by Neapolitan people, from that moment began a spontaneous and strong popular devotion towards those anonymous dead, in which faithful identify the souls in purgatory in need of care and attention, (in Naples nicknamed “anime pezzentelle“, ie miserable souls).
Each person “adopted” a skull, placing it in containers, showcases of wood or marble, then assigning or identifying the skull by a name, a role, or a story that the believer had got in a dream. Often the Neapolitan, mostly women, went to the place and adopted a particular skull that the soul had indicated her in the dream, and from that moment the soul, tied to the skull, became like a family member.

The bones were associated with unknown souls, abandoned and still wandering and for this in need of care and prayers, as a bridge between the earth and the hereafter, between the believer and the pezzentelle soul. A white handkerchief, a rosary and candles were the first things that the woman gave to the soul of the chosen skull. Then followed constant and regular visits to dedicate prayers, and only later the soul could appear her in a dream. She prayed for alleviating the suffering of the soul, creating a relation of reciprocity in exchange for a favor she wanted or to get winning numbers to play the lotto. If the graces were granted, the skulls were worshiped and honored by a worthy burying, a simple box or a kind of tabernacle, according to the possibilities of the adopter, with an embroidered pillow in place of the handkerchief, while she even invited others people to pray for him. If the demands were not fulfilled, the skull was abandoned and replaced with another, on the other hand, there was plenty of choice. If the soul was particularly generous, the skull was even put in security, closing the box with a lock, to make it as a private property. The skull was never concealed or buried, to allow to the soul to be free and appear in dream, the only means of communication between the dead person and the benefactor.

Holy souls, souls in purgatory,
I am alone and you are so many
Go next to my Lord
and tell him all my sorrows
Before that this holy day darkens
I want to be comforted by God.
Pitiful my God with Your redeemed blood
greets all the souls in Purgatory at all times,
Eternal Rest.

In 1969, in order to avoid the effects of “fetishism” and superstitions inherent in the cult of the souls of the bones piled in the cave, the Cardinal then forbade the entrance to the quarry. Only in 2002 it was reopened to the public, but only for a few days a year, and at the request of citizens, in 2010, the mayor made the site again fully accessible.

LEGENDS

For many years, the cemetery was the scene of this popular religiosity made of rites and particular practices. In a lane at the bottom of a cave is one of the most famous skulls, nicknamed the “Captain“.
'o CapitanoOn his figure, various legends waft, and mainly the one of a couple. The Engaged couple, ready to get married, once visited the Cemetery of Fontanelle, and when in front of the skeleton of the Captain, the young man, to do the blowhard in the presence of his girlfriend, said: “We should invite him to our wedding” and both burst out laughing. The day of the wedding arrived: while all the guests were eating and drinking in the tavern, a tall distinguished figure came, with a dark face, dressed all in white, looking like a sea captain, but no one knew him. He had suddenly appeared at the entrance door, and without looking round,  resolutely crossed the room going straight ahead to the newlyweds like to greet them. The husband said, “Who are you, I do not know you.” The figure replied, “Do not you know me? Ah, Fine! How, have you already forgotten?”. The young man was puzzled, but try as he might, he could not remember where he got to know that man. Then, the gentleman dressed in white, with sunken eyes and a face without expression, said, “Two months ago, at Fontanelle, I was invited by you at your wedding, remember? There was also your girlfriend. We laughed in my face, remember? “. At these words, the stranger opened a little bit his shirt to show his real body. The groom looked shocked, becoming white in face as snow, and then fell down dead as a doornail. Any guest gave aid to him while that figure disappeared by a sinister chuckle that chilled everyone’s blood. The young bride had to change the white wedding dress with a black one, and it’s told that her sad face smiled nevermore.

Another peculiar skull is the one of  “Donna Concetta” (ma’am Concetta), which is always unusually shiny. donna ConcettaLegend has it that Donna Concetta, a commoner well known in the district, longing for a pregnancy that made her a fulfilled wife, decided to go to the “Fontanelle cemetery” to ask for the grace to a soul in purgatory. After reciting various prayers in front of a skull with no name, Donna Concetta came up to it and stroked it gently asking for help. Later she actually became pregnant, and nine months later she gave birth to her long desired son,  a healthy child that filled her heart with joy. As soon as she could get to his feet, returned from the skull to thank the souls of the grace received, and there she noticed that the skull was shiny and clean, while the other skulls around there were as usually opaque and dusty. She adopted the skull and became a fervent devotee of the unknown deceased, whose soul had helped her.

Until a few decades ago, it was customary for many Neapolitans, to go at night near the cemetery gates and wait for the shadows, some souls dispatched from the skull of “Don Francesco“, a Spanish Kabbalist, to reveal the numbers to play the lotto. The same was true for a monk nicknamed “a capa e Pascale” (Pasquale’s head) able to know the winning numbers of the  lotto.

Then, the figure of Lucia, a young girl died while her marriage  preparations were in full swing, or some legends about children’s stories and in particular of “Pasqualino“, called “o’ Piccerillo“, around which were spread numerous tales imbued with tenderness and benevolence. But there are also other characters such as the “Capa Rossa”, a reddish skull that appeared to the devotees as a red-haired man, bearer of good news. Besides, “Dottore Alfonso” (Dr. Alfonso) that from neitherworld made his medical diagnosis;  the “Testa del Cieco” (head of the blind guy) that having had some candles thanked his benefactor, saying: <Grazie for light, I was blind and now I see!>;   the “Nuns”, the “Sailors “, the “Married couple”, the “Virgin”, etc..

a pile of bones  the 3 crosses 

LOVE-PADLOCKS LEGEND

Published August 18, 2012 by Tony

LOVE-LOCKS ORIGIN

We are at the beginning of 2006, when in Italy comes the fashion, for lovers, to affix a padlock to a lamppost on the Milvia Bridge in Rome. Not for nothing, the Milvian Bridge is one of the most renowned area for Roman youth nightlife, being a meeting place and entertainment venues.
Probably those who are not Italian won’t know the novel “Ho voglia di te” (I want you) by Federico Moccia, the following of the first novel titled “Tre metri sopra il cielo” (Three meters above the sky) of 2004, from which there were also produced two films, very followed by young people. It all starts here, with the scene in which Step and Gin, the young and in love characters of the  novel, walking on the Milvia Bridge, at the third streetlamp attach a padlock, then throwing the keys into the river, as a symbol of their eternal love.
For some years there has been the custom for many young lovers to put a padlock on the lamp and throw the keys into the Tiber, in imitation of the film. In July 2007, after the collapse of the lamps, due to the excessive weight given the enormous quantity of padlocks, the City of Rome has installed, adjacent to each lamp, some pillars on which have been attached appropriate chains to which people can attach their padlock. It did not take long and fashion became a craze that has plagued many Italian cities and then also other nations. The “locks of love” were hanging everywhere, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Ponte delle Grazie, the Colle della Maddalena in Turin, on the gate of the house of Romeo and Juliet in Verona, on the promenade of Via Caracciolo in Naples. But we find them also in Portugal, Russia, Hungary, Germany, Japan, Ukraine and who knows where else in the world.
lucchetti_di_ponte_milvio_romaThis practice, widespread  among teenagers especially (but not only), has always provoked the protests of those who think that the locks spoil the monuments and the architectural heritage of Italian cities.
Therefore, the lock of love by Federico Moccia also became the center of attention of the international media.
El Mundo, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, are just some of the newspapers that examined the phenomenon.
El Mundo calls it “an eyesore”, where the romance ends the trouble for local government begin; The Guardian compares the hype generated by Moccia saga with the Twilight cult status: the actor Scamarcio (Italian film’s main character) is the Italian teen idol, just as it became the vampire Edward for American teenagers. A success, said the British newspaper, which exploded in the face of criticism.
Today the spotlight is on the new French craze to hang padlocks on the bridge of the Seine. The Bridge on the River Seine, in front of Notre Dame in Paris, trying to emulate the not so enviable record of the Milvian Bridge in Rome, where abound “locks of love”. Lovers, in the par excellence romantic city, swear to love each other, which supposing to be forever, leave a padlock attached to the railings of the bridge: everyone brings a written incision with the fateful names. The new Parisian fashion fits in the wake of Rome, where in the past the locks have become a model.  For us, it just is history or a legend.

ITALIAN MYSTERIES

Published June 24, 2012 by Tony

THE SWORD IN THE STONE
MERLIN THE MAGICIAN IN ITALY?

Near the city of Siena is a place that has something “magical”.
It takes us back in time to the days of knights and of the mystery of the Holy Grail. Here is a sword stuck in a rock that recalls the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

San GalganoGalgano Guidotti was born of noble family in 1148, in a small wild and unspoiled village near the city of Siena, named Montesiepi, and like many other young knights of that time, he was proud and overbearing, and spent his youth  as libertine and thoughtless. Years later, he abandoned his frivolous world, disgusted by the atrocities committed and by what he had seen, to devote himself to a life of penance by a hermit and ascetic life.
In 1180, as a tangible sign of perpetual waiver to all forms of violence, plunged his sword into a rock outcropping above the ground, with the intention of using it as a cross to pray near, rather than as a weapon to offend. A great symbolic gesture of extreme force.
He did so on the hill where he had had his first mystical experiences and where his horse had stopped several times reverently kneeling before the apparition of the Archangel Gabriel. As a sign of faith, the rock on which many times the white horse was kneeling on, kept the lasting prints of his knees. This stone is now in Galgano’s birthplace house, in the village of Chiusdino, near Montesiepi. House where he lived Rotondauntil the time of his conversion, and inside the house, on a side of the altar dedicated to the saint, we can see the big rock.
Galgano (Gawain in English) died three years later in complete poverty, and in 1185 Pope Lucius III declared it holy. His beatification in 3 days and his sanctification in 4 years are surely a record. But somehow he was quickly forgotten as the abbey abandoned itself. Was Galgano an uncomfortable saint?

He was elected as patron of the city of Siena Galgano  skulland then replaced and downgraded to a lesser saint. In this church in Chiusdino, in a showcase, now remains only part of the skull of the saint. It is said that on the skull once grew up some blond hair, and this brought locals to elect him as the protector of bald people. In the years immediately following his death, on his hermitage was built a little church, known as the Rotonda or Montesiepi Chapel. The GPR has discovered a rectangular cavity present beneath the floor of the Rotunda. What will be it?
A few decades later, in 1218, began the building of the monumental complex of San Galgano, about 30 km west of Siena, which was consecrated in 1288. The Abbey of San Galgano has been for centuries an important road center and reference point for travelers, pilgrims and people of all kinds.
Abbazia_di_San_GalganoFrom 1348 onwards began the decline, due to different misadventures the abbey was abandoned over the years, until to become a dilapidated structure, then deconsecrated in 1789. The first restoration began in 1926 with the aim of preserving what remained of the original structure, which, strangely shares similarities with the Abbey of Glastonbury.
The Chapel of Montesiepi is, however, a small church located on a hill a few hundred yards from the abbey, and in the center of the chapel emerges from the floor the “Sword in the Stone“.
Some scholars point out that there are links between the story of San Galgano, and King Arthur’sSword in the Stone one, in fact both events took place in the twelfth century and between the name Galgano and Gawain, an Arthurian knight, there is particular similarity. But we are in the presence of situations in which history is mixed with myth and it is difficult to have certainty, although some coincidences and documentation that you will read in this post, bring us to hypothesize that Galgano’s sword is the one mentioned in the story of King Arthur and his knights.
The sword, at least judging from the visible portion protruding from the rock, seems to correspond exactly with regard to style, with a real sword of the twelfth century, and more precisely to the kind  Xa. ,according to the “Ewart Oakeshott universally accepted classification”. One of the leading experts on medieval swords, adviser to the Royal Armouries in Leeds, author of several books on the subject. The analysis of small fragments indicate values that are normal for a medieval bonesmetal without the presence of alloys or steels of the following years.
Inside the hermitage of Montesiepi are also preserved a couple of limbs that, according to tradition, belong to one of three envious people that, in 1181, in the absence of San Galgano, attempted to seize the sword,  but failing then they broke it. Galgano felt all this in a dream and, gone back immediately to Montesiepi, unleashed on the three traitors monks the God’s wrath. One of them drowned in the river, the second was struck by lightning and the third devoured by a wolf that tore his arms. Theabbazia backdating, performed by carbon-14 method, in the course of analysis has traced that these hands, kept in the hermitage, are of the twelfth century.
Montesiepi, where stands the monastery of San Galgano, alludes to a sacred place, enclosed by hedges, hidden to outsiders because above were celebrated pagan rites and sacrifices. This tradition of fencing was typical of Celtic sacred sites. Another oddity is the old name for Montesiepi: Cerboli, reminiscent of the Deer (cervo in Italian), the sacred animal of the Celts, as the name of a near village, called  Brenna, would recall the Celtic hero Bran. The same hermitage of San Galgano is an enigma. It’s built in a circle, often considered a demonic form, because linked to the ancient pagan temples. The vault is formed by concentric circles, whose center is perfectly at the zenith of the sword. The
48 circles consisting of white stones and red bricks recall the circular Celtic decorations. Stones that weirdly have been dated 150 years older than the structure.

Arcidosso, in the province of Grosseto, is dotted with ancient esoteric grottosymbols that speak also of the Knights Templar, while in the near Mount Amiata is a rather strange cave. Grotto, whose history is lost in the mists of time, which not even the local youths know its existence. Is this the cave where, according to legend, Merlin the magician repaired? Merlin the magician was not stood still in Scotland, but is said to have traveled the world to share his knowledge and acquire other, and who knows if he has not come even in Tuscany. It’s a massive cave beneath a chestnut, now partially collapsed and drowned by shrubs, and its opening once had a broken stone now missing, which carried the inscription: “This is the ancient and memorable cave builtcavern by Merlin, the wise magician, here Peri, the natural induced muse, explained his genius portentous and vague“.  Gian Domenico Peri was a local poet (1564 – 1639). By a geo-radar has been found that  in the soil of the cave there are some metallic objects, with one large and circular. Who knows.
An ancient legend tells that in this area there was a dragon (Santa Fiora’s dragon). The friars of the convent of La Selva, near the village of Santa Fiora, had noticed for some time the presence of a hideous and gigantic dragon, which had established in the woods. It not only ate cows, sheep and other animals, but its ferocity came to kill a man a day, choosing among shepherds, woodcutters and friars, who were so decimated. The friars sought help from the Count Guido, belonging to the families of Aldobrandeschi and Bosio Sforza, who was unable to kill the animal and so they decided to seek help from the wizard Merlin, who at that time had taken up residence in a cave in the dragonwoods between Arcidosso and San Lorenzo. It is said that Merlin summoned the “knight Giorgio” because he had already killed vicious dragons, and for this became a saint, and subsequently patron saint of Genoa. He was immediately welcomed by Count Guido of Santa Fiora and monks in the monastery and with the help of Merlin, the knight George was able to kill the dragon, finally. It is said that the jaw preserved by the monks in the vestry of the Chiesa della Trinità, which is part of the convent of La Selva, is precisely that of the monstrous dragon.


Coincidences, parallelisms, similarities or reality and truth …. who knows!