Tag Archives: Abruzzese history

Curious folk artes…

Not quite Halloween but this fellow can seem a bit scary. It’s a traditional, 19th century pipe – said to be hand-carved by a shepherd in Abruzzo’s mountains – that I found in an antique shop in Paris of all places. The pipe is close to a metre long and designed so its bowl sits on the ground. Such an unusual and rare piece from Abruzzo, I decided I couldn’t leave him in Paris so he’s had quite a journey over the past 140 years or so from Italy to France then Australia – ironically the same course my Bisnonno Vitale took before he arrived in Melbourne in the 1920s.

“Verses carved on staves by shepherds, with an infinity of patient ornamental detail, are strongly reminiscent of old Etruscan myths and beliefs long since forgotten, but which have left behind them curious customs and rites, the traditions of which still cling to the newer generations who do not seem able to break away from them.”

Vincenzo Balzano from, ‘Peasant Art in Italy’ edited by Charles Holme (London: 1913).

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Filed under inspiration + history, italy

conca d’Abruzzo in Australia…

Received this lovely gift from a reader, Augusto (who doesn’t mind me sharing that he lives in Australia, was born in Fossa, Abruzzo and was pleased to discover the books). At 80, for the first time he’s learnt copper smithing and made me this little, copper conca and ladle, like those larger ones traditionally used in Abruzzo to collect water (women like my bisnonna Maddalena carried them on their heads).

Thank you to Augusto, such a beautiful kindness. I will treasure it always! And many thanks to all who’ve connected through messages and letters. It’s such a pleasure to hear from you. What most drives me to write is to preserve experiences of ‘everyday’ people and their often overlooked yet I believe significant parts of history. Thank you for your interest (and I’m working hard on the next book!!) xx



Filed under books + writing, italy