The Touring Mask of “Pulgenelle” (Pulcinella)

The Touring Mask :: Pulgenelle (Pulcinella) di Castiglione Messer Marino (Chieti) | photo: ©MariagraziaLalli
The Touring Mask :: Pulgenelle (Pulcinella) di Castiglione Messer Marino (Chieti)
photo: ©MariagraziaLalli

Every year during the Carnival week Castiglione Messer Marino, a tiny village in the province of Chieti, hosts “La mascra” (i.e. the mask). On Sunday before Mardi Gras people – only men – dress up and parade along the village streets and drag everybody into the hectic and wild Carnival atmosphere.  The parade is led by the pulgenèlle, whose leader plays the part of the “master of ceremonies” and manages the whole parade.

The Touring Mask :: Pulgenelle (Pulcinella) di Castiglione Messer Marino (Chieti) | photo: ©MichelinaFranceschelli

White-dressed “pulgenèlle” carry their “scrujazze” (herdsman’s whip) and cowbells, take the scene with their huge headgear – it can weigh up to 14 kg – and other characters follow: Carnevale, loaded with sausages and foodstuff,  Il Monaco (the Monk) and the Wine Cart. Pulgenelle decide the path to follow and the stops to be made for a drink or for some food. During the stops they play some comic sketches about recent politics or current events, music is played live by marching bands.

The Touring Mask :: Pulgenelle (Pulcinella) di Castiglione Messer Marino (Chieti) | photo: ©GiuseppeColangeloScultore
The Touring Mask :: Pulgenelle (Pulcinella) di Castiglione Messer Marino (Chieti)
photo: ©GiuseppeColangeloScultore

A typical dish of this period is “sagne a lu cuttéure”, short pasta that tradition requires to be eaten with bare hands. True Castiglione people do not use cutlery!

ITA :: Glossari di lingua abruzzese
~ Pulgenèlla via
~ Scrujazze = frusta via
~ scrujazze: frusta via

Enviromental Theatre and the Festival of the Gnomes

A festival designed for children, a party to celebrate nature and the forest and all its inhabitants – fairies, elves, fauns, jesters, trolls, giants… Read more: International Festival of the Gnomes… via

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Once upon a time there was the Festival of the Gnomes… | photo: © Matelda Codagnone

“It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.” ~J.M. Barrie

La festa degli gnomi è molto particolare, piena di colori e giochi, un bel modo di far trascorrere a ragazzi di tutte le età del tempo nel verde e nel rispetto dell’ambiente. Il festival si svolge tra Pescocostanzo, Roccaraso e Rivisondoli in località meravigliose come il Bosco di Sant’Antonio uno dei luoghi più belli dove poter incontrare fate, elfi, fauni, giullari, troll, giganti…

Tasting Notes: Bliss In A Hiss… Cheers!

When we are kids, we are used to have the same food and beverages. We are creatures of habit and we don’t like exploring new ingredients. We just stick to what we like – usually three or four dishes – and that’s it. Then, we grow up, we try new food and those flavours, tastes and smells disappear.

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Spuma scura… Photo: Giuseppe Marone

Last year I was at Fritto Misto All’Italiana, an annual food show focused on fried food. Regional recipes with fried ingredients are offered at stands, and even though fried food is a sort of bugbear for high-cholesterol-level people (i.e. almost everybody), visitors wolf down every single piece of food, showing no regret at all. While I was strolling around the stands, I got close the beverage stand and I saw it. Perhaps I haven’t seen it for forty years.

I felt as if a time machine took me back when I was six and I was sipping my favourite soft drink with my cousins and my uncle. I believe that was the same feeling Marcel Proust experienced with his madeleine.

My madeleine is the spuma, whose taste is hard to explain, since it is not an orange juice, it is not a coke. Nor any other popular drinks that kids usually have these days. The best thing is to try it out. As for me, when I opened the bottle, the gas hissing out of the crown cap  was like music for my years and the taste on my mouth was the taste of happiness. The taste that just a comfort food can give. I raised the glass and had a toast to my uncle. He used to spoil us, and needless to say, we deeply loved him. One of his treat was to take us to the local “osteria” and he would ask for a glass of wine for him and a small bottle of spuma for us kids.  He is no longer with us, but every time I drink a glass of spuma, I know he’s right beside me. Cheers to my uncle, wherever is now!
This post originally appeared in Italian on Verba Volant Il sapore della felicità (ovvero: Na onbreta par mì e na spuma pa’ i boce)

DSC_5911_Spuma_photo: ©Lonza65 and ©GiuseppeMarone
Dreamin of Dark Spuma… | photo: ©Lonza65 and ©GiuseppeMarone