Italia – Spagna: Grass-Widows

June 24, 2008 / Local Interest
S. Agata dei Goti
For the past ten years our amateur theater group has put on a traditional de Filippo play in Neapolitan dialect, masterfully directed by my next door neighbor, retired comedy actress Hilde Maria Renzi. This year’s offering debuted to a full courtyard in the town’s 16th century Episcopio, or bishopric. It is such social a high point that the show is prolonged for four days, allowing the whole town to see it. Tickets are free.

But who could have foreseen that Italy would be playing Spain in the quarter finals of the European Championship the other night?! For days people were talking of nothing else. The local cafés had set up improvised screens of big white bed sheets. By 8 p.m. people were already arriving, armed with chairs, flags and anxiously tooting their whistles. As I walked towards the outdoor theater, I wondered if there would really be anybody willing to forgo the excruciating excitement of la partita (the match) to see an old play . . .

At 9 o’clock there were 10 elderly women sitting in a sea of empty green chairs, leaving their husbands and sons behind to watch the game. As the lights were about to go down an older woman looked around and chuckled to her friends: “E’ una serata di vedove!” (It’s an evening of widows!)

Photos kindly provided by Mario Pascarella. Thank you!

Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

Owner of “Savour The Sannio”,, a travel consultancy for central and southern Italy.

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