A Rigoletto of the Countryside

February 13, 2013 / Local Interest
Montecalvo Versiggia, Lombardia

gobboAs a child he was chased by those who should be his friends. They tried to pat his back, which had a hump, as if he was carrying a load. They chased him all the time, children can be cruel sometimes. Perhaps this was the cause of him not growing anymore. From a certain age he simply stopped growing. Another defeat. A hunchbacked dwarf, that was all what he was. Or wasn’t he? Something deep inside resisted.

rigolettoTo run off with the most beautiful woman of the village, no chance of that of course. No amorous adventures for him, as people tend judge the exterior of a person only. No bella signorina with which he could deal his tormentors a final blow. But a house, a castle for all to admire and be jealous of, that would be possible. As an only child, rare at that time (his parents had not risked another child), he had inherited everything. The vineyards were of no use, not being able to maintain them (he could not even reach the grapes, what a sadness!), but their sale resulted in a very nice sum.

He built a large house, on top of the hill, overlooking the small houses of his enemies. There he was, alone, in the big house on the hill. But it did not set him free, it felt like a burden, a new hump! People passed by and said: there he lives, the hunchback, such a big house for a little man! Nobody visited. So he decided to leave, get away from his past. What became of him we do not know. But in 2008 the house was bought and renovated (by two Dutch expats). One of them born in 1960, the very year in which Guglielmo il Gobbo, the hunchback, had his vain castle built.


Stef Smulders

by Stef Smulders

Stef is a Dutch expat now living the dolce vita in the Oltrepò Pavese wine region, an undiscovered Tuscany 50 km south of Milan. 

With husband Nico & dog Joia he runs a B&B Villa I Due Padroni (www.duepadroni.it).

Stef has just completed his first book about his experiences in Italy during the first few years (in Dutch).
An English translation will appear later in 2016. Interested? Send me a mail and have a look at my Facebook page.

4 Responses to “A Rigoletto of the Countryside”

  1. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    how sad,how poignant a story worthy of the classics to be played out on Italian stages for all to cry over, we love to cry….

  2. Beautiful story about life.It is within our ability to see beauty in all things.The heart above all things longs to be loved, it’s our arms that are too short. Incredible piece, thank you.

  3. for every man there is a woman,if u search enough-remember that rigoletto had a daughter,which that duke ravished!!so sometime ,somewhere Rigoletto had loved and bedded someone to produce such a beautiful daughter-maybe he build the house after he lost his daughter-remember beauty is in the eyes of the beholder !

  4. Stef: What a poignant tale…Loneliness of the heart is the saddest.Maybe now that house has some joy in it? Grazie, Victoria


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