A wedding at Sassinoro

January 20, 2010 / Local Interest
Sassinoro, Campania

weddingsassinoro1While admiring the inside of the church of S. Lucia in Sassinoro, my host Giovanna pointed out the last-minute preparations being made for a wedding that was to take place shortly.

As we headed back into the dappled sunlight my eyes were drawn to a strange apparition standing on the far side of the churchyard, directly opposite a white marble statue of Padre Pio. Like the glimmering image of San Michele in grotta (St.Michael in the grotto), stood a young man, blinding illuminated.

He was decked from head to toe in shades of cream and white. A diamond-studded clasp closed the lapels of a jacket made out of what seemed to be upholstery fabric; a smaller pin glinted at his throat in place of a tie. While the unhemmed pants billowed out over his cream-coloured boots, weddingsassinoro3a jauntily-held white cane brought my gaze back to ruffled shirt-cuffs peeking out from the jacket sleeves. The whole thing was topped off by a top hat studded with sequins.

I watched, transfixed, wondering how long the apparition would linger. But it was just the groom. Who could have suggested this outfit?

Just then a convoy of cars led by a 10-meter limousine came to a halt at the bottom of the stairs. Out spilled a cresting wave of white tulle.

weddingsassinoro2St. Lucia is the patron saint of the blind and this girl must have been a long-standing member of the congregation, glasses as thick as bottle-bottoms. Her father – also dressed in white, but with a purple shirt and tie – proudly led her up the stairs. Not to be outdone, her mother wore a red strapless gown while her aunt videoed the procession in a tight-fitting black dress with a striking cleavage. Someone at the top of the steps shouted down to the bride that she was lifting her dress too high for decency…

The joyful yet riotous assembly regrouped in the sunlit churchyard…. Padre Pio, true to his name, calmly blessed everyone as they entered into the shadows of the church.

Barbara Goldfield

by Barbara Goldfield

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

8 Responses to “A wedding at Sassinoro”

  1. Peter Masullo

    I have been traveling to Italy for twenty years and on each visit I have seen at least one wedding party. Even once at St Peters. But, this groom takes the prize. I love it. Only in Italy.

    Reply
  2. Helen Ruchti

    The groom’s morning coat was probably made of expensive silk brocade, a fabric used in the past by the nobility and wealthy Europeans for their coats and special outfits. Brocades are also used for upholstery, even today.

    After the formal wedding mass, the wedding luncheon was probably a blast. Don’t you wish you could have looked in on that? The best man probably attacked the groom’s jacket, cutting it in pieces and auctioning it to help the couple have a proper honeymoon. (I’ve seen that done with ties at an Italian wedding celebration.)

    Reply
  3. kevin l. mahoney

    The original Father of the Bride, with Spencer Tracy,was on TV recently. This sounds even more amusing.

    Reply
  4. Ralph De Lucia

    Thank you for this wonderful vignette of life in this small Italian hill town.
    It is where my mother and all of “her side” were born and raised.
    My visit several years ago to Sassinoro and my grandfather and great Grandfather’s houses was an emotional journey made even more melancholy by the empty houses and population that numbered around 500.
    To see this wedding is like an acknowledgement that perhaps Sassinoro and maybe other small Italian hill towns will not be forgotten but may if fact have a rebirth.

    Reply
  5. Diane Altieri Black

    I came across your blog while my son and I were doing a bit of research on Sassinoro. My father and his family were from Sassinoro. I imagine my grandparents were also married in this church and my father was Christened there. My brothers have had the privlege of visiting but I have not. Thank you for this small glimpse of what life is like in Sassinoro.
    To Mr. De Lucia, I imagine our families knew each other.

    Reply

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