The Ital­ian vil­lage that can’t be named

Iran Daily - - Entertainment -

Colo­braro, an an­cient hill­top town in Italy’s south­ern re­gion of Basil­i­cata, is re­puted to be the na­tion’s un­luck­i­est vil­lage.

Was it a hex?

Ac­cord­ing to leg­end, this folk­lore dates back to the 1940s, when Bi­a­gio Vir­gilio, then mayor of Colo­braro, pro­claimed at a meet­ing in the nearby city of Mat­era: “May this chan­de­lier fall down if I’m not telling the truth!”

With those words, the chan­de­lier plum­meted from the ceil­ing, and Vir­gilio’s vil­lage quickly be­came syn­ony­mous with bad omens, BBC wrote.

To­day, Colo­braro is still largely con­sid­ered a place whose name is bet­ter not men­tioned. Res­i­dents of neigh­bor­ing vil­lages call it ‘Cudd Pais’ (‘that vil­lage’ in the lo­cal di­alect), and are quick to touch wood when they hear the name as a good-luck charm to drive away any mis­for­tune.

Mat­teo, a Colo­braro res­i­dent, said, “Don Bi­a­gio Vir­gilio? Of course, I do re­mem­ber him! The mis­for­tune? Folks made it up. He didn’t bring bad luck. When some­thing hap­pens to some out­sider with their cars, maybe they get stranded or a flat tire or the en­gine breaks down, they blame it on the vil­lage.”

Where su­per­sti­tion reigns

Lo­cated be­tween Cal­abria and Puglia, Italy’s south­ern Basil­i­cata re­gion is dom­i­nated by un­tamed wilder­ness and a lu­nar land­scape, where ghost towns like Craco are not un­com­mon and there are still strong links to tra­di­tion and su­per­sti­tion.

A land of sor­cer­esses

In ad­di­tion to the chan­de­lier myth, gen­er­a­tions of Colo­braro res­i­dents have long passed down tales of witches and wiz­ards, as well the mas­ciare, pow­er­ful women fa­mous through­out south­ern Italy in the 1950s who were said to main­tain con­trol of their vil­lage through mag­i­cal arts, cast­ing curses and brew­ing po­tent spells. Due to th­ese sto­ries, the vil­lage has be­come no­to­ri­ous across Italy for hav­ing a hex on it and bring­ing bad luck to ev­ery­one around.

Fun and games

To cap­i­tal­ize on th­ese su­per­sti­tions and leg­ends, in 2011 Colo­braro res­i­dents or­ga­nized an an­nual street show ‘Dream of a night… in that vil­lage’.

Every Au­gust, vis­i­tors come from across the re­gion to watch a play star­ring witches, mas­ciare and other creepy char­ac­ters that takes place along the streets and squares. On ar­rival, guests are given an amulet against the vil­lage’s mis­for­tune: The abitino (or cin­giok in Colo­braro) con­tains three grains of salt against in­can­ta­tion, three grains of wheat as a sym­bol of fer­til­ity, three nee­dles of rose­mary to fa­vor love and beauty and fight evil spir­its, and laven­der flow­ers as a sym­bol of virtue and seren­ity.

Colo­braro dai­ly­

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