Stories of stone and water
by Pasquale D'Attoma and Arturo Del Muscio
As acorns in the forest
In the forest one hides and escapes. It’s a place where a lot can happen, some dangerous, some rescuing. Chiarina is a young lady of Alberobello whose engagement with Damiano is hampered by her parents. So, she decides to escape in the forest during the night to meet her beloved at dawn and go on the run, with her little sister Luce. But things won’t go as planned: two men, who are in the forest for their shady business, catch the girl and try to rape her. A wayfarer, transiting in the forest as well, will rescue Chiarina.
The root of the moon
In the nineteenth century rituality joins religion and magical practices, it’s almost a dreamlike dimension that contrasts with daily life errands and difficulties, in which answers are sought and hopes are set on. Matteo, a young emigrant, is on the point of taking the big step and leaving his painful native land. But the unexpected happens: he is spectator of an ancient rite while a storm is raging. It’s maybe a sign: America can wait?
Under a sky of stones and crystals
In a changing Italy, new characters gain more importance: intermediaries, junk dealers, cart drivers dealing with trades. Prices of goods are set by market, no more by seasonal harvests, creating quite a few problems of supply to the poorest. But what’s really a community? Two women of two different walks of life, donna Diletta, wife of a rich merchant, and the servant Agnese confide each other difficulties, uncertainties and fears and they decide to be friend going beyond social classes’ barrier.
Burnt bread and acquasale
Fruit, legume soups, soups with water and stale bread: “Mediterranean diet” for farmers of the nineteenth century is made of a few simple ingredients, so different from the idea we have nowadays of traditional cuisine.
Traveller Violante, arrived in Alberobello, is looking for hospitality and refreshment. Rita, a farmer, hosts her. Despite poor means, guest is sacred: Violante enjoys generosity of a community for which hospitality is a fundamental value.
The dignity of stone
Even considering that handicrafts and agriculture are among the main occupations, clearing (“scatimare”) the forest in which the town of Alberobello was nestled is no less important. And yet, in doing so, the Selvesi would lose their most valuable asset: the oak tree. But the little arable land forces the labouring men, women and children to commute.
The widow Carmela and the “scatimatore” Bartolomeo, meeting where their paths crossed, come up against the arrogant Don Oronzo, challenging him, challenging the man who claims to be master of the people, even. Unfortunately, the time for social redemption is still far away.