Thirsty eyes by ‘a petra d’annamuratu – the stone of the man in love in Badolato, Calabria (Italy)
Close your eyes and imagine walking down a street of a beautiful Medieval village built on a hill. You are barefoot and your varijli*, although empty, is quite heavy. You are getting water for your big family at the fountain of an important square, Piazza Siena, in the bottom of the village and you can hear the voices of the many children playing around.
When you arrive at the fountain you put your varijli in front of the fountain and you wait. You look up to the rough sea, while the wind is ruffling your hair.
You feel somebody’s eyes on you, but you don’t dare, actually you are not allowed, looking back at him…
On the other side, 10 meters after the Piazza Siena fountain, a boy is sitting with his friends on a stone and he’s admiring with discretion the beautiful girl getting water at Piazza Siena’s fountain.
He knows, that the girl doesn’t dare, actually she’s not allowed, looking back at him…
Many girls and boys from Badolato used to be in this situation until the 50s, years in which many of them emigrated to Argentina, Switzerland, Australia,…
At that time it was very important for girls to respect the custom not to return a look of a boy, since at that time a returned look between a man and a girl could compromise the girl’s reputation and could mean that the man had to ask for the girl’s hand in marriage.
Nowadays you can visit the stone where many boys used to sit and secretely admire girls getting water at Piazza Siena’s fountain. That stone is called “’a petra d’annamuratu” – the stone of the man in love.
And now, next time you’ll wait for your turn at the cashier’s desk, count the seconds you are able to wait until the moment you will return a look to somebody staring at you!
*dialect: it is a container made of wood, similar to a small barrel, which was used to collect and store water.
Written by Sonia Simpatico, JUMP Team