"The Sicilian puppet is a work of art between history and fantasy that recalls the childhood stories of every Sicilian"
The fuitina: (Sicilian for elopement ) of love or convenience – (1 part)
by Agata Sandrone and Silvana Restivo
Hello everyone, I am Agata Sandrone in collaboration with Silvana Restivo we give you welcome to this reportage.
Among the oldest Sicilian traditions and related to marriage we find certainly the famous “fuitina”.
The “fuitina” consisted in a love getaway, established by mutual agreement, by the two young people.
The families, to the discovery of the elopement of their respective children gave themselves to scenes of despair as screams and shouts.
When the young couple returned home the parents to save the good name of the families, made them get married.
In the past it was also a very common practice especially to prevent those “arranged” marriages wanted by the heads of families who tried to improve their economic and social situation.
The aspiring spouses chose the fuitina for lack of money, or because engaged for years had to wait a long time before they could marry.
The couple who decided to elope, stayed out of the house for 2/3 days, which for the
family represented the longest days of their existence, because, first
they they thought of all kind of accident or misfortune, , such as a kidnapping with ransom demand, so feared in those times.
But when the truth was discovered, the drama began: the mother’s anger sparked and the jealous rage of the father, threatening to kill the one. who stole his daughter.
Upon the return of the couple, an agreement was reached with the family of the “kidnapper” until the the celebration of the long – awaited wedding… A very simple and strictly religious ceremony: no big invitations, no lavish lunches, nor wedding dress … No white dress!
Mariannina Coffa Caruso
Mariannina Coffa has been called “Saffo siciliana” but also the “capinera of Noto” which means blackcap because her life seems to come straight from a story by Verga.
In 1859, she fell in love. The spark strikes at the piano, for the music teacher Ascenso Mauceri. He is handsome, tall, blond, cultured, with aspirations as a playwright.
They get engaged, with the consent of the family, and plan to get marry. But in 1860 the father forces the daughter to break her promise for a good match, the wealthy landowner Giorgio Morana from Ragusa.
Ascenso asks her to run away together but Mariannina is trapped by the dense net of social norms and renounces love to obey her father.
Immediately after the wedding she moves to Ragusa to live in the house of the despotic father-in-law with a husband who strictly forbids her to write.
Writing, she is constantly told, in the hands of a woman is an instrument of perdition.
Emilia and Ciccio
For Emilia, Ciccio was the 4th boyfriend to whom she said no to the “fuitina”.
But Ciccio was handsome, tall and contended by the girls of the town…
Grandma Anna (Ciccio’s mother), sent an embassy to Emilia, warning her that that she risked losing her son if she didn’t agree to run away with him.
Emilia, had always dreamed of getting married in a white dress but after having refused three previous boyfriends who had proposed the fuitina, she accepted that of
Ciccio’s, also because she was in love with him and with a heavy heart agreed to run away.
It was February 1950, he rented a horse and a cart and left for Santo Stefano di Quisquina, a village in the Sicilian hinterland, where they were hosted by cousins.
After three days, they returned to the village at the home of Grandma Anna and after 2 months, on April 30 they got married. They lived together for almost 60 years and had 4 children!
Fiancée in the 60s
Carolina and the others were between 14 and 15 years old when they made their “fuitina”.
Their husbands were bricklayers, farmers and manual workers in Germany.
Lorena was 14 years old and attended the first year of the Artistic High School. After the yet another quarrel with her mother, she decides to elope with Antonio.
Initially they go to live at her parents’ house but then they take an apartment…
Lucia was 17 years old and in October 2003 she decided to elope. Initially, when her boyfriend proposed to her to run away, she said no, she was afraid of the reaction of her brothers.
Once the decision was made, with a thousand euros in her pocket and the bare essentials, she decided to escape.
The couple Somma
He 22 and she 23 years old, in September 1948 they decided to elope… They were engaged at home and to get married they would have to wait several years … the economic possibilities did not allow otherwise.
When they decided to run away, since it was early, they went to the movies. Then
Then they took a carriage to the house where they stayed for 3 days. They got married in January 1949!
My fuitina? I kidnapped my husband!
With this, Silvana and I say goodbye until next time.
Author: Agata Sandrone, Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily
Author: Silvana Restivo, Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily
Translation: Giovanna Battaglia, Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily