Here it is the Cannolo Report, fortnightly current affairs programme by the Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily. Art, culture, sun and food!
In this episode in Mineo: oranges, asparagus, ball – buster, the music tobacco shop, the ricotta cannolo and the womanizing poet
Mineo: the strange story of the stone of poetry in the town of King Ducezio
This is the plateau of Camuti, west of Mineo.
Today it is surrounded by silence and a path for cows and sheeps.
Once upon a time there was a village of prehistoric huts and Sicilians.
It is said that there was, at the top, a huge stone that had magical or, better, wisdom powers.
Camuti stone, the stone of poetry!
The centuries pass and this stone of wisdom, it seems, was found, inside the property of Paolo Maura that, a little like the lamp of Aladdin, brought out the genius.
Not rubbing the stone but resting our butt on it.
Not really him, but his mother when she was pregnant of him.
And thats how arose the legend that if a pregnant woman had sat on it, the child would have been born with literary virtues: poet, writer, musician…
In short, Paolo Maura became a poet and around the wise stone of the Camuti district was created a sort of cultural circle .
True or false, a certain fact is that Mineo has a kind of source of wisdom that has always existed.
Here we are in Mineo, eastern Sicily.
They immediately give us a nicel bag of blood oranges from the area, one of the best and most famous in Sicily.
Mineo is a town with a glorious past, as demonstrated by several of its buildings, including the superb Jesuit convent just beyond the Adinolfo gate.
And where there were many priests there was a lot of fervor.
Jack Jackfly, our drone, follows us from the top ready to grab some prey for Splendid Sicily.
You See the one on the statue?
The mother had to sit on the stone of poetry, in Camuti, when she was pregnant.
And she had to stay quite a while since that statue represents one of the greatest Italian writers of all time: Luigi Capuana, the womanizing poet.
Women and Poets, you know, have always gone hand in arm.
Often the girls were the inspiration of unrequited love but in the case of Luigi Capuana they were proven achievements
Capuana and the asparagus
Here we are also under the statue of Capuana, in the central square.
Two elders and a man selling fruit they will be ours!
Nar: Hello what are these?
He Wild asparagus picked up in the countryside
Nar Give me a bunch?
Nar How much is it?
He 5 euro
Nar How do I prepare it?
He A omelette
Nar What did you do?
He The shepherd, I carried the milk in the village with the goats, knocked on the doors and milked the sheep, then there were the bins.
Nar I have heard that goats are smarter than shepherds
He Let’s say that the goat is cleaner
Nar But what is better the sheep or the goat?
He For me the sheep
He The goat for me
Nar What is your name?
He La Torres Agrippino
Nar Here you are all called Agrippino
He It’s the saint of the village. My last name is La Torres
Nar Holy cow, a Spanish name … perhaps you are a descendant of the ancient Aragonese who came to Sicily. Are you noble?
Nar What are you eating today?
He Pasta with sauce and some wine
Uhmmmm … Italian Communist Party
Nar Hello, are you all communists here?
He Well … well … we kill some time
Nar What do you think of Luigi Capuana?
He He was a womanizer, along with his buddy Giovanni Verga
He We play cards
The flag of Sicily
Nar Let’s see who won this game
He Those were the megaphones to announce a statement to the population
He Here we are all called Agrippino or Pino, because the Saint is Saint Agrippina.
I’m 88 years old
Nar What did you used to do?
He The farmer
Nar At what age did you start working
He At 10 years old
Nar And on Saturday and Sunday you went to the disco?
He What are you saying? Just work and that’s it
Nar Where did you meet your wife?
He Here … we eloped (a fuitina)
Nar And where did you take her?
He In the countryside
Nar What is your nickname?
He I don’t have any
He Yes you have one, I’ll tell you : ball – buster, because you busted balls to everyone
Searching for inspiration
Ok Jack, let’s take our walk again
Smoke comes from a school in perfect fascist style.
Our guide tells us that that one is a poet
He Here, I made 500 poems on Mineo
Nar So your mother sat on Camuti’s stone when she was pregnant?
He Yes sure
Let’s continue our walk
Mineo is rich in noble palaces and narrow alleys.
This is the Via Orologio del Sole perhaps because once there was a sundial.
Here it is: the home of Paolo Maura, the progenitor of the Camuti stone!
His was the first pregnant mother to sit on the stone of the poem, remember ?
A great rococo style portal: here is another noble family of the place
Uhmmm a house with clothes hanging , let’s see if this time we guess who they belong to
In my opinion, two men and a woman live there
He Wrong, two men and two women
Darn it: we made a mistake we were very close …
Here we are back in the square.
Luigi Capuana is always up there, watchful on the village.
What is this music?
He The tobacco shop, puts some music and we’re all cheerful
What a strange thing
Let’s go see
He Today is the 167 year of the state Police and I celebrate it
Nar Listen but is it true this story of the Camuti stone?
He We all have it in our DNA
Nar Are you also a poet?
He In my own little way
SPLENDID LOCAL: Pietro Todaro, historian of Mineo Coming to Mineo is a nice idea. Here we have clean air, our famous cannoli, and then we are the city of illustrious men: writers, doctors, scientists. We also have extraordinary archaeological sites: Palikè, 2500 years old, home of King Ducezio and of the Sicilian people, even before the arrival of the Greeks; the caves of Caratabbia with its beautiful rock carvings depicting men and animals; the area of Camuti where there was the famous stone of poetry. In short: come and visit us and you will not regret it.
Let’s hurry up, it’s getting late: here we meet another bizarre guy, also with an artistic vein and with necklaces and bracelets all over his body. He is certainly the son of a pregnant mother who sat on the stone.
Then we enter the Luigi Capuana cultural circus, who is full of children of mothers who have sat in the stone of Camuti. What a nice place! Old furniture and an aristocratic charm.
There is also a billiard table and a collection of old books. And here is also a beautiful antique photo of the womanizing poet Capuana.
Then we continue the walk, we eat a tasty cannolo of Mineo with ricotta, slurp slurp very good and we arrive at the house of Luigi Capuana.
The beautiful Antonella is our guide. Here is a marvelous picture of a woman with bare breasts at the entrance. The Capuana had a fixation with women.
This is a room with newspaper clippings preserved by the writer.
There are the usual endless women. These are the objects that belonged to him.
Here is his desk and here are his books.
And, finally, the famous alcove of the Capuana playboy
Ok now let’s go
Jack Jackfly flies over the roofs of Mineo
The underlying plain of Catania extends as far as the eye can see
Once there were rivers and woods
Then the Romans came and put the wheat in it
That window was the Bourbon prison
We descend from via Ducezio, the Sicilian leader born in Mineo who had his kingdom in Palikè.
SPLENDID TIP: Palikè is a wad of rock that rises suddenly between the orange-rich plains of the area. It is one of the most evocative places in Sicily. It was the headquarters of the population: the Siculi. Their king, Ducezio, was born right here, in the sixth century BC Here there was also a cave where there was a priest and the gods were personified by two lakes of volcanic origin which today are no longer there but which were still visible until the beginning of the twentieth century. Here are the Gods in a video from the Istituto Luce. Then Mussolini reclaimed the lakes, and in the meantime a company was born, and the two gods are now imprisoned in bottles for the production of soda water! Crazy! Two pagan gods are now water with bubbles!
We are in via Ducezio.
Here is another mother who had to sit in Camuti’s chair.
Here her son Giuseppe Bonaviri was born, one of the greatest poets of the 21st century.
Our guide shows us the memory museum, a beautiful immersion in the Sicily of the past
This was the naca where the baby was put and it was rocked by moving the string
Ooops! The Sicilian child fell off the bed!
There are also some clothes that belonged to our guide’s parents, used for the filming of the film La Lupa
He The waistcoat and the coppola worn by Raoul Bova belonged to my father
Ok it’s time to go.
We leave a small offer and sign.
The source of poetry: Camuti
Today we decided to buy some Sicilian fast food and go eat it to Camuti.
He The stone was at the height of that tree and then it fell downstream
Okay, one stone is like another here in Camuti
They all are philosophical stones
Between one bite and another and even without pregnant mothers in tow, we hope that we get the right inspiration to write this episode.
Goodbye everyone from Mineo and have a Splendid Sicily !