Two Sicilian cart-drivers: zio Peppe e zio Giacomino


Testo in italiano


The two carters

by Silvana Restivo

This week I did an interview with two of the last carters of Casteltermini.

Uncle Peppe,  on  the left, 92 years old; and Uncle Giacomino, on the right, 82 years old.

Between the 1950s and 1960s they worked together on the streets of Sicily.

They both have a nice Sicilian coppola and are remembering the old days.

He: We haven’t talked about it for quite a while

Nar: Uncle Giacomino  when did  you start to work?

He: I was twelve when I started.

Nar: What did you carried?

He: I used to bring fruit to Agrigento

Nar: Uncle Peppe at what age did you start?

He: At fifteen I used to go by myself with the cart

Nar: What did you carried?

He: Broad beans

Nar: And where did you go?

He: I went to Palermo, 100 kilometers away and stayed there for two days.

Nar: What did you eat in the inns?

He: White pasta if we had it

Nar: Did you go to the taverns?

He: What taverns! At the warehouse

Nar: But you usually only slept in the warehouse?

He: Yes, you slept there.

Nar: And where did you eat?

He: In a house nearby.

Nar: What did you eat?

He: Cooked beans, chickpeas, eggs

Nar:  And fried sardines?

He:  Yes those were good

Then uncle Giacomino sings us a song that the carters used to sing

The carters’ songs are Sicilian love songs, very suggestive and very elaborate.

They sing to pass the time, to keep awake especially in the long journeys made during the night.

They talked to their horse as if to consider him a friend, telling their family stories.


Cantu di lucarrittiri


Mi partu di Palermu e vaiu a Patti,

e vaiu a cogghiri li divini frutti,

ci fu napicciuttedda  ca non n’happi,

ca di la pena lu cori mi ruppi…

Which means

I started from Palermu and go to Patti,

and go to pick up the  divine fruits,

there was a girl who did not have any,

And because of the pain it broke my heart …

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