As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
I was talking with a friend of mine and he mentioned a piece of Italian folklore I hadn't heard before. He said his grandparents had spoke of the "Lupinad," a spirit or witch who would steal babies from their cribs.
One way to ward off the spirit was to leave a broom in front of the key hole bristle-side up. The Lupinad would have to count every bristle before being able to enter the room.
I'm sure I probably have the spelling wrong but we tried everything we could think to search for through google and can't find any kind of reference at all. His family comes from Naples.
I think sometimes we forget the heavy influence that superstitions had on our ancestors.
It refers to unbaptized babies being stolen and this is why they should not be taken out until after the baptism. I heard this just this year within my family. These days when babies are baptized 3 or 4 times a year it seems an unusual custom but my sister in law used it as a reason she could not come to a family event.
This is not the same story, but seems to be strangely related - the story of La Befana.
The protagonist of the Epiphany in Italy is always an old and ugly lady, named "Befana", as well as the festivity, dressed "very casual" and full of patches and wearing a wide pointed hat. She's similar to a witch, but with a nice and generous character, at least, toward the children who have behaved well, during the past year. She rides an old straw broom to fly from a house to the other and the energy she consumes is simply that of magic.
The La Benfana post makes me think it's probably along the same lines, La Pinad or La Benad. Of course being an italian word there are probably some extra letters you don't hear, La Pinada or La Benada, etc It could also just be a severely localized thing.
LUPINARE is one of the many ways a werewolf is called, depends on the region you come from. In Italian the word is LUPO MANNARO (werewolf).
You know the story: a man becomes wolf-like during nights of full moon, some attributed it to schizophrenia, some to magic.
like member "Julo" wrote i think you are talking about the "Lupo Mannaro". In Sicily he was called "Lupunaro" .
I'm searching lost relatives and descendant of my greatgrandfather Vincenzo Genualdi (or Gennaldi or Genuardi) and my greatgrandmother Concetta Davola (their sons: Angela, Carmela, Antonio, Bartolomeo, Ernesto, Simone, Riccardo, Maria) went in Chicago,Ill., and New Orleans, in 1880-1920 from Sicily. Other family related : Jacobucci or Jacopucci (from Central Italy).