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.
While set in Bergamo (in the north) the film "The Tree of Wooden Clogs" depicts the life of Italian peasants in the late 19th Century... It is in Italian with English subtitles...
From a review:
Pros:Beautiful ethno-documentary style of cinematography, authentic performances Cons:Three-hour time investment (though most will find that it passes quickly) The Bottom Line: Uncommonly authentic and beautiful depiction of the life of Italian peasants of the late 19th century, both the joys and the hardships.
That's interesting about the dialect. Is there a way to determine what dialects were spoken in different parts of Italy? I suppose there's a website with this information? I'm thinking specifically of the comune where my family is from - Boiano, in the province of Campobasso.
In the 1800's practically every village had its own "dialect", in the sense that they were able to tell people coming from village A from those coming from B; and there were words peculiar of certain places. Of course, they could understand each other wher coming from the same region, but even if Italian was their official language, I think a Sicilian fisherman had serious problems to have himself understood by a Lombard peasant.
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi
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