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.
My Fathers family is from Sciacca Sicily. They were and still are very superstious. For example my father placed a red ribbon in every new car anyone purchased, the same went for a new house or apartment. He said you could never put a red ribbon yourself, it had to be given to you. he always wore horn and hand gold charms. as well as other superstitions and rituals. One of his Aunts could do something called the "Evil Eye" Meaning that if you were having a run of bad luck, sickness, or in particular a very bad headache you would go to her, she would perform some sort of ritual with olive oil and water, say a prayer if the "evil eye" was found you were instructed to do something like spit out a window and the evil eye would be gone. I remember my mother going to this Aunt with me when I was a child. It was also said, that learning to do this could only be passed down from mother to oldest daughter. My Father also used to tell how his mother would put out a plate of Honey, milk, and wheat grains out on the night before All Saints Day (halloween) to ward off the spirits.
I believe this is out of the Stregha tradition of Sicily, and would like to learn more. I just find it very interesting. Would anyone know of any place I could get more information? I have tried a few sites, but the information is very general. Thanks for your help.
The first time I saw my aunt running in the house with many ooh-oohs to sprinkle water on a horn necklace (corno) at the kitchen sink. I remember saying: "What on earth?! I thought we were Catholics!" We had heard of Maloc'chio, but didn't think of it as anything here, only something in Italy. My aunt's father (my grandfather) was from Siculiana, but grandma was from Sant'Elia a Pianisi. My cousin said grandma passed the practice to his mother; one woman used to call three times a day sometimes to get some relief from supernatural problem. I don't know what influence our grandfather had on this. My aunt was supposed to pass it on to her daughter, but being third generation Italian-American, not to mention half Polish (and blonde hair and blue eyes), she was not that interested.
A good book on this and other subjects is "Italian-American Folklore" by Frances M. Malpezzi and William M. Clements. Chapters on Customs, Folk Supernaturalism, Folk Medicine and Stories and Storytelling.
My grandfather used to have a box of leeches in a drawer and also had a device to cut the skin for bleeding, so the book confirms these practices and there were some amazing cautions against bad luck (even going to the devil if a saint doesn't workout). Stracciatella is a favorite soup around our house; who knew it was as one grandmother said "It washes away the sins of the weekend."
Ferro (from Ferri), Capriotti(TE); De(i)Marzio, Nervina(o), Colucci, Gatto, Testa(CB); Basile(BA) ; Bianchi(AQ); Augello, Bissi, Iacono(AG); Pisano(), Impaglia () Friends looking also: Vivenzio (SA); LoPiccolo(PA)-seems to be Lopicolo originally