Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Look at Southern Italian Life in the 19th Century - Part II

"...Inability to provide children with shoes in South Italy became a contributing factor to irregular attendance at school. Old people say, when speaking of their life in Italy, that they never saw a child at school without shoes. Clothes of a certain standard as well as shoes were thought necessary for school attendance, and these were only too often beyond the purchasing power of a child's family.

Men had themselves shaved only once or twice a week by the village barbers. Since such manufactured articles as razors were very expensive, their possessors had almost a monopoly of the shaving business. In some Sicilian towns, the men had the peculiar custom of permitting one lock of hair to grow on the nape of the neck. Called the trizzi di donna (women's tress), it was never combed or cut, "and the owners think themselves fortunate in the possession of it, because they consider it a special gift -- a sign of being favored by Fortune.""

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