Reviews - What do customers think about Gente di San Giovanni in Fiore/ People of San Giovanni in Fiore: Sessanta Ritratti/ Sixty Portraits?
An Intriguing View of A Rembered Homeland Jul 21, 2008
The title barely gives a hint of the depth of humanity within it's pages. First, an admission: my grandmother Sabetta Iaquinta, came from san Giovanni to Clarksbrg,WV in 1913(as did so many others!).
Many of the surnames: Iaquinta, Olivera, and Lopez will be very familiar to Italian-Americans. But it would be a mistake to get lost in mere nostalgia for the old country: The humanity of the subjects shines forth in their portraits.
As does the toll that their difficult life exacted! The children, who began hard labor at 4 or 5(and were all too often denied access to education) look like small adults. Tired, small adults.
Yet all the subjects, children and adults, display all that is best in human nature: strength of character, fortitude,and tenacity. As well as a will to survive that will not be denied.
The accompanying essay(in English, as well as Italian) describes the feudal conditions the Sangiovanesse had to live under. As well as the social roles of various individuals. i was especially taken with the "farceur."
Marra, the photographer, is revealed as quite a fascinating character in his own right--a true renaissance man of his time and place! His interests ranged from photography (at which he was a true genius) to beekeeping, and even spiritualism!
This book, the catalogue for an exhibit of Marra's photography is also a richly rewarding view of a Calbrian society for those who read the text as well as admire the photgraphs!