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Girl Wearing the Traditional Costume of Gambatesa, Molise, Italy

This is the clothing that women wore in the 19th Century in Gambatesa. Girls dressed this way for the Sagra dell'uva, the annual grape festival celebrated the first Sunday of October in Gambatesa to honor La Madonna del Rosario. The older girls were called i pachian' (Photograph of a woman dressed as a pacchiana). The girls carried baskets with grapes in the festival's procession.

Girl in the traditional costume of Gambatesa, 45 KB

Gambatesa on the map of Italy, 2 KB
Gambatesa is a village in central southern Italy between Naples and Rome.

This is an old postcard photograph from Gambatesa. The girl is Francesca V. of Gambatesa. The photograph was taken in Gambatesa circa 1979 or 1980, when Francesca was 7 or 8 years old.

Gruppo Folkloristico di Gambatesa

There was an old woman from Gambatesa called Adelina Calarese. They wanted to recreate the pachian' costume, and she remembered how she was dressed as a young girl. She was a dressmaker and able to make a dress.

Pachiana, Gambatesa, 43 KB
My mother's friend,
Gambatesa 1956

The Pachiana Group

This group was formed to keep the traditional clothing and the dances alive. They were called Gruppo Folkloristico di Gambatesa (Photographs of the Folklore Group from the 1960s), but the group no longer exists. There are other groups like this in Molise, and they meet every year in Termoli.

Another woman, Zia Teresina from Volturino (a village just across the provincial border, to the south in the Region of Puglia), used to wear everyday the traditional costume of her village, until she died in the 1950s. She was the last woman in Gambatesa who was still using the costume. It was the costume women used to wear from the end of the 18th Century to the beginning of the 19th.

The costume from Volturino was like, but not exactly the same as the costume from Gambatesa. As elsewhere in Europe you could tell which village the people, especially the women were from. There was a general model from the area, but then a small difference from one village to another, maybe something was a different color for example.

Compare: the costume of Sant'Angelo d'Alife, which is across the border from Molise in Campania.  Sant'Angelo d'Alife is less than 40 miles away from Gambatesa; however, perhaps because of the mountain range between these two towns, their costumes look like the national dress of different countries.

Sali e tabacchi

Source of the postcard (Printed on the back):

GAMBATESA (CB) ["Gambatesa (Campobasso)"]
Costumi Folkloristici ["Traditional Clothing"]
4- Ed. [Edizione: "Fourth edition"]
Macchiarola Vincenzo - Tab. [Tabacchi or Tabacchino: "the Sali e tabacchi (Salt and Tobacco) shop"]
Tutto Troverete da Macchiarola
virtù in parola.
[It means something like: "You will find everything in my shop, trust my words."]
Fotocolor - Riproduzione vietata ["Reproduction prohibited"]

Gambatesa, Naples and Rome on the map of Italy, 2 KB
Gambatesa is in the Province of Campobasso, in the former Region of Abruzzo e Molise.

Tobacco and salt are state monopolies in Italy and are sold in special stores (but it is possible to buy salt in supermarkets). In Italy there are small shops we call in French un tabac, or un bar-tabac if it is in France [Angelo live in Geneva]. In those places you can buy a newspaper, cigarettes and ... salt. Outside the Italian bar-tabac there is a black sign [sign board, or, shop sign] with Sali e tabacchi written on it. That is why in Italy these shops are called Sal' tabacco.

Vincenzo Macchiarola is the owner of the Sali e tabacchi in front of la Villa Municipale (Piazza Vittorio Emanuele). In Gambatesa he is called Ze' Vecenz' (Zio Vincenzo). His store is the only place where it is possible to buy postcards from Gambatesa. (The Italian word zio has a wider application than the English word "uncle"; it may be applied to any older male relative and even to old men who do not belong to your family, if they are well-known.)

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/costume.html
Written by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva). Last revised: 4 August 2014 : 2014-08-04 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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