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Largo Fontana, Gambatesa

In the old Italian Civil Registers Largo Fontana is called Largo della Fontana ("the open space around the fountain").

Postcard of Largo Fontana, Gambatesa, 32 KB

This is an old postcard photograph of Largo Fontana, circa 1960, which belonged to Nunziata DiRenzo. (The back of the postcard is blank, without credits.) Largo Fontana is also the location of the photograph of Carmina Valente carrying a water-pot (a tina, in dialect) on her head and of the photograph of women at the village fountain, both from September 1960.

Notes by Angelo Abiuso (Geneva): "What in Gambatesa is called la Fontana (a funtan', in dialect), is also called la Villa (a vill', in dialect). The word villa means "a park (with plants and trees)". In Gambatesa the two words are used for the same place: vado sulla [I'm going to the] Villa and vado sulla Fontana.

"Largo Fontana is also called Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, or at least that is the postal address, not Largo Fontana. I would say there is an invisible border between Largo Fontana (a funtan', a vill') and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. I only know that the postal address is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and not Largo Fontana."

The street in the left foreground of the photograph comes toward the viewer and becomes Via Municipio at the end of which is Gambatesa's Casa comunale ("Town Hall"). [Street map of the village center of Gambatesa]. The street in the right foreground is the part of Corso Roma called Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, which ends at Viale Vittorio Veneto. The fountain itself is hidden by the trees at the center of the photograph.

Watering Donkeys

There is a water trough for animals set into the wall of the southwestern side of Largo Fontana. Robert Angelo remembers seeing donkeys watered there in August 1971. Angelo Abiuso writes: "I remember the donkeys too. The last donkey died at the end of the 1990's. There is a fountain called i brevelatur' ("the drinking trough", l'abbeveratoio in Italian) in Gambatesa just in front of the street going down to la Carestia" (that is, the street between Strada Statale No. 17 and Viale Vittorio Veneto).

Ferragosto in Gambatesa

Ferragosto ("August Holiday") is an Italian national holiday celebrated on August 15th, the Roman Catholic Feast of the Assumption of Mary. It is a very big holiday in Gambatesa, when former residents and relatives from all over the world visit u baes or u paes ("the village" or "native land", il paese, in Italian). Then, and on other special days, the circular stone structure at the photograph's center left is used as a stage for concerts.

During the summer people come from all around the world and for two months the village looks like ... Geneva or New York: the streets are full of people speaking English, French, German, Spanish ...

But if you visit Gambatesa in April there is no one in the village, only a few cats on the street in the evenings.

The War Memorial in La Villa

There is now also a WW2 tank in Largo Fontana -- an American tank of the type used by the Canadian Army that captured Gambatesa in October 1943. Angelo Abiuso's grandfather Francesco Valente was an Italian Air Force veteran. "My grandfather was the president of the WW2 Veterans Association. He was the veterans' "flag keeper". I remember that when I was a few years old we spent time together going from one shop to another to ask for a contribution for a war memorial."

Related Page: La Villa Comunale sotto la neve ("The snow-covered Municipal Park"), two views of Largo Fontana from 1960.

Paving Stones in Gambatesa

Angelo Abiuso does not think that the cobblestones of Gambatesa are as black as the stones he saw in Rome or in Paris (Lots of streets are like this in Paris too). In the main streets of Gambatesa (Via Nazionale Sannitica) the stones are now covered with macadam (a mixture of small stones and asphalt that looks black when new, gray when old). But actually it is still possible to see cobblestones at the sides of the street.

Before Gambatesa got volcanic cobblestones, the stones paving the streets came from the bottom of a river: they were all irregularly shaped and white. Then they changed to regularly-shaped black volcanic stones in the early 1950's, then later to macadam.

The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/gbpiazza.html
Last revised: 27 October 2005 : 2005-10-27 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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