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Period Postcards from Naples
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Postcard from Naples 15 - At least this one looks like a real postcard, probably written by an Italian from elsewhere. The Italian reads (to the extent that I can decipher it):
12/4/99 - Come vedi i Napoletani se ne infischiano di certe scommuniche. Sempre allegri! e fanno lezione. Chi volesse predicare la nuova omelia qui finirebbe a mare. Quanti forestieri quest'anno. Ciao, (signed).

The use of scommuniche (lit. They don't care about getting excommunicated) and predicare la nuova omelia (lit. 'preach the new homily') leads me to this approximate translation:
April 12, 1899 - As you see, Neapolitans carry on with wild abandon. Always happy and they really go at it. Try to get them to change their ways and you'll wind up in the sea. A lot of foreigners this year. Ciao, (signed).
I also wonder if a clergyman wrote this.

The card, itself, is not colored (as it might have been) and is a perfectly awful presentation of a group dancing the tarantella (so labeled as n. 125 in a series). The woman, front and center, scares me. The instrumentation is typical: contrabass, a clarinet, some violins, tambourines, and a mandolin. One interesting instrument is being played by the sixth person from the left. It's hard to see and it looks like a collection of three pipes, but it's not; it is, in fact, a percussion instrument called the triccaballacca—a clapper. It has three percussive mallets mounted on a base, the outer two of which are hinged at the base and are moved in to strike the central piece; the rhythmic sound is produced by the clicking of wood on wood  and the simultaneous sound of the small metal disks—called "jingles"— mounted on the instrument. (More on folk instruments at this link.)

The dance? Everything I know about the tarantella is at this link. It may be more than you want to know.


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