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venerdì 13 dicembre 2019
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Carnival characters in Piacenza

It would seem that the Carnival characters of Piacenza, like those of other regions, date from the 18th century: Vigion and Lureinsa in the mountains and the countryside, Tullein Cucalla and Cesira in the city. Tullein (the name is a distorted form of Antonino), outwardly daring but fearful at heart, dressed in dark corduroy of a vaguely Spanish cut, wears a round cap decorated with oak galls set askew, symbol of his empty head, and represents the character that the townspeople had taken on during the Spanish domination. He is essentially good but something of a braggart, chats to everyone and has a solution for everyone's problems, without realising how many he has himself! He wears a tight short jacket in black or brown corduroy, striped and open in front, with a white silk kerchief round his neck and a sash round his waist to hold up his knee-length trousers, also in corduroy, with black woollen or cotton tights below. His rosy face turns purple with the wine he drinks, he has a snub nose and a tuft of hair emerging from his cap, set back on his head. He is a creation that represents the common people of that time perfectly. 'L Vigion, on the other hand, represents the astute mountain folk. He is dressed according to the 18th-century fashion of a close-fitting short jacket of dark green heavy cloth or corduroy, decorated with red facings. His trousers stop at the knee, closed by brightly-cloloured lacings, and below he wears white woollen tights and large nailed boots. His clothes and his round hat in black felt are dotted with tufts of wool to represent the snow of the mountains. In appearance he is a country idiot but he is always able to outwit the others. His face is dominated by a huge nose but his twinkling eyes indicate he is astute and knowing. The old proverb "big shoes, fine brain" comes to mind. He carries a red umbrella, a broom, a basket of eggs, a chicken and other objects: a snuffbox, a pipe, a red handkerchief, etc. His wife, la Lureinsa, follows him devotedly, like a puppy, foolish, docile and obedient; he uses her in his tricks. The Carnival characters of Piacenza never became famous at a national level, largely because of the difficulty in understanding and pronouncing our dialect. A few years ago an attempt was made to include them among the puppet characters like Harlequin, Fagiolino and Sandrone, but without much success.

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