PAGEANT OF ITALY

di James Reynolds (1891-1957)

There is a town called Agnone in the Conca di Capracotta Gorge of Abruzzi, an incredibly wild reach of dense pine-shadowed passes, dominated by a famous old castle stronghold, Castello di Sangro. All werewolves, vampires, witches, and their familiars, the ghosts and demons in Abruzzi and probably a few visitor werewolves from Sardinia, gather in the environs of Agnone in summer and winter alike to hold a reunion. For years in Italy I have heard tales of horrendous doings in this weird section. The inhabitants of this area are a dour, secretive lot, still living and practicing ancient grudges and vendettas as daily fare. It was the tail end of a market day when I passed slowly through Agnone. A few dark-visaged farmers from the lowland pasturage land holds below the town still sat at tables in the piazza drinking the dregs of wine from stone bottles, cheap local wine, too green for any but natives to relish.

My attention was attracted to one man who looked like a black-bearded edition of lightning-hurler Jove. Yes, I knew his story, and a wild, fury-ridden one it is. It appears that the method of slaughtering calves for the spring veal so favored in the Province of Latium for serving scallopini marsala con zucchini is simply to bend the young creature over one knee, take a knife from the belt, and incontinently slash its throat.

  • J. Reynolds, Pageant of Italy, Hale, London 1956, pp. 136-137.

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