PIC INTERREG IIIA Greece - Italy 2000-2006 Axis 3.2 Project Code I3201060.

 

Places...

...of devotion

The Salento may be described as a territory consecrated to the Virgin Mary. The high “Marian density” is reflected in the abundant presence of churches, chapels and votive shrines, both urban and rural. It is reflected in the naming of places and in an infinite series of legends and traditions. This heritage of cultural and moral values shows the close relationship that the Virgin Mary and her children have built up over the course of the centuries. It is the reflection of the needs, individual and collective, of a society that has always aspired to better conditions of life. The exceptional nature of her role, of her life and of her pain have always remained alive in the hearts of the devout: she is the only woman not linked to a particular space or time who still exerts a powerful appeal today; the Mother of all has always been, in every place and every moment, close to her children with her infinite mercy.     Read more...

...of the economy

The project studied the economic sectors in which women have been a notable strong point: agriculture, particularly the cultivation and processing of tobacco, and manufacturing, especially in the textiles-clothing sector. The different historic evolution of the two sectors produced two different ways of being a woman and a worker in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Tabacchine and sigaraie (women tobacco workers) suffered exploitation, abuse and social injustice; they were involved in all phases of production, from the cultivation to the harvest and processing of the tobacco leaves. For a low salary, they worked in the fields and in the warehouses where the product was processed, with gruelling shifts, and barely human conditions. For this reason they organised into movements and fought for their rights, sometimes dying in the process. They claimed the right to a better life and respect for the dignity of labour. They demanded the freedom to be women and workers.
In the textiles-clothing sector, women are the repository of historic memories regarding the tradition and the creativity of the Salento. The first textile workshops, for tailoring, embroidery and lace, were born in orphanages, charitable institutions and religious orders. Others were the result of the entrepreneurial spirit of a few aristocratic women who had learnt from their mothers the ancient techniques of working with fabrics. Today’s women entrepreneurs continue the tradition, enriching it with new production techniques and designs, keeping an ancient art alive, an art that has been handed down from generation to generation.      Read more...

...of Anthropology

The anthropological context is represented here by tarantismo, and constitutes another important aspect of female identity in the Salento. It is a phenomenon linked to the world of the peasantry and to the social role of women, with roots that go back to the mythology of ancient Greece. According to the tradition, it was a sickness, caused by the bite of a spider, curable by dancing to special music played on a chromatic scale, which constituted a rite of purification. The therapy could last for a few days and ended with the intercession of St. Paul, the healing saint, at the chapel dedicated to him in Galatina. The change in the social condition of women brought an end to the phenomenon, which reflected the suffering and malaise of the women peasants, expressed in striking forms. However, while from a strictly anthropological point of view the practice has ended, today we see tarantismo enter a new phase, known as neo-tarantismo, purely aesthetic and quite different from its original nature, in which it has been transformed into a sort of liberation and collective catharsis, to the rhythm of the pizzica.        Read more...

Political contexts

Politics is a field in which women are still rather scarce; however, the women who have participated in the political context as heads of government have left their mark to the point of being nicknamed Iron Ladies. In Italy, the road to female emancipation has been long and arduous. Today women enjoy legal equality and the same rights as men, and have access to all professions and all offices. The under-representation of women in politics remains however a fact of life. The index of female emancipation puts Italy in 72nd place out of 154 countries, and Puglia last among the regions of Italy. Of 36 councillors on the Provincial Council of Lecce there are only 2 women, and the council leadership has only 3 women out of 12 people.        Read more...

 


Community Initiative INTERREG III 2000-2006

   

PIC INTERREG IIIA Greece - Italy 2000-2006 Axis 3.2 Project Code I3201060

Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund