Benedetto Fassanelli

"To Boldù's place we went one night". Practices and relationships of a group of "cingani in viazo" (travelling gypsies) in the Venetian mainland at the end of the 16th century

  • Abstract

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This article moves from what we might define a piece of news, that is, the story of the vicissitudes of a cingani company that travelled for ten days between lake Garda and the Veronese countryside between June and July 1587. Traces of this transit emerge from the files of a court case. In spite of the limits of this kind of source, these return the echoes of the different voices of people dealing with the same issue - the presence of the cingani within the formal boundaries of a modern state - from different points of view. Particular attention was paid to the observation of a central issue in the daily life of so-called cultural minorities: the ability to establish and maintain relationships with the so-called indigenous populations. In the case of the cingani, such relationships took shape in cultural contexts characterized by broad and widespread hostility, and not without material consequences. Without any pretence to offer a comprehensive benchmark analysis or broad generalizations, a glance over what happened outside the borders of the Republic of Venice tries to collocate local vicissitudes in a broader and certainly more complex framework.

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