Those that Marco Cardetta tells in his book “Sergente Romano”, published by LiberAria, are not common stories but stories of the events that followed in almost every corner of southern Italy after 1860, the country’s unity year.

Bloody and fierce stories that sometimes, however, make you smile because of the stupidity of the protagonists who are not fighters, soldiers, but simply men and women who find themselves living in an Italy split in two by a full-scale civil war. At times, despite the light tone made by a “vulgar” language that is by the fact what the Vulgate spoken, like a book on evil: some characters are evil for no reason.

It is a story about the past that becomes the present and on what we know of our ancestors. The events took place a long time ago but still have a huge impact on the present. Good and evil are mixed in a set of crazy stories, desperate and even comical to those who are called brigands, but often are only scattered and bandits. But where’s the good in one who kills people and animals without guilt?

In fact the author does not condemn anyone, he only makes a direct record of what happened on July 28, 1861 in his hometown of Gioia del Colle, who like many countries of our region was and is a microcosm with different personalities where almost everyone knows everyone else, with a chemistry of relationships that is easy to mess: you just need a change, an arrival and a departure.

In the story that Cardetta takes as a starting point it is the back country of Pasquale Domenico Romano, called Sergente Romano, a former Bourbon army sergeant. But it would be no different than a story of Carmine Crocco in his Rionero in Vulture, Rocco Chirichigno in Montescaglioso and other bandits and stragglers of the post-unification banditry. Actually ultimate goal of Marco is above all to restore humanity to those who have been taken away, and tell the stories, unknown and unwritten, of the vanquished.

The book is connected to the show “Voices of misfits – recital concert on the counter Unification of Italy”, with music and sound of Roberto Salahaddin Re David. And show and book are part of a series of activities of Marco Cardetta including trekking, hiking and storytelling on places of banditry, with Italian and foreign tourists, as well as laboratory activities with schools.
All items where the protagonist is the brigandage, that comes an excuse to talk about the South and the Mediterranean, in an historical key, but also very timely.

This is the challenge of the author that resorts to a rather “rough” approach with his readers by choosing a language, as he himself writes in the notes to the author’s posthumous text on kind request of the publisher, “full of mistakes and distortions, mostly spirals: disgressions in the occurrence of certain terms and rhythms”, written in a “in Italian that fishing in dialects and confused, looking on the lips, including splittle…”.

A book that must be read to understand that History, with a capital, on the books describing what they have dictated the conquered but to get to know a country, it is the South or the entire nation, it is necessary to know the stories, those humble, those unwritten, those who really did Italy.

(Ph. di Graziano Milano)

Marco Cardetta
Sergente Romano
12 €


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