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  /  personaggi luoghi storia   /  Pietro Carbonetti

Pietro Carbonetti

Born in Cetona on 27 February 1865. Died on 19 May 1942.

The image of Carbonetti, parentage unknown, vagabond and wanderer, is imprinted in the local collective memory. It tells of a man of uncertain age, dressed as a Garibaldian with a tin drum around his neck, dividing donated food equally with his dogs, sleeping in bread ovens and offering children and onlookers, who often surrounded him, rhyming stornelli (simple form of popular poetry) and the sound of beating the tin. A “Garibaldian wayfarer” through town and countryside, sometimes mocked and chased away, several times aided and assisted by peasant families doubly moved by mutual aid and pity for this man who, not recognised by his father and abandoned by his mother, had to live on the margins of society. The oral tradition, however, is silent about Carbonetti’s difficult relations with the law and the institutions of the time, for which we have historical testimony in the archive’s documents. Years later, Carbonetti cannot just be considered a folkloristic character with adventurous or moving traits, or even subversive of the established order. His alleged crimes testify to a life lived unconventionally by a true outsider, in which real elements and their transfiguration coincide in the construction of the Carbonetti character that he himself created, disguising himself and identifying himself with a Garibaldian drummer (historically he could not have taken part in Garibaldi’s militias), a wanderer by choice or by social exclusion.

These are particular features to be analysed in a precise cultural perspective, and which bring Carbonetti closer to some forms of street theatre and the future dynamics of life on the road.