I have always admired Southern women

Dearest Feltri,I have been reading you for over thirty years and I am also a colleague of yours because for a very long time I have been managing a monthly magazine from Calabria …

I have always admired Southern women

Dearest Feltri,
I have been reading you for over thirty years and I am also a colleague of yours because for a very long time I have been managing a monthly magazine from Calabria that has been published 322 times so far. The question I ask you is: how did you get the idea to compare your interlocutor to a “servant from Catanzaro”? In Calabria we are outraged by this unfortunate statement. Even the mayor of the capital city intends to take legal action. Would you like to clarify your thoughts?
Best regards.
Saverio Basile
St. John in Flower

Dear Saverio,
I have already had the opportunity to clarify with the mayor of Catanzaro Nicola Fiorita, in a live radio broadcast, that is, within the space of La Zanzara, a program hosted by Giuseppe Cruciani and David Parenzo, that I am very sorry that Calabrian women, especially those of Catanzaro, felt offended by my words. Since repetita iuvant, I reiterate: it was not my intention to denigrate either the waitresses or the Calabrian ladies, and yet I am perfectly aware that someone may have misinterpreted a saying similar to the perhaps most popular one that goes: the housewives of Voghera. I have never heard these housewives complain about having become a symbol of the obvious.

I am not used to apologizing for my statements, so I do not intend to contravene my style and I hope that this sterile polemic ends with a laugh. I do not harbor any reasons for resentment towards the Calabrians, among whom I have many friends and some affectionate girlfriends, proud, dignified, simple people, just like us Bergamo people, people I like. I do not like my words, even if they may have seemed inappropriate to some, to be exploited to ignite old conflicts that should be overcome, such as the opposition between citizens of the North and citizens of the South. For me there is only one people, the Italians, and only one Nation, Italy. My alleged anti-Southernism, an accusation that has been leveled at me for a long time, is nothing more than a preconception that I can no longer tolerate. Of course, comparing Salis in negative terms to the waitresses from Catanzaro has done nothing but perhaps corroborate this prejudice against me, but deep down I don’t care. Southern women, strong and maternal, have always been the backbone of Italy as a whole. As a child, I admired their ability to prepare rich and tasty meals with the few ingredients available. They seemed to me like alchemists, sorceresses, magicians.

Divine beings. I watched them, captivated by their wonders. It was the immediate post-war period and my greatest joy was to go to Molise in the summer to visit my uncles, staying with them for weeks. I spent the whole winter in Bergamo Alta with this expectation, waiting to finally reach my beloved South. Those are perhaps the places where I was happiest. In those places and among those people.

And as for the maids, I myself have done the most humble jobs, suffice it to say that I washed the stairs of the condominiums and I am not ashamed of it, indeed I am proud of it. Snobbery does not suit me, I am a simple man, who takes care of himself, yes, who cares to always appear tidy, elegant, above all out of respect for himself, but who prefers the company of people like him, people of the people. Those who boast of noble birth or who show off their vanity have always bored me, they smell of pretense, and I have always been careful not to become like them, even if I were to become rich, which is not a fault, if anything it is a merit.

That said, I would like to make a necessary observation.

Why is it that if we use the expression “housewife from Voghera” no one rises up and tears their clothes at the discrimination and insults that have been put in place, while if we say generically “housewife from Catanzaro” we end up in the media mincer, suffering threats of lawsuits and of every other kind as well as insults and slander? Perhaps the ladies of the North can be insulted and those of the South cannot be mentioned? And this, dear Saverio, is not discrimination?