Dicono di lui...

"THE HARTFORD TIMES" (23 maggio 1974)

"Paesani"  Welcome Their Own Mayor

Santo Cugno, the mayor of Canicattini Bagni, was sitting in St. Lucia Hall on Franklin avenue ad talking about his visit here and why he came and the "why" part was very simple.

"To visit my paesani", (countrymen) he said.
And, oh, does he have paesani here. Hundreds of them.
Thousands of them. Maybe up to 20,000 of them, first generation, second generation, third generation, fourth generation. No one really knows how many paesani Santo Cugno has here. But there are a lot of them.
And in case the name of Canattini Bagni does not strike a chord it is because you are not versed in the history of the city of Hartford. Not the old-old history. The history of this century, starting just as the century was starting.
At that time there came to Hartfor, as part of the great Italian migration from the old to the new country, one Sebasiano Melluzzo. He had left his town for the same reasons that thousands of others had left the old country, and hundreds of thousands were to leave. They were poor. There were no jobs. And across the Mediterranean, and then the Atlantic, there was a land of opportunity.
Melluzzo's town was Canicattini Bagni, a town just off the southern coast of Sicily, a few dozen kilometers from the sea and the city of Siracusa. It was a pleasant town, with no piazza but a long main street where the people of the town could stroll. It was also very, very poor. The main crop in the surrounding hills was olives,for oil.
So Sebastiano Melluzzo left Cancattini Bani for the long trip by ship to America. Why he came to Hartford is rather shrouded in mystery, but he was a true pioneer, Someone had to come first.
And after Melluzzo, came wavers of Canicattines, following the normal pattern of Italian emigration. You went to a city where you had a relaive, a friend, someone in any case who could help out the greenhorn. Hartford just happened to be the chief city where the people of Canicattini Bagni settled .They followed each other.
A generation ago, there were three separate Canicattini Bagni societies in the city. Now there are only two, but the spriti of the town in Italy still very much lives on here.
Mayor Cugno's interpreter while he is here is a latter-day emigrant. He is Sebastian Sbriglio who came over here 7 and half years ago. The Canicattinesi still leave their town.
Mayor Cugno's visit to Hartford is not an official one. He paid his own way. It was, he says, just something he felt he should do since many other mayors from Italy and Sicily have paid visits to towns in the United States that absorbed their people over the decades. He just wanted to visit his paesani here, including his nephew, Another latter-day emmigrant from the town in Sicily.
He also wanted to bring a little message that things are well in Canicattini Bagni and that after three quarters of a century of losing its young people, the movement out may stop.
Canicattini Bagni today has only about 8,000 people. When Sebastiano Melluzzo left it 75 years ago it had about 9,000. A dozen years ago it had 12.000.
But, says Mayor Cugno, the newest exodus may be halted because a giant industrial concern is building a new plant nearby, connected by a good road.
It will mean, he says, that now the young people of his town will not have to go elsewhere, as they have done since the century dawned, for jobs. Now perhaps they will stay.
Actually Mayor Cugno rather personifies the native of Canicattini Bagni who was most likely to leave his town. It just happened that he didn't go.
When he was born 58 years ago, boys of southern Sicily could expect four years, of schooling and that is what he got. Then he went to work as a barber. He was a prime case for getting out.
Instead, he went into the army. Then he decided to get an education. He became a school teacher.
Today he is a man of immense dignity who smiles when reminded that ht looks quite like actor Vittorio De Sica. He is a mayor by morning and night and a school teacher by afternoon, and he confesses that some of the latter day ramifications of life outside of Canicattini Bagni shock him a bit.
Mini-skirts for instance. " It is the sickness of the century," said the mayor.
He also says that even though life in his town might still be rigid, there are changes. He confesses that his son is a capelloni. That"s a long hair.
And he is here to visit all those people who left his town, the ones that left long ago and the ones that left perhaps only recently, such as his nephew who only came here in 1971.
There are so many of them.
There will be a dinner in the mayor's honor.


Bill Ryan

Il "CAMMINO" (21 novembre 1993)

Il "Museo Privato" di Santo Cugno Arguzie e proverbi di Canicattini

La sete del recupero delle proprie radici culturali e l'ansia della conservazione della memoria storica hanno ampliato il significato del termine museo. (LEGGI TUTTO)

Carmelo Tuccitto


LE PAROLE COME STORIA - Recuperare il nostro linguaggio

Il 22 gennaio, nella sala consiliare del comune, è stato presentato davanti ad un folto pubblico il libro "Museo privato" (editore Flaccavento) del nostro concittadino Santo Cugno. Sull'opera hanno parlato....

Opera storica nel senso più ampio del termine dunque, quella che ha fatto Cugno, ma anche lavoro di recupero di un sapere antico, dato che in essa si riflette la saggezza della società contadina "da cui traiamo le nostre origini e di cui forse non ci sentiamo più figli", come con amarezza conclude l'autore. (LEGGI TUTTO)

Vincenzo Ficara

"LA VOCE DI CANICATTINI" (settembre 1994)

UN GENTILUOMO ALL'ANTICA - Ricordo di Santo Cugno

Non conoscevo Santo Cugno prima della pubblicazione del suo aureo libretto che s'intitola "Museo Privato". Pur avendo avuto egli interessi culturali, avendo prestato la sua opera e la sua esperienza anche al compianto Antonino Uccello, suo compaesano, non m'era mai capitato di incontrarlo nel mio itinerario, lungo la mia strada. (LEGGI TUTTO)

Enzo Papa

"LA SICILIA" (11 luglio 2001)

Un "Museo privato" nell'era del computer

Se è vero, come è vero, che il nostro futuro affonda irrimediabilmente le radici nel nostro passato, questo libro di Santo Cugno intitolato "Museo privato" edito da Flaccavento va guardato non solo con tenerezza ma anche con attenzione culturale. (LEGGI TUTTO)

Aldo Formosa