The term "pacchiana" indicates one of the typical costumes of Calabria. This term must be understood not only the peasant woman, but generally the woman of modest conditions as opposed to the lady who dresses according to the fashion of Naples.

The 'pacchiana' costume is not the same in all countries, but in every community it presents variations. In San Giovanni in Fiore the costume of the "Pacchiana" takes the name of "rituortu" which is a white linen headpiece from which the traditional dress interior takes its name.

The dress, which dates back to 1600, was worn when the girl had turned 15-16 years and was therefore considered by the family, ready for marriage. Precious jewels and some jewels were given to her daughter, while the most important jewels, among which the "Jennacca" stands out, were to be received in dowry by the future husband.

"U rituartu" descends along the shoulders up to the height of the shoulder blades. In the mourning period of the woman, "u rituartu" white is replaced by an equal in form but entirely in black, taking the name of manniel. Also during the mourning period all the ornaments were removed, especially the precious ones in gold, while the "jennacca" was removed only in the event of bereavement of the consort or of close relatives. Valuables were replaced by simpler ones, mostly from pearls.

From this short story we can see how, in popular culture, both the colors of the costume and the jewels had a strong symbolic value, and when the "pacchiana" was colored and bejeweled it was, without a doubt, a day of celebration!

As Norman Douglas wrote in Old Calabria: "... to see women in their full splendor, you have to choose a Sunday or a holiday, it is also advisable to go to the source of Saint Lucia ... their natural graces are highlighted by elaborate ornaments of very fine taste and pretty hairstyles with two pendants hanging in front of the ears ... »

Giovambattista Spadafora has always valued the traditional costume of his hometown by sponsoring events and bringing the "Pacchiana" around exhibitions and cultural events around the world, being able to take advantage of an impressive collection of antique jewelry that belong to his family for centuries.

For more information:

U Ritùartu