Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Abruzzi (ah-BREWT-see). Region of south-central Italy on the eastern side of the country, opposite Rome and near the Adriatic Sea. An area of plains, hills, and mountains, it is the setting for all the volumes in Silone’s Abruzzi Trilogy. Silone chose this region because he was born in southern Abruzzi in Pescina and because he needed a poor region in which to set his novels of peasant, or cafoni, life. Abruzzi is an area of vast feudal estates where a large number of cafoni eke out a subsistence farming a harsh, unforgiving terrain. Most of the peasants live in squalid one-room houses with their livestock, who provide a needed source of heat in the winter. It is also an area isolated from the outside world and therefore still primitive socially, politically, and religiously. Since Bread and Wine is about exploitation in a rural region, the Abruzzi provides an exemplary locale for the novel.


*Pietrasecca (pee-eh-trah-SEHT-chah). Remote Italian village nestled in the hills of Abruzzi. Pietro Spina, a communist agitator, retreats there disguised as a priest seeking the mountain air for his lungs. Silone’s depiction of the poverty, superstition, and isolation experienced by the local cafoni carries the social message of the novel. The locals are depicted in many ways as grotesques, even though Silone clearly feels compassion for their plight. Here, Pietro...

(The entire section is 528 words.)