This village, initially born as a purely rural village, was used as a Tannery around the eighteenth century, due to the particular characteristics of the area, favorable to the processing of leather tanning. The presence of a water source near the village, given by the Masera torrent, the presence of plants in the surrounding hills rich in tannins, such as the Sommacco and, finally, the presence of hills around the village in an optimal position for drying the leathers are some of the reasons why it was decided to make Cunziria here.
The buildings of the pre-existing rural village were then re-adapted to better carry out the profession of leather tanning. Walking through the streets of Cunziria you can see how each building was a home-laboratory, in the sense that the ground floor was dedicated to leather processing, while the upper floor was for residential purposes.
It can also be noted that in each laboratory there are several basins dug into the rock, made for cleaning for the treatment of leathers.
Going up the village you can even see the ruins of the church dedicated to San Eligio, probably a Roman building.
It should also be borne in mind that the generally brick or reddish color of the buildings is due to the fact that each house was built with the local rock: a calcareous rock with a ferruginous color.
The activity of leather processing began to fail in the early 1920s. In these years the village began to become depopulated, until it was completely abandoned in the 1960s. Nowadays this area is very popular because it was the scene of the highlight of the novella Cavalleria Rusticana by Giovanni Verga, in which appears the duel between Alfio and Turiddu, in which each other defend his honor. It must be said that Verga, being Vizzini’s, took inspiration for several of his writings based on the scenography of the place.
Now the village of Cunziria appears to be left to itself in a muffled state, almost like a small favor box containing a reality not so far from ours, simply before our birth, but still current.
Entire video, subtitled in english:
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