Beatrice di Pian degli Ontani: the poetess-shepherdessBig Names
Beatrice di Pian degli Ontani: the poetess-shepherdess
If you happened to visit the village of Pian degli Ontani, which is located in the Pistoia mountains near Abetone, you would discover a unique route made of stops consisting of large boulders. On each of these stones there is an octave, a rhymed composition by Beatrice di Pian Degli Ontani, also known as the poetess-shepherdess. Hers is a fascinating story that contains all the genuine flavor of times gone by.
Beatrice Bugelli was born in 1802 in Conio, a village in the municipality of Cutigliano and she didn’t exactly have an easy childhood. She was soon an orphan of mother, so she often followed her father who was a shepherd in the Maremma region. She never went to school, and was thus illiterate, but as she tells us in one of her poems she learned by hoeing and cutting wood. So how is it that an illiterate shepherdess who lived in the mountains became a poetess known throughout Tuscany?
From an early age, while she was working she spent her time singing stories that rhymed... She used to sing 'strambotti': short poems, usually octaves in hendecasyllables, mostly of an amorous or playful theme, which were recited or sung over melodies and easy motifs. Beatrice was so good that she began to perform at parties and weddings and slowly her fame extended over much of Tuscany. They even called her to the noble homes of Florence, even though she always remained the simple person she was – so much so that she never stopped being a shepherdess!
Despite this, scholars wanted to know her and devoted themselves to the study of her compositions. Niccolo' Tommaseo, the scholar of popular poetry Giuseppe Tigri, the writers Massimo D'Azeglio and Giuseppe Giusti, the philologist Michele Barbi and the linguist Gianbattista Giuliani all took interested in her talent.
It’s a beautiful story, isn’t it? Are you fascinated by stories like these that tell of the richness of times gone by? Then you should definitely take a look at our section on 'Tours of Tuscany’s Villages. Our guides, walking through alleys and ancient buildings, will be able to steal your hearts with many stories like the one of Beatrice di Pian degli Ontani.
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