Hidden treasures

Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Local Traditions

Piero Carbonetti and his tin drum

Subversive, persecuted, anarchist, homeless, dreamer: it is really difficult to define Piero Carbonetti, Tuscan bred and born and Garibaldi supporter, a legendary character known by everybody.



A constant presence in the towns of Cetona and Sarteano, although he worked as an umbrella maker, he always lived thanks to the solidarity of his villagers, sleeping under the stars or inside the furnace of the farms. A wacky dreamer, he claimed to have been Garibaldi' mascot... for sure it was that for the Italian infantry soldiers, who often gave him hospitality and new clothes!

Accompanied by his dog Rosina and wearing the inevitable breeches, Piero Carbonetti, used to walk into Cetona rolling his legendary tin drum, and he was often seen crying moved at the War Memorial.

The lack of a family and the persecution by the public authorities, caused him much suffering. From an unknown father, Carbonetti gave credence to the rumors that were circulating in the town and that claimed he was the illegitimate son of a noble man from Cetona. Convinced of this, he often went to the villa of his alleged father shouting his right to be recognized: eventually, our poor hero was forcibly removed from Cetona, jailed on accusations of disturbing the public peace and boarded a ship bound for Latin America ... but just as someone shouted victory, here is a drum roll and shortly after, at the horizon, Piero Carbonetti himself appeared, followed by his dogs and the village kids!

Ordinary people regarded him as a persecuted, a free spirit, a simple and extremely good person. Right minded people regarded him instead as a dangerous subversive, so that mothers, to quiet the children, used to say 'Go to sleep or I'll call Carbonetti who will take you away!'

After more than 50 years after his death - which occurred in Cetona in 1945 - the memory of Carbonetti is very sharp in those places so much that, in 1991, the Cetona musician Italo Ventosi dedicated to him a highly successful Bruscello staged in Piazze and in 2010, the director Lauro Crociani made a short film called 'Piero Carbonetti – A vagabond'.

If you drive through Cetona, listen closely ... in the distance, you could hear the noise of his tin drum ...

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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