Did the Pitei monster ever exist? Truth and legend revealed
“Who are you?” “’The Pitei Monster!”. In this local rhyming doggerel is all we know about the popular legendary character of the Pitelli Monster. Truth or legend?
In La Spezia and surroundings there are at least two characters that everyone knows: Strina and “The Monster from Pitelli”. Both are in between reality and legend, and no one can settle the ball of what is the real version of their story. About what is known about Strina’s life – even if with some difficulties – we have already written, pulling the strings of what is said of de Monster from Pitei (in Italian, the Mostro of Pitelli, a small town in the municipality of La Spezia) is even more difficult. But we try.
“E chi t’ei?” “’R Mostro de Pitei!”
Let’s start with reliable data. Throughout the province of La Spezia, when someone says something that seems incredible to others (or undertakes to do something that others do not believe feasible), the question is almost automatic:“e chi t’ei?”.
Almost foregone the answer: “’r Mostro de Pitei!”.
The exchange, which has become a chant, looks like a way for cutting a speech in which you already know that each one will stay on their positions.
Did he ever exist?
But who is really this monster of Pitelli? It really exist or its existence is limited to the rhyme of the tongue twister?
Like all the popular legends, including that of the Monster of Pitelli there is not certain guarantee about its origin. Digging a bit ‘on the network, taking advantage of what is written by the Local Pitelli Association, we found three different versions.
A first explanation would take the tradition of the Monster of Pitei as a response to an insult. According to some, in fact, everything would start from an inhabitant of Pitelli – the classic “village idiot” – that one day, in response to an insult on his ugliness, he said: “Do look at yourself! You look like the Pitelli Monster!“.
Not much different is a second version. At the origin of all, there would be some Sandro, a typical rural blowhard able to boast of incredible stories and adventures. One day, the good Sandro would tell – in the village pub – that the night before, while he was crossing the Pagliari road (one between La Spezia and Pitelli) to get home, he was attacked by a bear. How did he save himself? First hiding in the cemetery and then scaring the beast away “to the sound of slaps”. It was at this point that those who listened to the story, no longer able to hold back laughter, came up with the famous words: “E chi t’ei? ‘R Mostro de Pitei?”
According to a third and final version, however, the legend of the monster Pitei would be attributable to the presence in the countryside around Pitelli of an old hermit named Marino. According to some, the famous “Monster de Pitei” would be just him.
Further details, however, are lost in the fog or maybe they are hidden in the caves of Pitelli are. But this is another story.