Last February I spent some days in lovely Naples with an old friend from school. Neither of us had been there before and we were up for some nice pizza and some exploration. It was a good call for our plan as Naples is full of exciting discoveries as it turned out.
Something that we both noticed quite immediately were the red pointed figures hanging everywhere. They looked a bit like red peppers and were attached to nearly every door or hanging from a wall in most restaurants or shops.We started getting curious so we asked a shopkeeper about them and he told us that those are ‚corni‘: It’s actually a phallus symbol and shall prevent misfortune which is brought by so-called ‚Jettatore‘. Fascinated by this piece of information we googled ‚Jettatore‘ as soon as we were sitting in the next Osteria.
The popular belief is that Jettatore (or Jettatrici) are people – mostly men – having ‚the evil eye‘ and bring bad luck without being bad themselves. Usually they are bourgeois, have a long thin physique and are very pale. Having the reputation of being a Jettatore is a cruel fate. Such people end up isolated and often lose their whole social surrounding.
Dalida (who would have celebrated her 86th birthday today!) had the reputation of having the evil eye.
She and her boyfriend Luigi Tenco both took part in the Sanremo festival where they both sang the song ‚Ciao amore, ciao‘. When the jury decided that non of the two will be in the final, Tenco wrote a farewell letter and commited suicide by shooting himself.
After this event Dalida suffered from depressions and had a comeback first, followed by another crisis after Richard Chandray, another boyfriend of hers, had commited suicide as well. In the end, her body was found in her house by a domestic worker – she had taken barbiturates to end her dramatic life which she could no longer bear.