“Il tintinnio dei monatti”

Albumleaf 177: January 13, 2021 (Bologna)

“The Ringing of the Dead-Gatherers”

During the plague of 1630, the groups of men who went around collecting the sick and dead in Milan were called “monatti,” and they wore little bells on their ankles to signal their approach. In Manzoni’s The Betrothed, the monatti are often inebriated and pass flasks of wine among themselves. At one point, they encounter a young mother who entreats them to take her dying baby and to return later that day to collect her.