THE LEGEND OF THE BARON
In the centre of Scanzano
Jonico there is a beautiful
building called 'The Baron
Palace' built a few
THE LEGEND OF THE BARON PALACE
This is the story of a little spirit in the form of a gnome that enjoys having
fun with people.
The origin of the legend comes from Lucanian Folklore and also from the
ancient history of Rome, where they considered the spirits to be
protectors of houses and families.
According to the legend the Monachicchio is the spirit of a child who died
before his baptism.
His great power lies in the big red hat (u'cuppulicch) that he wears all the
The Monachicchio appears to adults but mostly to children with whom he
plays games and chases arround.
If you take his big red hat the spirit will lose his powers and will beg,
plead, and promise to show you the secret places where he keeps his
treasure hidden underground just to get it back.
The Monachicchio lives in a cave full of gold and treasure and when you
steal his hat you can take the gold coins hidden inside.
He plays pranks on you like tickling your feet while you sleep, pulling the
bed clothes off you and licking the faces of young girls etc.
Even the writer Carlo Levi in his book on Basilicata, talks about the
Monachicchio and his funny and insufferable adventures.
From the class IIC Istituto Comprensivo di Scanzano Jonico
A legend of the area
LAVINIA AND THE MONACHICCHIO
A COMEDY IN FOUR ACTS
SCENE I : Lavinia and the Monachicchio.
SCENE II : Lavinia and her grandma.
SCENE III : Lavinia and the gnome.
SCENE IV : Lavinia and her friends. Finale
Suddenly the Monachicchio appears to Lavinia
Lavinia: You frightened me! Who are you?
Monachicchio: I’m a gnome and I like to play nasty tricks.
Be careful or you’ll be my next victim.
Lavinia: You’re joking, little thing. If I pushed you I could make you fly away.
Monachicchio: But you have to catch me first!
( they run after each other )
Lavinia: Ouch! You stepped on my foot!
Monachicchio: That’s nothing you wait and see what I’m going to do to your arm.
Lavinia: That hurts! You pinched my arm!
Monachicchio: That was funny! Ahhahahahahaha!
Lavinia: Yuck! How dare you lick my cheek!
Monachicchio: I’m the gnome and I do what I like
Lavinia: Please, stop it and leave me alone!
Monachicchio: Ok. I’m going to the
stables to tie the horses’ tails together but believe me, tonight I’m
coming to your room and I’ll play tricks on you again.
In the kitchen. Lavinia and her Grandmother.
Grandmother: What happened to my little granddaughter? You look thin! You have
bags under your eyes! Is there something worrying you?
Lavinia: Grandma, I’ve got a big problem.
Grandmother: What kind of problem? Why don’t you tell me?
Lavinia: I don’t know how to explain, I’m sure you won’t believe me…..there is a
gnome that will not leave me in peace. At night, this gnome takes
my blanket off, pinches me, licks my cheek and pushes me out of bed.
I’m tired, I can’t stand him anymore!
Grandmother: I do believe you. It happened to me when I was your age. The gnome you
are talking about is called the Monachicchio.
Lavinia: Yes, that’s him, that’s his name!
Grandmother: You should know that the Monachicchio is very dangerous. He loves
playing nasty tricks on children.
People say he’s the spirit of a child that lives in an underground cave full
of treasure. He usually promises to give you a lot of riches, but actually
he wants to take your soul.
Lavinia: Help me grandma, How can I get rid of him?
Grandmother: There is only one thing that you can do: steal his red hat.
Lavinia: Oh that’s very easy to do!
Grandmother: That’s not true ! The Monachicchio is very very fast. Once you have
taken his hat, he will kneel down and promise you anything you want.
Lavinia: (gives a kiss to her grandmother)
Thanks grandma for your advice, if he comes into my room tonight, I’ll
steal his red hat and……..I hope everything goes well.
LAVINIA TRICKED THE GNOME
(Lavinia is sleeping in her room when the Monachicchio appears)
Monachicchio : What fun! Come on, wake up! Can you see me?
I’m your nightmare. Are you still sleeping? Or you are
dead! Let me see, let me check…….
(he leans over her to check, but suddenly Lavinia takes his hat)
Monachicchio: I beg you, Lavinia, give me my hat back, I’ll do anything you want,
Just ask me.
Lavinia: No my friend. Now it’s my turn to have fun. Kneel down and stay
till tomorrow morning.
LAVINIA AND HER FRIENDS
( The following morning, Giorgia and Renata, two of Lavinia’s friends, knock at her door to go to school).
Giorgia: Lavinia, hurry up, we must go to school.
Renata: Please, we don’t want to be late again, today!
Lavinia: Calm down girls, something happened.
Giorgia: What happened?
Renata: Come on don’t keep us in suspence. Tell us.
Lavinia: I want to introduce to you a very “special friend “ of mine.
Giorgia: Who is it? I can’t see anybody. You are very mysterious.
I don’t understand you.
Lavinia: Calm down Giorgia , don’t be so impatient. He isn’t a human being,
He’s a gnome. Look at the foot of my bed, you can see him.
Giorgia: Oh that’s true. You weren’t joking. Look, he’s so funny, so short
And has got red cheeks like an apple.
Renata: But why is he shaking?
Lavinia: Because without his hat he is helpless.
Monachicchio: I beg you, give me my hat back.
Lavinia: What will you do in return for me?
Monachicchio: Whatever you want, all the riches that I have I’ll give to you.
Renata and Giorgia: How wonderful! We’ll be rich!!!
Lavinia: No, I don’t want anything from him, I want to be left alone in peace.
If you promise to disappear I’ll give you your hat back.
Monachicchio: I promise from the bottom of my heart.
Lavinia: So, here is your hat and now go away.
(the Monachicchio takes his hat and disappears as if by magic)
Renata: But why have you done that? You’re so naïve!!!
Giorgia: He was worth a fortune!
Lavinia: You, my friends, are silly and can’t understand. Peace has no price!
All the gold in this world couldn’t buy it.
Let’s go to school now that’s better!!!