The word catóju comes from the Greek catagheou and means a room on ground floor or in the basement.
The changes in the use of the catóju has gone hand in hand with the social and economical transformation of the village.
In the past the catoju was reputed even more important than the house itself.
It was used as store for the agricultural tools, as stable for the livestock (especially goats and sheep) and as store with the function of producing, transforming and preserving food. There women used to prepare tomato sauce, pigs were butchered, sausages were stored. Even the olive oil of their own trees and the wine of their own small vineyard were proudly kept in it.
“The catóju was the place where the production world and the preserving world met, the space between land and home. The catóju was the point of confluence and of mediation between the masculine and the feminine world. Women had the function to accumulate, save, preserve, keep and transform what men produced with their work.“
Nowadays, the agricultural production and the transformation of the agricultural products have decreased, so the catóju has lost almost the totality of its functions, by solely keeping its storing function and getting, through a renovation process, a meeting place during the days of celebration, when inevitably the good Badolatese wine is present. The wine acts as trait d’union between past and present.
In some cases the catoja even turned into wonderful restaurants or b&b’s with an atmosphere from ancient times, by acting as an example of investments in the slow and rural tourism sector of the old Italian villages.
On a lucky day, you will even find some musicians which will accompany your toasts in the old times honor.
Sonia Simpatico – JUMP TEAM
Sources: Giampiero Scaccia, Dottorato di Ricerca “Mito, rito e pratiche simboliche” XXV ciclo, Le forme dell´abitare. Badolato tra abbandono e costruzione d´identitá, Anno accademico 2013 – 2014, pag. 84
Pictures: Franco Muiá
Erika Gerardini for JUMP Association
Facebook Page of Catojo Lo Spinetto of Badolato