Le Cioce Posted by Serena on Feb 23, 2009 in Italian Language
I recently read an article in the magazine ‘Acqua & Sapone’ about the region known as Ciociaria and was inspired to add it to my ever growing list entitled ‘Places that I must explore in Italy’. Ciociaria is a loosely defined region comprising approximately the northern half of the Provincia di Frosinone which is located in central Italy south of Rome and north of Naples.
I found it particularly interesting to discover that the origins of the region’s name and that of its inhabitants, who are known as Ciociari, come from an ancient type of footwear called la ciocia.
La ciocia, plural cioce, was the traditional footwear of the contadini (peasants) and pastori (shepherds), being worn by both men and women alike. It consists of a tough treated leather sole which is bound to the foot and ankle by means of leather thongs. It was traditionally worn with long calze (socks) which reached up to the knee length trousers worn by men, whilst the women would wear a long skirt that mostly covered the socks. Apparently these shoes are very comfortable, being extremely flexible, well ventilated, and adapting well to all types of terrain, although I don’t think I’d fancy wearing them in deep mud!
The name ciocia comes from the Latin root soccus from which we also get the word zoccolo meaning clog, as in the carved wooden footwear. Zoccolo is, incidentally, also the name we use for an animals hoof. These days of course le cioce are not seen very often outside of a museum, but they are still apparently worn by the zampognari, the itinerant musicians who travel the region of Ciociaria playing the traditional zampogna, a kind of primitive bagpipe. They are also worn during some of the many folklore pageants of which we Italians are so fond.
Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.