A Trip to Castellaneta - by Jean Walker
Following a recent statement that my ambition is to visit all the places I know of associated with Rudolph Valentino and since I am turned eighty, I decided that immediately is a good time to begin and what better place to start than Rudy's birthplace, Castellaneta in Italy? Before I go any further, I should like to say how very much I am indebted to W. H. whose article in the Spring 2005 Newsletter helped me so very much since it contains lots of valuable information and advice for my visit, which took place in March of this year.
The very next morning we rose early and took a train for Castellaneta. A pleasant and comfortable journey of approximately one hours duration and just as Wayne had said, a small local bus was waiting to take us to the town centre for a modest fee.
Continuing further along Via Roma, on the right hand side, we come to No. 116, the building in which Rudy was born and where he lived until the age of nine at which time the family moved to Taranto.
This edifice, which I believe is of 19th century construction, is quite imposing and very pleasing to the eye though it does have about it a slight air of neglect, in need of a minor facelift to restore it to its former splendour. Even so it was with a thrill of excitement that at last I was able to gaze at length on the house where it all began on 6 May, 1895. We were able to examine both the front and the back of the property at leisure. On the wall at the front of the building is an elaborate bronze plaque of pleasing design, bearing in Italian the words "Rodolfo Valentino nome che in terra lontano significo Arte e Belleza Italica".
Commemorative plaque at 116 Via Roma
St. Domenico Cathedral (undergoing restoration)
Via Municipio, 19 Castellaneta, Taranto 74011 - Italy
Phone: +39 (0)99 8497236