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2013 April

Archives for April 2013

Castellaneta: Valentino’s Birthplace

Although it’s been almost eight years since I was there, several things really stand out for me about Castellaneta: its geography, the architecture, and the warm, openhearted nature of the people I encountered.

A town with approx 17K population, Castellaneta is situated on a rolling plain, maybe 35km from the port of Taranto, which is where the Guglielmi family moved to when Rudy was nine. What is unique about it, geographically, is that there are deep ravines that abut, great slashes in the earth. The old part, especially, perches on the side of a giant ravine, and is much higher than the surrounding land.

This was never a rich town like some others in Italy. Nevertheless, there are architectural gems, in particular the churches. Via Roma, the main street, has a lot of 19th century commercial buildings that line it, mostly two and three story, and it is there, at # 116 that Rudy was born, in a second floor flat. In the 1930’s, a Valentino fan club from Cincinnati had a bronze plaque put on the building to commemorate Rudy’s birth place. Farther down Via Roma, there is a monument to Rudy, built in 1961, a statue of him as The Sheik. The Fondazione Valentino, which supports Museo Valentino, is now seeking funds to restore it.

One of the fun facts about Castellaneta is that so many businesses use Valentino in their names. Bar Valentino, Teatro Valentino, Ristorante Valentino, etc. I stayed in Hotel Rudy, for example.

Museo Valentino is great. It’s located in a former convent, 18th century construction with concave ceilings. There are lots of documents, like his report card and birth certificate, a bed he once slept in, a fragment from the tent in “Son of the Sheik,” photos, videos, and much, much more.

All this and the locals are super nice! My experience was that they really went out of their way to be helpful.

Easy to get to Castellaneta by train; it’s on the main line, Bari to Taranto. The station is out in the countryside now, about 2 or 3 km from town. The old station is still there, however, on Via Roma, also the single track that led to the nearby RR bridge designed by Rudy’s engineer grandfather, Pierre Barbin.

Wayne Hatford

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Valentino the Unforgotten” ~ Review

A few years ago, Tracy Terhune, author of “Valentino Forever” and facilitator of the yearly Valentino Memorial Service at Hollywood Memorial Cemetery, re-published “Valentino the Unforgotten” by Roger Peterson, a rare book whose few remaining copies are almost never available on the open market.

Roger worked at the cemetery in the 1920’s and 30’s and details, through personal observation and letters he received during that time, what profound effects visiting Rudy’s crypt often had on people. He also reports on instances of communication, Rudy speaking from Beyond, primarily in dreams, to some of these same individuals, as guide, mentor, teacher.

Because my work is based on the premise that Rudy and, indeed, all those in spirit, can and often do communicate with us in a variety of ways, I found many of the letters to be particularly poignant as their authors share how Rudy, his essence, made an impact on them.

This book is both treasure trove and time capsule. Written with profound respect for Rudolph Valentino and his memory, Peterson includes, among other things, excerpts from “My Diary,” quotes about Rudy from his peers, and three analyses of his personality based on handwriting, numerology, and astrology provided by experts in those fields.

Among those, I think you will find the handwriting analysis to be an especially interesting read. In terms of numerology, Rudy is a seven, the sum of 5+6+1+8+9+5, his birth date. The astrologer uses a 3AM birth time to calculate Rudy’s chart, and the internet gives his birth time as both 3AM and 3PM depending on which website you consult. In visiting Museo Valentino in Castellaneta, I discovered that his birth certificate, on display there, shows a 10:03AM birth time. This means his ascendant is 2 degrees Leo. Leo rules the heart and love is what Rudy always exuded, on screen and off. The rising sign speaks to how we interface with the world.

On top of all these goodies, we also are treated to many wonderful photos, of Rudy, and those who came to visit after his passing.

“Valentino the Unforgotten” is a loving tribute to a star that will never stop shining. A must-read for any Valentino fan, it is available on Amazon.com.

Wayne Hatford