“Fuitina” was born as a form of romantic protest in 19th century Sicily.This private revolt consisted in the voluntary estrangement by two lovers, whose love was opposed by their families which did not give their authorization to marry because no one would marry a woman who was not untouched.The two lovers came to an agreement through cards, handed over by their accomplices, up to the moment of escape.They were often housed in grandmothers or aunts’ homes.The next day the girl’s family was warned and, after the true or presumed scene of anger against the boy, an agreement was reached with the family of the “kidnapper” until the celebration of the much desired marriage.
But like every choice, even the “fuitina” had consequences of some importance, especially for women.The girl who ran away with her beloved would be judged as a sinner and as such she lost all rights and duties: her family was no longer obliged to add to the wedding expenses, nor to provide for her trousseau.
Very often, however, this type of behavior was not dictated by thwarted love, but rather by purely economic reasons (therefore less romantic). It happened that, due to the lack of money, couples who had been engaged for years had to wait a long time before being able to get married, for example, while waiting for the marriage of the other brothers, families tended to be numerous, first the women married, then the males, all in order of age which is why the aspiring spouses chose the “fuitina”. But it was not good for everyone: The first woman to revolutionize the idea of fuitina and shotgun marriage was Franca Viola, a Sicilian of just 18, who was kidnapped by the son of a local criminal. Franca refused the shotgun marriage, rebelling against the idea of a submissive woman and her attacker was jailed. Guys are free to meet, get to know each other and get engaged while waiting for the wedding.