Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Giant of Barletta

This week Mrs. Yollis' class continues with their unit on fantasy. The story of the week is called The Mysterious Giant of Barletta by Tomie dePaola.

As luck would have it Chase's grandfather, named Nonno, has been to see the giant!
Nonno is our guest blogger.  He is Ben and Chase's  grandfather and currently lives in Italy.   
He shares his Italian travels with all of us! Enjoy his guest post!

We visited Barletta during our trip to Puglia after Mrs. Yollis told us you would be hearing a story about the Mysterious Giant of Barletta. We wanted to see the giant and take some pictures to share with you.

Barletta is also in Puglia, on the heel of Italy.

The giant statue is located right in the city on a busy street.

People park their cars in front of the statue, ride their bicycles past and also wait for the bus right by the statue.
The statue is more than five meters tall. Five meters is more than 16 feet. Here is a picture of Cecca right next to the base, or pedestal, of the statue so you can judge how tall the statue is.

And also took one of her standing on the pedestal near his leg. Cecca is one meter 54 centimeters tall.

Barletta has many farms and fields around the city where they grow grapes and olives. (Can you imagine the giant meeting Captain Minekion out here in one of these fields?)

Very close to Barletta is a place where they make salt from sea water.

Barletta is now a modern city, but years ago it was a city of the Roman Empire. Years ago the coast was often invaded so the people built a huge fort for protection. Now it has a modern harbor that is overlooked by the huge fort where people can visit.

Is That Luigi?
Movie stars can be seen near the statue.

Now the statue is called The Colossus of Barletta. Here is what the people of Barletta tell us about it.

The Colossus of Barletta is a bronze statue of the Early Middle Ages, hollow on the inside and over 5 meters high. It most probably represents an emperor or famous warrior as shown by his military uniform, his rich, imperial robe and the bejeweled crown on his head, trimmed with two strings of pearls. Maybe Hercules, maybe not.

We are not sure how the statue arrived in Barletta. According to one story the Venetians stole the statue from Constantinople. On the journey back to Venice, the ship was wrecked in a storm and the statue was found on the beach near Barletta. According to another story, the Colossus was discovered in Ravenna, north of Barletta. Transported by ship, it was brought to Barletta’s harbor, probably to be used in some celebration.  When the statue came to Barletta it did not have a base, that was built later so it would seem even taller.

What did you think of Nonno's guest blog post?

Write a comment as if you are the Giant of Barletta or Zia Concetta!

Do you know any Italian facts or any Italian words? 
Try using Google Translate!


  1. Dear Nono,

    My name is Peter and I am a neighbor of Ben, Chase, and Tanner. I play with the a lot, usually every other day. Ben and I and my little brother, Wyatt, like to throw the football together, trade sports cards, do Rainbow Loom, and we like to watch T.V. together. My little brother, Miles, loves to play superheroes with Tanner. Tanner is always Green Lantern, and Miles is usually Batman or Nightwing. Sometimes they will fight imaginary villains, or they will pretend I'm a villain and hit me with plastic swords.

    How do you like living in Italy?

    Do you know any Italian phrases you can teach us?

    Your friend,


    1. I like living in Italy. The food is great, the pizza is different that you have here in the USA. Grazie Mille for your comments and Buongiorno.A thousand thanks for your comments and good day. Nonno

    2. I like living in Italy. The food is great, the pizza is different that you have here in the USA. Grazie Mille for your comments and Buongiorno.A thousand thanks for your comments and good day. Nonno

  2. Dear The Mysterious Giant, the townspeople of Barletta, and Nonno,

    My name is Zia Concetta, and I am your friend. You have been outside my window, and I would say, "Every day, every night, for my whole lifetime, I've looked out the window, and there he is." Of course, "he is" is you, The Mysterious Giant. I am the eldest citizen of Barletta, and you have been out there for all the time I could even remember. Even when I am about to sleep, you are still out there on your pedestal. I would shout to you, “Buona notte, Colosso," which means, "Good night, Big One.”

    You are the delight for this town, Barletta. Kids play around your feet, young boys would sit at your feet, and tell jokes. After the young boys leave, the older boys would come an watch the girls walk by. All day long, doves would also fly around your head. I know what you think. You think that the nights are the most enjoyable, and you would think to yourself, "Ah, what a peaceful life." Then one day, the peaceful life for you was gone. Some invaders were going to destroy the town of Barletta! We quickly came up with a plan, and a good one too.

    I told the townspeople to give me the biggest onion that they could even find, and then I cut into halves. Sure enough, the onion was the biggest onion I ever saw. Then I told them to hide in a closet, an attic, a bedroom, or anywhere else. Just stay out of sight. After, you stepped off of your pedestal and marched to the invaders.

    You sat down and held those onion halves close to your eyes. Then you made sobbing noises. The captian was Captian Minckion. "Halt!" Captian Minckion ordered. The army halted. "What is that?" he asked to one of his lieutenants. "It looks like a boy - crying," he replyed. You, The Mysterious Giant, then told a lie. “Oh, sir,” said you said, sobbing, “I’m sitting out here, away from the town, because the other boys in school won’t let me play with them, They say I’m too small. They pick on me all the time. They call me names, like minuscolo and dobole – ‘tiny’ and ‘weakling.’ I’m always the last one chosen for games. Today they told me that if I tried to go to school they would beat me up. I hate being so small.” The army thought about how big he was, and if he was picked on being small, imagine how giant the other townspeople of Barletta were going to be! They drew out their swords and the captian shouted, "About face! Double-time - march!" They did what they were told to do, and marched away. You dryed your tears and went back to Barletta.

    I then called to the citizen, "The army is gone! Our Mysterious Giant saved us! You may now come out." They came out of their hiding spaces, and you climbed back on your pedestal.

    This night was a special one, so I said, “Buona notte, Colosso and grazie."

    Zia Concetta (Heather)

    1. Dear Zia Concetta,

      It is the Mysterious Giant of Barletta. It makes my day when I hear you say "Buona notte, Colosso" I hope one day I will get to have another special day just like this one.

      When I defended this town from the frighting army, I felt good inside my heart. When we heard about the army, we came up with a stellar plan. When we used cleaver word play, and magnificent acting, the army ran away, terrified.

      Are you grateful of not having the army coming to destroy us?


      The Mysterious Giant of Barletta


    2. Chloè and Àli the dovesDecember 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Dear the Mysterious Giant of Barletta,

      We adore you being brave enough to go against the army of a thousand men! Did they look terrifying?

      You said YOU were small, but look at the army. They looked so scared because of Zia Concetta's plan. Tough army. :-)

      We love laying on your head as much as any dove, but it's a little cold (good thing we have feathers.). Your architecture is very impressive. What is your real name (other than the Mysterious Giant)?

      Where did you really come from?

      Your calm friends,

      Chloè the Àli the doves

    3. Dear The Mysterious Giant of Barletta,

      I am extremely thankful for you. If this happened before Thanksgiving, the first thing I would be grateful is you. Without you and me, we would probably be destroyed and dead. I am the happiest citizen I have ever met, and you are the most helpful giant I have ever met too. You were the main part of our plan, but I came up with it. Together, we make a great team.

      You have saved our lives, many, many lives. My life, your life, Barletta's life, and the townspeople's life. I am full of gratitude for you, and you will always be a vast part of my life. Grazie!

      Zia C♥ncetta

      Now, here is my translation for the Italians:

      Caro Il misterioso gigante di Barletta,

      Sono estremamente grato per voi. Se questo è accaduto prima del Ringraziamento, la prima cosa sarei grato sei tu. Senza di te e di me, ci sarebbe probabilmente distrutto e morti. Sono il cittadino più felice che abbia mai incontrato, e tu sei il gigante più utile che abbia mai incontrato troppo. Eri la parte principale del nostro piano, ma mi si avvicinò con esso. Insieme, facciamo una grande squadra.

      Hai salvato la vita, molte, molte vite. La mia vita, la tua vita, la vita di Barletta, e la vita della gente del paese. Sono pieno di gratitute per voi, e vi sarà sempre una grande parte della mia vita. Grazie!

      Zia C♥ncetta

    4. Multo Buono Zia. I really like the story of the Colosso.

  3. Dear Nono and Mrs. Yollis,

    Hello! My name is Aarna, and I am Aashi's now 21 months baby sister.

    I'm READIER than ever to go to Italy! My family has already been there, but I wasn't

    born at that time. :(::

    I can tell you that I am the SMALLEST person in my family, just like the Mysterious
    Giant pretended to be. :O But that is who the GREATEST family member is, in my opinion. This is because I can grab all the attention to myself, and everybody will listen to me.

    Are you the youngest in your family? What is wonderful about being at the position that you are on in your family?


    Cara Nono e la signora Yollis,

    Ciao! Il mio nome è Aarna, e sono ora 21 mesi il bambino sorella di Aashi.

    Sono più pronto che mai di andare in Italia! La mia famiglia è già stato lì, ma non mi è nato in quel momento. : (::

    Posso dirvi che io sono il più piccolo smallest persona nella mia famiglia, proprio come il gigante misterioso finto di essere. : O
    Ma questo è che la più grande membro famiglia è, a mio parere.

    Sei il più giovane nella vostra famiglia? Che cosa è meravigliosa di essere nella posizione che siete nella vostra famiglia?

    Cordiali saluti,

    1. Dear Aarna,

      It's Miles, Peter's little 3 year old brother. You can type? So can I! I do like it when Peter lets me comment on Mrs. Yollis' blog, even if he's a little selfish. ;) I am the youngest member in my family, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I get all the attention, except if Peter or Wyatt gets an A+ on some type of test. ;)

      Have you ever stolen the spotlight from your family members?



    2. Ciao Aarna. I am the oldest child in my family, also the smartest and most handsome. Your Italian is so good I shall have to ask my wife Francesca translate it fore me. Francesca is Italian, the oldest child in her family and visited your classroom when Ben was in that grade.

  4. Dear Mysterious Giant,

    It is always nice laying down and sleeping on your colossal arm. The best part of my day is the best part of your day, and that is when Zia Conchetta says, "Buona notte, Colosso!" she says as she is going to bed.

    I was in a handful of dismay when the army was coming to invade Barletta, and we were weaklings... or at least we thought so. Thanks to you, it is over and now it is just as soothing as it was, and I think it feels like nothing changed.

    Were we correct when we talked about Zia talking to you before bed?


    Bryce and Jemma

  5. Dear Mysterious Giant of Barletta,

    You should remember me because I am Caption Minckion. You giant, you'll pay and I'll bring the biggest army of people I could find to defeat your giant army! Oh giant, you will pay the price! We will return to Barletta and destroy your town and only bits of tiles and scraps will be left of that town of yours!


    Caption Minkion (Darius)

  6. Old McDonald (Shayna and Samantha)December 5, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Dear Mysterious Giant,

    Thank you for all you have done to change the worrying behavior of Barletta. I don't think you remember me, so I will introduce myself. I am Old McDonald, the farmer who brought you that colossal onion. It was a pleasure participating in your plan.

    Thanks to you, doves will continue to coo themselves to sleep on your head and shoulders, the younger kids will tell jokes on your feet, the older boys can watch the older girls walk by, and the sisters from the church can look up at you and smile with joy.

    If the army will return, what would your next plan be?

    Your friend,
    Old McDonald

  7. Dear People of Barletta,

    Now we noticed you haved tricked us.We have a plan B
    and we will not tell you because it is a secret, hmm? well I guess
    I can tell you a little of it,we will hide in your village and attack.

    Cordiali saluti,
    Captain Minckhon

  8. Grazie tutto Ragazzi in the class. I am glad you enjoyed this story. What special meaning did you get from the story?

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis and Class,

    I really enjoyed the story "The Mysterious Giant of Barletta". Emi read the story to the whole family and every one loved it especially Jayden, Emi's little sister.
    Thank you for sharing such a fun mystery.

    Emilyn's mom

  10. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Wow! Did you like our lesson a few days ago on future nouns, Mrs. Yollis ?
    Mrs. Yollis, did you realize that I did direct address in both of these sentences?

    How many direct address can you do in a comment?



* * *
Getting feedback is important to our writers. Let us know what you liked or what you learned.

Steps to Comment:

1. Write your comment in the box below. Be sure that you have proofread it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Students should have a parent check it!

2. Choose an identity. (If you have a gmail account, use it. If not, choose name/url. You can leave the url blank if you do not have a blog.)

3. Click "Publish your Comment". You may preview your comment before publishing if you'd like.

Important: All comments MUST be approved by me.
:-) Mrs. Yollis