Let's start from afar ... in 1847, by order of Prince Mikhail Vorontsov, the Tsar's governor in the Caucasus, in Tiflis, on Erivan Square, the foundation of the Opera House was laid. Construction lasted four years and was completed in 1851.
The theater enjoyed tremendous popularity among the Tiflis public. The hearing of music lovers was delighted by the Italian singers invited by Prince Vorontsov. Arias from Italian operas spread throughout the city. They were sung by all - aristocrats, merchants, ordinary townspeople. Italian melodies were sung in a Georgian way and served as the basis for the emerging genre of urban romance.
However, on October 11, 1874, the theater burned down under unexplained circumstances. Almost all the decorations, costumes, props and the richest music library were destroyed. Part of the Italian troupe left, part remained to wait for better times in their hometown. Singers and musicians were interrupted by various earnings, not always associated with their main profession.
The Sicilian tenor Salvatore Cocozza (Cocozza) (namesake of the famous singer Mario Lanza - nee Alfredo Arnoldo Cocozza) decided to recall his father's profession (as a child, Salvatore helped his father in making caps with might and main), and opened a master on Mikhailovsky Prospekt (nowadays) on David's Avenue (nowadays). sewing traditional Sicilian caps called "coppola". It was not by chance that he chose the place for the workshop. Mikhailovsky Prospect was mainly inhabited by Germans, and our senior Kokuzza hoped that they would become the buyers of his products.
However, in practice it turned out that the Italian coppola is most popular among the Georgian population of the city. The enterprising tenor immediately opened a second workshop in Kutaisi, in a city, unlike Tiflis, with a predominantly Georgian population - and he did not lose. The Imeretians embraced the novelty with great enthusiasm, and Mr. Kokuzza's caps began to spread very quickly throughout Western Georgia.
So the Sicilian caps settled in Georgia, thanks to Vorontsov, Tamamshev, a grand fire that consumed the opera so beloved by the townspeople and, of course, the enterprising Italian tenor Salvatore Kokuzza, who found a second home in Georgia.
By the way, in Kutaisi these hats are still sometimes called "kokutsa-kudi" (hat-kokutsa), although they hardly imagine what it is - "kokutsa"
P.S. Coppola is a traditional men's Sicilian cap, usually made of tweed. The fashion for coppola came to Sicily at the beginning of the 20th century from England, where something similar was worn by the nobles in the 17th century. Initially only worn by Sicilian drivers, it was then very popular among the working class. Over time, the fashion for it spread throughout Italy, where it is still popular.
You saw similar caps on the heads of Sicilian peasants in the movie "The Godfather". (They are called coppola siciliana - Sicilian cap)