The origins of the Sicilian flag date back to the 13th century, but its symbols are of an even older age. It is in fact represented by a “triscele” – better known as “trinacria” – and a “gorgoneion”. The trinacria, (first appeared in some coins used in Syracuse in the 3rd century BC) whose origins would be “Indoari”, depicts a being with three legs, while the gorgoneion, the face placed at the center of the flag, is clearly Greek: this symbol represents the head of a mythological monster, the Gorgon, often identified with the face of Medusa, with snakes instead of hair and with the power to petrify with her gaze who looked at her. With the arrival of the Romans, spikes were added to the head, symbol of fertility. The three legs would then indicate the geographic conformation of the island with its three promontories – Capo Lilibeo, Capo Peloro and Capo Passero.
Cannoli are made of tube-shaped fried pastry dough stuffed with a cream made of sweetened sheep ricotta. Then candied fruit or chocolate chips are added and the pastries are finished with a dusting of icing sugar. Delicious!
By now it almost seems a lost art: embroidery, spinning and weaving. Nevertheless, the passion and initiative of a group of people ensure this rich Sicilian tradition is not forgotten altogether. The Northern coast of the island, from Palermo to Messina, used to be the Sicily’s “silk road” and there’s evidence of embroidery dating back to Norman times.
We celebrate the holidays without knowing why, worrying about buying gifts, organizing trips to get away and preparing feasts for lunches and dinners. Who knows how many of us will taste Cuccia, savor Buccellato, eat a Sfincia for Saint Joseph or delight in some almond dough fruit and still remember why these typical “treats of the Saints” were created and how they sailed through the centuries to get to us. Each preparation is linked to events and rites that sink into our oldest past and tell us about needs, survival and spirituality that it would be better not to forget nowadays.
A life lived among puppets. The art of puppeteer and storyteller Mimmo Cuticchio is recognized as a cultural treasure. There’s something fitting about tracing the story of this icon when Palermo has been named Italian Capital of Culture 2018.
On Saint Lucia’s day, which would like the fast of the devotees, the heretic is one who does not eat the famous arancina. Or rather those who do not make a real feast of rice balls. This day you can smell fried in the air. You can hear it coming out of the takeaways, but also from the houses of those who prepare the symbol of this party at home. The arancina at Saint Lucia’s day can be compared to the dove at Easter or the panettone at Christmas.
How many times have you passed from Vigliena Square, best known as the “Four Corners”? Have you ever noticed the four sculptures represented in the three architectural orders? In addition to the allegorical representation of the four seasons and the four Spanish Kings, on the third order we can observe the sculptures of four women, the four holy protectors of the four districts: Agata, Cristina, Ninfa and Oliva. But who were really these women, heroines of faith, whose devotion has gone fading over the centuries to completely disappear? Women first of all, in a period when the female figure was strongly relegated to the back of society. Heroes and martyrs of a dull, obtuse society that let them paid in life their personal choices of faith. Mythical legends and tales that surely have wrapped up and twisted their real stories. But let’s briefly know each other more closely one by one.
Easter is one of the most important religious event and combines the main moments of Passion, Death and Risen of Christ to the folk rituals, sometimes through dramatic and theatrical forms of expression often in structured and complex way, symbol of total renovation. What is most impressive of Easter in Sicily is the active participation of many people that express itself not only with the classical procession and pilgrimages, but also with the alternation of sad feelings for the Death of Christ and those cheerful and joyful for his Risen. During the Holy Week the historic center of Palermo comes alive with spectacular processions of the painful drama of the dead Christ.
Beautiful plant with fragrant fruit that produces a rich, flavorful nectar that tastes of velvet and apricot, malvasia was also called “Gods’ nectar”. Its grape is imported by the first Greek colonists around 588 BC into the island of Salina, where the well ventilated soil of volcanic origin is placed at three hundred meters above the sea level. Its name comes from the port of Monemvasia in the Peloponnese, a promontory of great importance on the commercial routes between East and West, which was long fought over in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the Turks and Venetians.
A blast from the past in the heart of Palermo: inside the eighteenth-century rooms of Palazzo Torre Piraino in via Garibaldi stands the house-museum “Stanze al Genio”, born in 2008 with the purpose to make available to the public a rich collection of antique tiles collected in over thirty years and still growing.