The cart creator's art is almost a lost one, kept alive by the diligence and dedication of just a few talented craftsmen --at once carpenters, ironsmiths and artists.
In the carts paintings, Sicilian kings and knights stride alongside legends like Roland --the Italians' Orlando. Normans fight Moors and Sicilians combat Angevins.
In centuries past, these works of art were everywhere in Sicily. The few that remain, and the few which are created each year, seem to represent more than another era. They symbolise a way of life, and the fact that Sicily's unique medieval history has never been far from the popular mind. A few antique carts can be seen, and new ones purchased, in the Sicilian Cart Museum behind the apse of Palermo Cathedral.
- For a whole history of the sicilian cart you can follow the link below, enjoy it, you will discover something very unexpected! -
Colapesce was a young man who lived in the sea with the fish.
The king of Sicily hearing the story of this boy wanted to test him and for this reason he threw one of his rings into the sea asking Colapesce to get it and to describe everything that was at the bottom of the sea. Colapesce went and said that Sicily was based on three columns, whose the first one was solid, the second one was broken and the third one was going to break. He spoke about valleys, monsters, and fire, but the king didn't want to believe him. Then Colapesce volunteered to return to the bottom of the sea to burn a piece of wood to prove what he said and he plunged into the sea. The piece of the burnt wood re-emerged but Colapesce did not return. Sicilians like imagining him still supporting Sicily columns.
Most famous of all mirages is the Fata Morgana, seen over the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily. This mirage, named for the legendary sorceress Morgan le Fay, takes the form of weird castles, which rise from the sea and change their shape, towering into the air or compressing themselves into a thin line. The Fata Morgana is a complex mirage, probably formed by looming and a combination of superior and inferior images. Changing layers of air distort and magnify the image of the cliffs and houses on the opposite shore. The houses turn into the turreted castles of the sorceress. Similar mirages in other places are also given the name Fata Morgana.
The Strait of Messina hosts many defferent types of fish with a good gastronomical reputation. Near the Torre Faro is the "Fossa dei sugarelli" where this dark blue, cylindric shaped fish may be found. This fish is only found off the Sicilian coasts.
Messina is famous for the spectacular fishing of swordfish.
A special boat is used called the "spadara". It holds a central tower-like structure in the center for sighting swordfish and an exterior deck from which the swordfish is harpooned. Fishing season is from April to August.
Many other varieties of fish can be found in the Strait including Tuna's and Moon fish and others. Another type of fishing is that of the "sciabola" or in Sicilian dialect "spatola", this fish can reach two meters in lenght and is a silver in color.
Far out off the coast of Capo Peloro, large amber jacks are caught with a fishing line. In the area around Messina, quantity of red picarel are caight. These thi, smooth-skinned fish swim in large schools and are fished with nets.
Another type of fish called "donzelle" are caught with round, flat traps made of whire and rope.
An abundance of grey mullet can also be found have and are fished either with a net or with a fishing line.
For anyone who would like to know more about sicilians, the country, the people, the custom I hardly recommend to read the books of
ANDREA CAMILLERI. If you know italian even better, coz. the original books are written in half italian, half sicilian, half spanish...a mixture of what actually Sicily is.
Camilleri's MONTALBANO books (police stories) are a hit in Italy and now even here in Sweden.
Of course, part of the magnificent italian kitchen is the Sicilian kitchen. Hmmmmm, I just can recall every single evening we spent in Sicily, eatint until our belly was fully satisfied...or more then that.
This pictures shows a variation (and a small part) of what we call 'Sicilian hospitality'.
The place where we stayed in Giarre (Agriturismo di San Leonardello) we got every night :
1) una focaccia o panino imbottito (warm stuffed bread)
2) 2 kind of pasta variations
3) a buffet like that (or more)with aubergine, salad,
fish or meat and different kind of vegetables
4) ice-cream or cake
5) limoncello (sicilian lemon drink as digestive)
Sicily is still a very rural island. Many people live in very simple conditions and are happy anyway.
I met during my trip this very nice old guy 'Placido'. I asked if I could take a picture of him and he answered:
'Well, what do you want to take a picture of me, my hair is all white!'
I answered: 'That doesn't matter, you look so wonderful and original'
He was really flattered and posed for me and well, I guess he go a little bit in love with me... he followed me with his eyes all the time during the village happening and smiled all the time.
People are very open if you approach them the right way and as soon as you speak some italian words (I speak italian) they open even more.
Don't be afraid, but please respect their way of living.
THE OLD LAVATORY IN CEFALU'
This picture show the old lavatory in Cefalù on the North shore of Sicily. Here, all the women of the fishing village used to come and wash. There is a stream that comes directly from the ocean into this 'corte' (little place in between the houses).
It's very interesting to see how it works.
Here is an example of longdated folklore clothe, women may still wear it during local celebrations or dance festivals. Isnt it charming?!