Ceramic Heads in Sicily

Throughout Sicily you’ll see these large ceramic busts of kings, queens, and more common, Moors. It’s a popular decoration seen on terraces and garden balconies, or topping gate-pillars. The owners fill the majolica vases with flowers or other plants. Personally, I’ve found them to be creepy because, it is exactly what it looks like: a decapitated head. Legend is that a stunning young woman in the Kalsa district of Palermo each day carefully attended flowers on her balcony. A Moorish man took a liking to her, greeting and flirting with her each day as he passed on the street below. At first, the virtuous woman resisted, but eventually, she fell for the Moor, and the two became lovers. Until one day, the man confessed he had to leave Sicily to return to his homeland to care for his wife and children. Needless to say, this news was not well received, and during what was to be their romantic, final night together, while the Moor slept, the young woman took a sword … and well, the next day she made a vase out of his head. The woman’s flowers never bloomed so vibrantly, and her neighbors wanted their flowers to follow suit.

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