In ancient times, if you were looking for love and passion, western Sicily was the place to go. I’ve written about Erice in the past, where for centuries there was a temple to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and before that, it was a temple to the Carthaginians’ and Phoenicians’ goddess of love. Well, just a bit further down the coast, in Marsala, this statue of Venus was found near the present day Church of Saint John the Baptist. The Museo Archeologico Baglio Anselmi di Marsala now houses this Roman copy of a 2nd century CE statue, the Venere Callipigia, which may have been part of the complex that led to the “Grotta della Sibilla.”
The Grotta della Sibilla, which is now an underground, spring-fed chapel inside the Church of Saint John the Baptist, was a sacred spot where believers would seek cleansing, rebirth, council, and advice about various life-questions… like for example, if one might find love. Sicily possesses countless fascinating sites like the Grotta and ancient art like this statue of the goddess. Soon you too can visit Sicily to seek love and passion in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!