Today, the tarantella (shown in this painting) is still alive and danced and played socially in many parts of southern Italy. In modern-day Sicily, however, it’s danced most often by organized folk music and dance ensembles at feasts and festivals. There remains a very strong folk music culture throughout the island, where you’ll find musicians…
Category: Fashion, Traditional Dress
A Woman with a Vision
A working woman with a vision: detail from a painting in the chambers at Palermo’s Palazzo dei Normanni, the house of Sicily’s parliament.
Delicate enough to be framed, this lace necklace (photographed at Villa Trigona in Piazza Armerina), was created with a technique called tatting. Tatting, which is called “chiacchierino” in Italian, is a craft that’s been practiced by Sicilian women for centuries. Designs are created using thick thread that is manipulated by hand in a series of…
A young ring bearer waits for the bride to arrive in front of the Duomo at Cefalù.
Portrait of a Young Woman
Portrait of a young Sicilian baroness, 1906, from Villa Trigona.
What She Wore
19th century traditional dress of a woman from the “environs of Agrigento.”
Jewelry-designer Daniela Neri created this unique necklace that recalls a Sicilian cart. Oh, I would have loved to buy this, but for now, I’ll settle for the two pairs of earrings she designed that I purchased. Daniela is a native of Trapani, and she takes the salt from the local salt flats and makes “coral”…
Chestnuts… in an Open Basket
These two figurines from Palermo’s Museo Etnografico Giuseppe Pitrè are carrying traditional baskets filled with foodstuffs. The woman carries eggs, and the man, it’s hard to say. I’m going to venture to guess that perhaps he’s carrying chestnuts or “castagne.” This is the season for harvesting chestnuts–and like the olive festivals also celebrated in November,…
Made in Sicily
Before purchasing any kind of souvenir, I recommend you ask where it was made. Many items appear to have been made in Italy or Sicily, yet in fact, they were made somewhere else… far, far away. There are beautiful, handcrafted items that are made in Sicily, sometimes that were crafted following centuries’ old traditions. These…
“Auguri per il Matrimonio” (“Best Wishes for Marriage”), detail from my father’s toy, hand-painted Sicilian cart. Painted in Bagheria by Onofrio Ducato.