Here, She will Stay

Since last Sunday, the town of Custonaci in Trapani Province has been celebrating their venerated Madonna. The 10-day celebration concludes on Wednesday, August 31, when devotees process the portrait of Maria SS. di Custonaci through the City of Marble’s streets. Legend is, that in the early 15th century, a painting of the Virgin and Child…

She was Dark and Beautiful

This morning, a wish of mine was granted when we stopped in the town of Custonaci (Trapani Province) to visit the Sanctuary of Maria SS. di Custonaci. I wrote extensively about this Madonna–a Black Madonna–in August. You can read that post here. True to what many scholars who have studied the folklore of the Black…

Lace Up

Yesterday, I discussed a church without a ceiling (Lo Spasimo in Palermo). Today, I show you a church with an unforgettable ceiling–the Chiesa Matrice, or Mother Church, of Erice. Outside, this Norman-era building that was first constructed starting in 1314 is modest, yet elegant. Inside, the vaulted, neo-Gothic ceiling that was reconstructed during the 19th…

I Can’t Figgettabout Buccellato

These beautifully sculpted cookies are called buccellato (single pastry/cookie) or buccellati (plural). Buccellati are very closely associated with Christmas in Sicily. They are pastries stuffed with dried figs and raisins or chopped almonds and chocolate. These pictured, from Maria Grammatico Pasticceria in Erice, are of the fig variety. I don’t know Maria Grammatico’s recipe exactly,…