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…

This Little Piggy Went to the Thesmophoria

Terracotta statuettes of Demeter holding a piglet have been found at archaeological sites throughout the landscapes of ancient Greater Greece. Such statuettes often indicate that at the site where they were found, there was once a sanctuary dedicated to the goddess of the earth, agriculture, and fertility. In archaeological museums throughout Sicily you will see…

Ancient Enthroned Goddess

During the second half of the 6th century B.C., indigenous peoples of Sicily were beginning to mingle more with the Greek colonists. Evidence of this can be seen in artwork such as this terracotta enthroned goddess, which once had a child in her lap. Found near Grammichele, historians recognize this work as being created by…

The Fountains of Ortigia

In the center of Siracusa’s Ortigia Island, in Piazza Archimede, is the Fountain of Diana. In 1906, Italian sculptor Giulio Moschetti (1847-1909) designed and constructed the modern, yet Baroque-feeling work featuring the goddess of the hunt, wild animals, moon, and childbirth, i.e. the Roman Diana or Greek Artemis. Also present in the sculpture scene is…

She was Popular

Sicily’s archaeological museums are full of terracotta statuettes of goddesses, many of which represent Demeter. Like these pictured here, the goddess of the grain, agriculture, and fertility is portrayed sitting on a throne with her cylindrical headdress (called a polos) and rows of pendants upon her breast. These from Agrigento’s museum are dated to the…

Powerful Pomegranate

“But if [you tasted food], returning beneath [the earth,] you will stay a third part of the seasons [each year] … By what guile did the mighty Host-to-Many deceive you?” the Goddess Demeter asked her daughter Persephone in the The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (As translated by Helene P. Foley). From the featured photo today,…