Goldery Star

The nymph Arethusa (or Aretusa) and her myth are central to the ancient history and culture of Siracusa, Sicily. So much so, that her image, surrounded by dolphins, is featured on the ancient coins of the city–from 415-400 BCE! This coin, which I photographed through a magnifying glass, may be seen in the newly opened…

A Genius Feat 

If you are into art, architecture, and ceramics, Le Stanze al Genio (The Rooms to the Genius) is for you. This home-museum features a collection of majolica ceramic floor tiles sporting designs from Naples and Sicily that were produced from the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 20th century. You must…

Persephone’s Guidance 

As the seasons change where I live in the northeastern United States, and the days are darker longer, I turn to Persephone for assistance during the transition to winter. Part of the “Queen of the Underworld’s” responsibilities, once she descends into Hades each autumn, is the role of psychopomp–a guide for new souls crossing over;…

Sicily’s Modest Venus

Found in the Acradina quarter of Siracusa in 1804, the Venus Landolina is named for the archeologist, Saverio Landolina (1743-1814), who discovered the statue. Made from Greek marble in the 2nd century AD, the Roman era work is a copy of a Greek era work from the 2nd century BC. Because it is an unclothed…

Floor as Status Symbol

In January, when my cousin Giulia and I visited the private museum Stanze al Genio in Palermo, we learned that many of the majolica works of art that decorate churches and palazzi throughout Sicily are from Naples. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, for noble families and wealthy churches that could afford such decor, it…

Shoes and Song

The Museo Etno-Antropologico Annalisa Buccellato in Castellammare del Gulfo possesses a magnificent exhibit of items from past peasant-life in western Sicily. I can’t say enough about the glimpses it gives us into “the old days.” For example, this guitar, which of course, as a musician, attracted my attention. I’ll transcribe for you the explanation of…

Silver Scylla

The hill-top town of Aidone hosts a world-class archaeological museum containing treasures unearthed at Morgantina, an ancient Greek town down the road a stretch. Morgantina was founded in 850 BC, and over the next 400-600 years the settlement was destroyed and rebuilt until it was finally abandoned in 211 BC. Throughout the centuries, the citizens…