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Arts and Popular Traditions itinerary

Precious jewel case to preserve deep roots...

Home Page > Arts and traditions itinerary > Itinerary:
Source of River Ciane Palazzolo Museum Favignana Tuna fishery
Ethnographic Museum Buscemi Museum Scopello Tuna fishery
The Salt Road      
Portopalo Tuna fishery
:: Precious jewel case to preserve deep roots

Sicily is not just a land of myths, history, and nature. To love Sicily, it is not enough to discover its art treasures or the monuments of its past in Greek, Roman, Arab, and Norman style. Another itinerary of knowledge passes through the testimonies of tradition. It is the memory of the trades of the past, in close contact with the sea, such as that of the salter or the tuna fisherman, and the arduous work of the miners in the heartland of the island, far from the dazzling light of the sun, that recall to us aspects of the island that are perhaps less well known but none the less indispensable for a full understanding of the soul of this land. For this is a land that does not forget but jealously conserves in special ethnographic museums the tools and implements of everyday life related to popular traditions, together with veritable works of art, such as the puppets and marionettes used for centuries to celebrate the legendary tales of epic events.

Scopello Tuna fishery The Salt Road (Marsala - Trapani) Favignana Tuna fishery The Salt Road (Marsala - Trapani) Buscemi Museum Palazzolo Acreide Museum Ethnographic Museum (Modica) Portopalo Tuna fishery Source of the river Ciane (SR)

Arts and Popular Traditions itinerary

Source of the river Ciane (Syracuse)A few kilometres from Syracuse one can visit the naturalist itinerary of the Ciane-Salinea reserve. Managed since 1984 by the Regional Province, the reserve was created to revitalize and protect the papyrus, a water plant of Egyptian origin that may have been introduced here as long ago as the third century BC. Along the banks of the river grows the largest colony of the plant in all Europe. This river environment is an ideal habitat for the survival of many species of resident and migratory birds, including stilt-plovers, waterhens, and various large waders.

The Salt Road (Marsala - Trapani)Along the road that runs from Trapani to Paceco and Marsala, skirting the lagoon of lo Stagnone where Motya lies, it is possible to see numerous dazzlingly white mountains shimmering in the sun. These are not snow-capped mountains but hills of salt, one of the Sicilian economy's historical resources that was already very precious in the days of the Phoenicians, who were the first to bring some form of technology to its production. The favourable climatic circumstances, such as high temperatures and a wind that increases evaporation, plus the shallowness of the water.


Portopalo Tuna fisheryNow the property of Cavaliere Pietro Bruno di Belmonte, the tuna fishery at Capo Passero - the extreme south-eastern tip of Sicily where the waters of the Ionian meet those of the Sicilian Channel - was a flourishing centre of production in the twentieth century and today constitutes a splendid monument of industrial archaeology. The loggia and the factory for the working of the fish are still visible, as also the great furnace, the storehouses for the barrels and salt, and the 17th-cent. church.

Scopello Tuna fisheryA lofty, jagged tongue of land looking down on the intense blue of the sea, an hour's drive from Palermo. Its narrow coves conceal solitary strips of sand and pebbles often accessible only from the sea. The fishing village of Scopello is small but rich in tradition and it has succeeded in maintaining its identity: the few houses, the baglio (bailey, or courtyard), a church, the faraglioni (rock stacks), and the tuna fishery. The Scopello tuna fishery is a concrete testimony of a once flourishing industry.


Favignana Tuna fisheryThe First Punic War was fought in ancient time beneath pinnacles of Calarossa tufa stone similar to the turrets of a castle. But the island of Favignana has become important for another reason: tuna fishing. This activity goes as far back as the Phoenicians but was ritualized by the Arabs to reach us in its present form - a ceremony made up of propitiatory chants and rhythms that follow the commands of the rais, the headman of the tuna fishery. Owing to its fortunate position, the island is lapped by currents that are ideal for the reproduction of the tuna fish.

Ethnographic Museum (Modica)At Modica, in the Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions, the arts and crafts of the past live again, some still presenting points of contact with the present day. A feature of the Museum is the way the exhibits are displayed in their natural environment, i.e. in faithful reconstructions of artisan workshops that testify directly to their manner of use. One can admire, for instance, a characteristic Sicilian cart, an ancient method of transport that varies in size and elegance in relation to the importance of the family owning it.


Palazzolo Acreide MuseumAmid the lanes of the ancient Orologio quarter is the Museum House of Antonio Uccello. This house, the brainchild of the passionate work of a Sicilian ethnologist, conserves important testimonies of the material everyday life and folklore of Hyblaeum and of Sicily. The house, now a Regional Museum, has maintained intact the typical rooms of local manor houses: on the ground floor there are the olive-press, the shed for the animals, the granary, and the storehouse; on a higher level are the living quarters.

Buscemi MuseumThe town of Buscemi, perched on a hill a few kilometres from Palazzolo, possesses a singular and interesting museum, I Luoghi del Lavoro Contadino ("Peasant Work Places"), the rooms of which are scattered all around the town. Substantially there are eight rooms that present the work and life of the people of the Hyblaean Mountains, ranging from the workshops of the blacksmith, the cobbler, and the carpenter to the great troughs where the grapes were trodden and the olive-press.


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