The “courage” to stay … a bet named Prickly Pear

The “courage” to stay … a bet named Prickly Pear

The “courage” to stay … a bet named Prickly Pear

This is the story of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, of an artist and her desire to reinvent herself using products found in nature.

We are in Sicily, on the Iblei Mountains, in Buccheri, a village in the province of Syracuse.

Counted as the highest municipality in the province of Syracuse, it rises on the slopes of Mount Lauro and Mount Tereo; it is the custodian of archaeological evidence that tells of the passage of Sicilians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and the remains of the Norman castle, the most extraordinary fortress in the Val di Noto. Furthermore, thanks to its geographical position, Buccheri was known for its neviere and the trade in snow, some evidence of which is still visible on Mount Lauro.

The Borgo, evocative of the wonderful panoramas that extend from the Gulf of Catania to the mountains of Enna and Caltanissetta, thanks to its excellent food and wine products, for some years has boasted the nomination of “Best culinary destination in the world and, thanks to the production of high quality extra virgin olive oil with the prized variety of olives “Tonda Iblea (one of the most renowned oils in Sicily), also the nomination of “World Capital of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in 2015. This contributed to its entry into the national association “ The City of Oil“.

Among the typical dishes of the local cuisine are the maccaruneddi (homemade pasta with pork or wild boar sauce and ricotta), fried olives, genuine meats, and u pani copipi (home-made bread seasoned with tomato extract, red pepper, and olive oil) and its forest products: hazelnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts, and mushrooms.

This place was once the famous homeland for the working of lava stone, a very resistant stone with which the master stonemasons, today few in number, created the most varied architectural elements.

It must have been the strong bond with the land and all the peculiarities that distinguish our island that gave Loredana Bottaro the courage and desire to stay in Sicily, reinventing herself, a goldsmith by profession and a woman with a thousand resources.

Loredana has opened a shop of handmade clothing, jewels, and other art objects right in Buccheri, using what nature offers for the creation of her jewels, starting from the symbolic plant of Sicily, the “Prickly pear”. Over the years, this plant of which nothing is thrown away, has allowed her to create handicraft objects and jewels, necklaces, earrings, and sculptures.

A masterpiece of nature, symbol par excellence, of which Sicily is very rich which, through these original artifacts, arouses emotions in its natural simplicity.

The fiber in the Prickly Pear blades consists of a thin woody filament and is immersed in a spongy body of water. When the plant and the prickly pear blade dry out, a small part of the fiber remains. Of the latter, the most resistant piece is chosen, which is then cleaned of the earth and worked with paints and colors, cut into pieces, and into the desired shapes.

Thanks to Loredana’s imagination and artistic expression, the dry leaf of the prickly pear blade is transformed into splendid bijoux: necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. In this way, the artist chooses a piece of her land of Sicily as a natural material and transforms it into a jewel.

The transformed fiber comes to life in Buccheri, creating an attraction that further enhances this beautiful and evocative Borgo dei Monti Iblei.

Sicily proves once again that it is a land of a thousand resources: a land of culture, tradition, nature, history, food, art, a land of sea and fire, a land of authenticity, and a wonderful welcome!

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