The Iblei museum network grows in Sortino, Floridia, and Canicattini Bagni
To discover an unusual Sicily, just get in the car and point your finger at new destinations. So, on August the 1st, despite the infernal heat, we resume our journey to discover some inland areas of the province of Syracuse.
We arrive in Sortino where we begin our tour with Fiorenzo and Beppe, by visiting a ceramics laboratory where we meet three volcanic and enterprising women: Mariagrazia, Milena, and Cinzia. They are three sisters, who transformed a simple passion for ceramics into their work, thus managing to create a true corner of tradition, craftsmanship, and art. They tell us about their projects, and about every single object they have created with love, conveying emotion, we like their enthusiasm when speaking about each other and we like what they create! We say goodbye to go and discover the iblei museum network!
The first stop is the Medieval Antiquarium, with Gioacchino. He speaks to us of archeology with such simplicity that everything is easily understood. His story of ancient Sortino, with its prehistoric finds, its terracotta, and the ancient tools, truly becomes a reminder of our ancestors. But he also surprises us with his models and murals, with the working of stone and painting, all activities that he passionately transfers into creative workshops.
We say goodbye, and while moving towards the next museum, the streets of Sortino give us glimpses of ancient palaces and wonderful churches. And here we are at the Beekeeping House, traditionally called “A casa do’ fascinaru”. Maria Concetta and Beppe tell us about how the ancient beekeepers made honey: from the creation of the hives to the transport of the bees with the “cart”, to the honey extraction of the combs, to the division of honey and wax. Listening to them was really enjoyable.
But a third stage awaits us and Fiorenzo takes us to his museum, that of the Sicilian cart “Rio”. He tells us how the present collection of carts seemed to have been lost and how by chance it came to him instead. An incredible story, to be heard with your own ears! Let’s discover the history of the cart and the two main cities, that of Palermo and Catania, which have made it a real art form, passing from the oldest style with simple manufactures to the most modern with their bright colors and decorations in which artworks and Holy images have been immortalized. Wonders!
We finally move to visit the last museum, that of the puppets. The magical world of the work of Sicilian puppets, intangible heritage of humanity. Here the whole collection of puppets belonging to the Don Ignazio Puglisi family is kept. We enter an enchanted world, narrated with emphasis by Gianfranco, an all-round artist! We admire the puppets who have trodden stages becoming the protagonists of wonderful tragic and funny operas and shows! But an important part of the museum is the laboratory where even today, with ancient methods, you can create any image you want on the copper sheets. And so we too get to work, creating a little heart together with our guest, which we take home as a souvenir of this day spent together!
Our day is really full of surprises, and after a very short break, we leave for Floridia! Here we find Dr. Bruno waiting for us, for a visit to the Nunzio Bruno Ethnographic Museum. The desire to know the history of these wonderful realities is so great that we forget the heat and fatigue! Thus we discover how his father, over the years, had collected treasures of inestimable value, objects, ancient tools of all kinds, today a fundamental part of the museum itself. We go from small school desks to used tools in agriculture for livestock, to produce wine, for the production of carts, for bread making, and much more.
But the surprises never end and Carmela, the person in charge of the bread workshop, shows us how to create Floridia’s traditional forms of bread, handed down from generation to generation. Inside the museum, we also find another workshop, that of embroidery, and Patrizia shows us some real masterpieces. “A figghia ‘nta fascia a doti ‘nta cascia”, an ancient Sicilian saying (the baby in swaddling clothes and the dowry in the chest), indicating how important it was for every mother to make a dowry for their daughters, future brides. From sheets to tablecloths, everything had to be embroidered and ready for the wedding. And here too we have been catapulted into the heart of our traditions!
Another round, another race, and here we are in Canicattini Bagni, about 20 minutes by car from Floridia. The heat seems to have taken over us, but the meeting with Professor Uccello at the Civic Museum of Textiles and Emigrants makes us forget everything. We are literally enraptured by his explanations and his stories, which he intersperses with sayings in ancient Sicilian. Let’s find out how they wove wool but most importantly how they wove linen, the various stages of processing, and then get to its coloring with natural colors extracted from plants and urine, something truly incredible! He tells us about the working of the heavy blankets in Sicilian called “cutre”, to the embroidery with gold threads … and then to the medicinal plants, which in ancient times were also used for rites against “u malocchiu”, meaning “the bad eye” love potions and cures of many diseases! We then move to the part of the museum dedicated to the emigrant and Giuseppe takes us through the various stages of the emigration of our ancestors and how they left their homes and often even their families to find their fortune in America.
And with this, we end our visit, but not without our customary photos, greetings, and then off to home. Today we have discovered a territory rich in culture and fantastic people, who have made us discover our roots and many ancient traditions up close!
We are ready for a new experience…and you?