Sicily is considered a very interesting place from several point of views: cultural; artistic; gastronomical.
Think of the several dominations (Ostrogoth; Byzantine; Islamic) that succeeded century after century and that have conferred such unique multiculturality to this land. This beautiful island is immersed in history and renowned everywhere in the world for its monuments, such as: the Valley of the Temples; the ancient theatre in Taormina or the Teatro Massimo in Palermo.
Sicily, however, hosts many more places and corners of it land so mysterious as beautiful that can easily be considered authentic masterpieces.
Let’s discover together some curiosities about Sicily!
THE ENCHANTED GARDEN OF SCIACCA
We are in Sciacca, in the district of Agrigento. This city is famous for its carnival floats and original costumes that every year are able to amaze children and adults.
It is also here that we find a place that is less renowned and yet absolutely astounding, the enchanted garden made by the artist Filippo Bentivegna.
You can consider an open-air museum where you will find heads sculpted everywhere around the garden. Filippo Bentivegna, also known as “Filippo di li testi”, is the author of this work. While he was in the US he had a terrible accident that provoked serious damages to his cranium. He was told that he was never to go back to work, hence why he renounced to his business project in the US and went back to his home in Sciacca where he created this installation made of faces, sad or happy, sometimes lost or caught in their thoughts.
There are known faces and anonymous, rather invented faces. The artist was not part of any art academy nor any school of thought. His art is the fruit of his own fantasy and they are nowadays grouped together to design a path leading to his own home. His art was only to be appreciated after his death by an assistant of Jean Dubuffet, founding father of the Art Brut concept who demanded to the family of the artist some donations of his work that are now exhibited at the Art Brut Museum in Lausanne.
THE CHINESE LODGE IN PALERMO
Have you ever heard of the Chinese Lodge in Palermo? It is a palace built around 1700 following the typical oriental style, that testifies the passage and such people in Palermo.
Negative! The specifics of this palace are the fruit of the passion for the oriental art that diffused in Europe around that time and that pushed the noble families to decorate their homes in such fashion.
The Chinese Lodge consists of 4 levels: this first one is dedicated to the meetings with other delegations. There are writings in several languages and representations of the daily activities of Chinese characters which confer to this part of the structure a very international allure. On the same level we find the dining room and the mathematical table, an interesting contraption of the time that, thanks to a curious system, allowed drinks to get transported from the kitchen.
The first floor is dedicated to the bedrooms, divided by sex, for ladies and knights. However, the most interesting one, the room dedicated to the queen, is located on the second floor. Here the neo-classical and empire style are blended together creating a very interesting mix.
Interesting fact: the bathrooms are located next to the ballroom because the musician would play even the nobles would take a bath.
THE WHITAKER MUSEUM IN MOZIA
Talking about the little known places in Sicily, we cannot miss the Whitaker Museum. It is located in Mozia, near Trapani, and it used to be the former home of the archeologist Giuseppe Whitaker. What is, though, that makes this museum so unique? It is the first Punic- Sicilian museum and it hosts archeological findings which were both excavated or randomly found. There are some unique pieces such as amphoras of the Greek/Phoenician tradition; black varnish urns; jewels and utensils common at that age that help us understand what life resembled to back then.
What is really peculiar about the museum is the Motya Charioteer in Archaic Greek style dating back to 5th century b.C. This statue is the main attraction of the museum. The part of the structure hosting this statue used to be the courtyard of the house owner which while still alive decided to turn part of his home into a museum.
This statue was considered so beautiful and relevant that it was even exposed at the British Museum, together with the remains of the Parthenon, during the Olympics and until September 2012.
To these days, despite the incredible value of most of the pieces treasured by the museum, it still remains a little-known destination for both tourists and Sicilians.
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