These magnificent younger cities of the 17th and 18th centuries reflect the distinctive sense of pleasure and art of Sicilian nobility, often realized on the backs of the population. The simple people however, were also developing their own art still evident in everyday life. In example, the artfully designed donkey carriages, a diverse production of ceramics, colourful costumes of traditional fairs and the rich and vibrant processions and festivals on church holidays.
Festivals in Sicily
The vibrant Sicilian culture and traditions isn’t just represented in the buildings and ruins of the island, it is entrenched in the hearts of the people, and nowhere is this more evident than at the various festivals and celebrations that take place throughout the year. The different towns and villages throw parties to celebrate their patron saints – the streets come alive with processions, music, dancing and revelry whilst fireworks light up the night skies.
Visit Palermo in July when Santa Rosalia is honoured to experience this sort of event on a grand scale or explore Sicily at Easter for carnivals and celebrations throughout the country – the procession at Trapani where wooden sculptures are paraded through the town, is a particularly popular event.
As well as religious occasions, many of the smaller villages put on delightful food and wine festivals known as sagre, often in celebration of a key agricultural product, such as the artichokes of Cerda or the cous cous of San Vito Lo Capo. One of Sicily’s longest running festival is held in Vizzini near Syracuse and celebrates the local ricotta and other cheeses of the region.
There is also the option to attend one of Sicily’s more unusual cultural events such as the jousting of Piazza Armerina, the carnival of Acireale or the Infiorata of Noto, where artists create colourful street mosaics out of flower petals.