Arts and Crafts
Handicraft traditions are a fundamental part of culture in the Terre Sicane, handed down in workshops for centuries. In Sciacca, chiefly, they produce most of artistic handicrafts in the area, like ceramics, jewellery and papier mache.
Ceramic art has very ancient origins in Sciacca: they have found majolicas and ceramic ovens dating back to the XIII century. The most ancient undamaged item dates back 1283: a ‘cannata’ (jug) with the Incisa House coat of arms, today preserved in the Museo Regionale della Ceramica in Caltagirone.
During the XV and XVI centruires, many artists and ceramic masters left heir marks all aournd Sicily in churches, monuments and towns like the façade of Monreale Cathedral, decorated with squares by the Master Lombardo.
Now, as then, Sciacca is one of the most renowned and excellent ceramics in Sicily. The old centre in town is full of workshops where, with traditional techniques and modern creativity, craftsmen make and exhibit their colourful creations: vases, squares, decorative ceramics, statues, religious or daily objects. Sometimes they are actual works of art.
Sciacca goldsmith are masters of coral carving, an art with recent and accidental origins.
In March 1875 three fishermen went fishing about 8,5 miles from the coast and there their fishing nets got tangled. By plumbing the depths to understand why, they found out a rock totally covered with coral. Thanks to following researches, they discovered three deposits, from which they drew out tonnes of fossil coral.
Sciacca coral, salmon pink or sometimes orange-hued, is today very rare. Craftsmen still make their outstanding jewels with the coral from that accidental finding.
More proof of Sciacca creativity is its centuries-old Carnival, ‘the most ancient in Sicily and the merriest in Italy’. Master ‘puppeters’ make themed floats with moving characters made of papier mache, mixing political and social satire in a whirlwind of music and colours.
Sciacca Carnival, popular feast and old tradition, has come to its hundredth anniversary: during the week-long celebration an amazing atmosphere attracts thousands of people from all over Italy.
The main feature of this Carnival is that everyone is involved in it. All the people in Sciacca join dances, choreographies, songs and the making process of floats and papier mache puppets that will stroll down the streets of the old city centre. On the first float of the line you will find the King of Sciacca Carnival, Peppe Nappa, the traditional puppet which hands out sausages, wine and candies, calling people to join the feast, have fun and welcome the guests. Everyone strolls down following Peppe Nappa ina along parade, ahead to the main square, where they will dance, sing, and act all night long. On the last day, they will burn down Peppe Nappa in a great fire, a mix of pagan and Christian rites.