Sicily is an amazing place. It’s as if time has stopped. Cell phone coverage is sporadic, at best, internet is impossible unless your hotel provides service and air conditioning is a commodity. I have stepped into a time warp. Traveling through the towns of my ancestors, I have found that traditions have not changed. It felt as though I sat in the DeLorean with Michael J Fox and we went back in time.
The people of Sciacca still have a deep devotion to Madonna del Soccorso. Mid August they celebrate her feast day and the fisherman carry the statue of the saint on their backs throughout the town, much like the Italian feasts in Boston. For a funeral, they carry the casket from the church to the cemetery, just like what we see in “The Godfather.”
In Sciacca, I found the records of my great-grandparents, Cologero LaRosa and Caterina Piazza. I found out their dates of birth, addresses and parents’ names. All these records were in a building that was hundreds of years old and were in handwritten ledgers. The women helping me were so cute. Because my great-grandparents’ last names are so common, it would take days to find living relatives. So I took down all the information I could and proceeded to the nearest ceramic shop for a reminder of my visit.
We found the most amazing sculpture of Madonna del Soccorso being carried by at least 30 fisherman. We met the artists and visited their studio. They told us about the statue. The faces on the fisherman are real men of Sciacca. I cannot wait to display this beautiful piece of my heritage in my home.
More important than my artwork is the lesson I take with me from Sciacca which is, once again, simplicity and a sense of what’s really important. Staying connected to the world via technology is not a priority for them. Their families, their crafts and devotion to God through the Madonna are their lives. Distractions are minimal. Conversing over espresso in the square is the highlight of their day. They interact, socialize face to face.
I hope I can live what I have learned.
Tell me what’s going on in your life. I want to hear from you!
Wishing you love, balance and peace.
Amore & Baci (Love & Kisses)