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Sicilian ceramic heads: a legend hidden in art

Sicilian ceramic heads

Coming to Sicily at least once, who has never seen Moorish Sicilian ceramic heads on a balcony, in a traditional Sicilian restaurant, or in the many pottery shops they have?

The art of majolica pottery was brought to Sicily by the Arabs, who taught the Sicilians how to create these beautiful objects, real works of art today.

Where does it all come from? It comes from THE LEGEND OF THE DARK HEADS.

Coloured ceramic vases in the shape of a head are so standard in Sicily that they have become one of the representative symbols of the island—wondering why they have this shape?
They said that during the Arab rule in 1100 in Palermo lived an insanely beautiful girl, very devoted to caring for plants on her balcony. One day, a Moor passed by her house, and when he saw her, he fell in love so much that he decided to declare his love for the girl immediately.
She was very impressed and also responded to his feelings. Crazy love blazed. However, one day, the girl learns that the Moor will soon return to the east, where his wife and children are waiting for him. When she discovered the painful truth, she cut off his head in a rage and used it as a decorative vase for her balcony. Day after day, the girl fills the vase with tears as the basil in it grows. Neighbours, envious of the vase’s beauty and the flourishing basil, decided to make terracotta vases in the shape of a head; from that moment on, Sicilians decorated each balcony with Sicilian ceramic heads.

Sicilian ceramic heads, True story or not, romantic or scary, today, these vases, “Teste di Moro” present Sicilian ceramic art worldwide.

Thanks to Dolce & Gabbana, they are becoming even more popular. They often use characters and objects from traditional Sicilian folklore. They recently released a collection inspired by Moorish heads.
You can see many different types of objects made of majolica, distinguished by their colour patterns, shape, and motifs painted on ceramics.

But without a doubt, the most popular and fascinating ceramic objects are the Sicilian ceramic heads Teste di Moro.

These unique works of art and the legend behind them teach us one important thing:

If you ever fall in love with a Sicilian woman, be careful not to break her heart!

Along with the Sicilian ceramic heads, there are other curious and interesting facts about Sicily. I made a bouquet of them.

Sicily’s diverse landscape is ideal for cyclists.

The perfect cycling holiday in Sicily consists of a mixture of beautiful flat areas, gradual climbs, easy hills and steep, challenging climbs – something for everyone with stunning views. Even if you are not enthusiastic about cycling in the mountains, I offer you the option of electronic bicycles. In addition, once you are complete for the day, there are countless beaches to dive in, cool off and relax in the crystal clear turquoise sea. I have an addiction to this watercolour!

The people of Sicily are considered Sicilians in the first place and Italians in the second place.

Sicily is technically part of Italy, but it is considered an autonomous region. Although similar to continental Italian culture, Sicilian culture has its traditions, language and peculiarities, some of which are more tempting. Therefore, Sicilians are very proud of their heritage.

Sicily is home to the highest active volcano in Europe.

Mount Etna is located in the northeastern part of Sicily and has about 3350. The eruptions continue today but are rarely a surprise to people in the area, as scientists closely monitor their activities. Locals talk about the volcano as a woman with love and pride and call her Her Majesty Etna.

Sicily is a real mix of different cultures.

Some of the best-preserved Greek ruins outside Greece are in Sicily. I felt the Greek nuance everywhere. So much colour and cosiness are gathered on the island, thanks to modern Sicily being the product of many cultures that mix unusually, including Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Germans, and Spanish, Italian and even British civilisations.
Sicily has an incredibly diverse and intriguing history, making it a fascinating destination to explore.

Sicily is famous for both its food and wine.

The fact is that Italy is generally famous for its food and wine. But Sicily has its style and flavour. Although not produced or distributed as widely as those in other regions of Italy, Sicilian wines are unique. Worth a try!


Sicily has coasts on three different seas.

The old name of Sicily is Trinacria, from the Greek word Τρινακρία, which means “having three noses” or three noses. The name comes from the triangular shape of the island.

It is with shores of 3 seas: the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north, and the Ionian Sea to the east.

The first mafia was the Sicilian mafia.

The first mafia appeared in Sicily in the 19th century. The Sicilian Mafia, or Cosa Nostra, first begins with a group of men who offer protection to other Sicilians or return stolen goods and cattle from thieves.
It quickly became a defence racketeering business, where locals forced people to pay for mafia protection; if they failed to pay, the mafia itself pursued them. The Sicilian Mafia was the first mafia, but there are now many other mafias in Italy, mostly in southern Italy, that the government is fighting hard.

Ice cream is typical for breakfast in Sicily.

Really? One of Sicily’s most remarkable fun facts is that snacks often include ice cream! Sicilians eat brioche con gelato for breakfast or an ice cream sandwich, popular street food in Palermo.
Oh, and the market in Palermo is a natural fireworks display of colours, flavours, smells and great food. The most delicious eggplant I’ve ever eaten in my life is Sicilian.

Sicilian pizza is different from classic Italian pizza.

It is pretty different from the pizzas you will find in other parts of the country. Sicilian pizza is also known as “sfincione“, which means mushroom. It is usually rectangular, with a thick fluffy dough covered with tomato sauce and anchovies.
After a holiday in Sicily, buying a few Sicilian ceramic heads is a must to remember the trip and take a piece of Sicilian tradition with you.

I purchased a set of salt and pepper in the form of Sicilian ceramic heads – a fond memory of the experience!

Who do you think is the salt (man) and pepper (woman) in the family? Write in the comments so I know in which head to pour the salt and in which pepper.

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So much love,