SICILY ISLAND OF LIGHT
In each epoch, it’s important to give back the light we receive
Written by Marella Di Grande
Translated by Taisia Gullo
Sicily is a fertile island, thus plundered from age to age by waves of invaders and still now treated badly also by Sicilian people. Sicily needs love and its plea is evident through Claudio Arezzo di Trifiletti’s photos: decorations of buildings, friezes and the sculpture of monuments, churches and fountains -stratified over the centuries- convey their yearning for love. The project “Sicily needs love” is a tour of Sicily with stops in the main cities in order to immortalize the details of the works of art; details which often are not considered by the Sicilians themselves, whose eyes are unaware and dulled by the greyness of ignorance or by dangerous indifference, and fed by frenzy of daily mediocrity. The videos show the cities’ awakening in the playful gestures of the amoretti, in the hideous visages and the contorted gaze of the baroque decorations; their poking at the mythological sculptures of the fountains; and their blending with the architectural lines of churches, sometimes convoluted and sometimes essential. The aim of these pictures is to create an artistic documentary or to compose a subliminal short trough a quick sequence; moreover, all these images end with a last frame of ecstatic Madonna which breathes hope into those passersby who have the good fortune to glance at them.
“There are suffering that dig into people as holes in a flute and the voice of the spirit comes out melodious.” (Vitaliano Brancati)
Behind the stern armour of the basalt of churches and streets, Catania hides a passionate heart, such as the cold and black stone becomes red-hot under the sun of Sicily, the spirit of people of Catania is inflamed in the rooted Creed and follows with eclecticism – typical of Sicily- the moods of the mountain drawing strength and genius with exuberance. With an alchemic formula, nature inseparably binds the earth and the fire to the air and the water which echo stories of myths and popular legends.
“Do you know what our life is? Yours and mine? A dream made in Sicily. Maybe we are still there and we are dreaming” (Leonardo Sciascia)
Taormina is the jewel of Sicily: you can gather it from its charming name and its noble aspect conveyed essentially by surrounding landscape of Etna which slopes down until the turquoise sea. The city is unique is its intertwining of precious architectural and urban elements, consequence of its previous rules. The Greek Theatre, the Roman Naumachiai, the Saracen Castle, the Arabian Necropolis, the gothic Palace of the dukes of Saint Stephen, the Norman Door of the Stroke, the Aragonese Palace Corvaja and Palace Ciampoli until the baroque of the Four Fountains, the buildings of Corso Umberto and of the Saint Joseph Church are some of the examples of the various historic epochs which came one after the other increasing Taormina’s splendour.
“Sicily is the land of oranges, a land full of flowers where the air in spring is heady with perfume…but what makes it an essential place to visit and unique in the world is the fact that from one end to the other it can be described as a strange and divine museum of architecture” (Guy de Maupassant)
“Sicily is not one: there are manifold, maybe countless, which offer themselves to the continental, maybe even to the Sicilian, and then hide themselves in a play of mirrors.” (Leonardo Sciascia)
In the city between earth and water, myth, history, and archaeology are magically melted and can be perceived through the Arethusa spring , the fountain of Artemis, and the ruins of the temple of Apollo . Syracuse presents the passage of different historical dominations without a design of continuity, but the result is a harmonious whole. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Swabians, Aragoneses, Catalanonians, Vicerè and Savoy impressed unique and visible marks in the Cathedral, originally a sumptuous Doric temple of Athena transformed into a Christian byzantine church, then Norman and baroque, and in the buildings of the narrow streets of Ortigia, the island where the time seems to have stopped.
“The village was a theatre, a forestage of rose stones, a celebration of splendour. And it smelled of jasmines at nightfall. I would never stop to talk about it, to come back and to look myself in a so fond mirage” (Gesualdo Bufalino)
The unreal landscape of Modica gives it the aspect of a crib, where the houses, often extensions of typical caves, are collected and the bell towers lean towards the clock of the turret of the Castle, the highest part of the city. The various churches in flowered baroque style, characterized by an impressive but refined taste, overlook scenographic staircases modelled on the hill’s slopes.
“In the city full of terraces and churches of the seventeenth century, area of right visions of countries and seas, of science and art…” (Salvatore Quasimodo)
“You need to be intelligent to come to Ibla, a certain quality of mind, the taste for the silent and burning tuff, the blind alley, the useless twirls, the window-shutter sealed on black and spying eyes.” (Gesualdo Bufalino)
It is not easy to perceive Ragusa Ibla in toto because of its structure: it can be appreciated walking up the paths and looking at the small details in order to understand that also a pebble vibrates. Mystical city also dramatic in its masses in movement, in the sculptures and in the chiaroscuro the create lights and shades in an emotional and suggestive cross. Aristocratic city and symbolic in the never-ending struggle between good and evil where Saint George defeated the dragon.
Noto asks for love because it offers you love: when it welcomes you through Porta Reale symbolizing strength, fidelity, and benevolence for the neighbour; when it charms you with the golden coloured stone which, after the earthquake in 1693, was used to rebuild the city. The dynamic and complex shapes of churches, whose city’s heart is full, and the majestic staircases express in a solemn way the devout spirit that can be also found in the sacred niches of the secondary tiny streets dedicated in particular to the worship of Saint Conrad, hermit and patron of the city. The coat of arms and the architectonic decorations of the aristocratic buildings; the lions, the griffins, the winged horses, the allegorical amoretti and the mermaids of the balconies at Nicolaci Palace tell of a fairy-tale elegance typical of the Sicilian baroque.
Militello is healing me, here you can breathe well, people you meet look at you, smiles, everything is in harmony, it will be because of the mountains, the water, the ground, the air is truly clean. In Militello you can meet living fountains, Churches made of stone on stone that smell like jasmine, the roads go slow, in everyday life the chaos remains outside, you can smell the bread, it is good, it is peace. In Militello everything is more human, harmony is breathed among the people, you can see, good humor is met in everyone. I want to take the global soul of Militello. A lady meets me, and looking at me with her heart, she whispers to me ” God protect you”, words of always that the great center, the great metropolis, sometimes ignores. In Militello nobody touches anything, the water keeps going down, everything is quiet. In Militello there is no need to wear the watch, there are the bells to intone the time, every quarter of an hour tells his story. In order to tell a story, it is necessary to live among the inhabitants, be part of it, a day is not enough, a sunrise and a sunset, must live among the inhabitants, it would require a still image to understand what is hidden in the depths.