Cinabro Carrettieri, the last Sicilian Carters and Cart Makers


The Sicilian Cart


Ragusa Ibla

Actually, I have never known or heard about the Sicilian carts and the tradition behind it. To be honest, I haven't noticed it either since the moment I saw this cute little shop close by our hotel in Ragusa Ibla in Via dell'orfanotrofio, 22. Driven by curiosity, I entered the shop while Alessandro was trying to park our car. It was like that as if per magic I felt myself back in time: the workshop seemed like it had been left like that for years: a red wooden cart was placed behind the entrance and followed by that so much of interesting stuff which immediately called my attention. There was a board sign saying that guided tours inside the workshop were possible for only 3 euros. Obviously, I wanted to!!!  Here we go! This is how we knew about the last Sicilian Cart Makers: Biagio Castilletti and Damiano Rotella: two elegantly dressed artisans dedicated to painting and restoring carts in a once upon a time style. I ever imagined myself to get in touch with such a scene in Ragusa Ibla. 
Alessandro and I were excited about the tour which explained perfectly the history, art and tradition about the Sicilian carts.

Sicilian Cart

"The Sicilian cart, no longer exists" this is the common thought because it is already an old tradition forgotten among the locals. But still, someone who follows the traditions seems love owning a cart or at least renting it for special occasions. The Sicilian cart, il carretto siciliano in the Italian language, is nothing else then a colourful horse-drawn cart introduced by the ancient Greek which construction requires wood carvers, painters and metal workers. 

Cinabro Carrettieri

Once the cart stood the streets screaming the splendour of its owner so the colours, the noises and why not even the dresses of the carters were ways to communicate with the customers: richer it appeared, more commisions and orders that the carter could receive. It has become day by day necessary investing in it since the carts were essential in the Sicilians life. This is how the Sicilian carts have become more and more decorative.


Cinabro Carrettieri

Seems that there are still corners in Sicily which are doing all the possible to maintain this beautiful tradition handed down orally from masters to students. This is what Damiano and Biagio did, they learnt the concepts and today in their historical workshop they embody what is left of the Sicilian cart so that people can rediscover what has been forgotten. As it should be, their work is emerging slowly and some important brands such as Dolce Gabbana or Smeg have already discovered them and done some beautiful creations together. As shown by some photos hung with his autograph, seems that Steve McCurry neither didn't miss the visit to the workshop.

Ragusa Ibla

We were really happy we had an opportunity to visit this wonderful place. While in Ragusa Ibla one should never miss this out, it is one of the best places which represents a good slice of the Sicilian tradition explained moreover by people with a lot of passion for what they create. They are not very good in English but nonetheless they are able to pass their passion to you!

2 comments:

  1. These carts looks very fancy and I love to know that the traditions are being kept till now. Wish to try this someday

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  2. wow nice place
    would love to go

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