Always been a witness of customs and traditions it has an essential role in the culture of the country.
An important means of preservation and revalorization of Italian literary heritage was the founding of Literary Parks, what is a new approach to literature by personally experiencing it and exploring the places that inspired it.
Often originating from as simple ideas as a tale, the so-called literary parks help to better appreciate our country literary production. They illustrate the work of our writers and the more genuine aspects of the land that gave birth to them and their masterpieces.
Sicily was the birthplace of worldwide renowned and admired writers. Here, as in other Italian regions, several literary parks celebrate the works of illustrious artists and the places, landscapes, history, traditions and flavours that inspired them.
A journey through Sicily's literary parks offers the opportunity to appreciate authors like Salvatore Quasimodo and Luigi Pirandello, as well as the objects and the typical products that they loved. It means to know the historical events and situations that led to the creation of their masterpieces.
Luigi Pirandello was born in Girgenti, the to-day's Agrigento, in 1867, and died in Rome in 1936. Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934, he is also remembered for his bitter though ironic vision of life and his extreme interest in human beings, of whom he dramatized the dreadful loneliness. Worldwide celebrated are: "Il fu Mattia Pascal" (The late Mattia Pascal), showing his vision of life; "Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore" (Six Characters in Search of An Author), "Ciascuno a suo modo" and "Questa sera si recita a soggetto", where the artist analyzed the strict connection between fiction and reality; "Uno, nessuno e centomila" (One, None, and a Hundred thousand) and "L'uomo dal fiore in bocca".
His realistic characterizations attest to the artist's deep bond with his birthland.
Most his protagonists come from Sicily and belong to lower or country classes.
He also depicted people of the middle classes, from Rome, where he had eventually
The artist requested to be cremated and his ashes dispersed in the countryside of his land, in the Kaos district, that is the heart of the Pirandello Literary Park. This comprises other places of the Agrigento area. Cultural and theatre itineraries have been worked out to allow visitors to better enjoy the artist's works and dearest places.
Stefano D'Arrigo (www.horcynusorca.it) was born in Alì (Messina) and died in Rome in 1992.
After finishing University, at Messina, he set out for Rome where he worked
as a journalist for two noted newspapers: "Il Tempo" and "Giornale
d'Italia". His production includes several important works. "Codice
Siciliano", a collection of poems published in 1957, mainly hermetic and
surrealist, and dealing with the theme of immigration that he saw as an unavoidable
destiny for all Sicilian people. "Horcynus Orca", previously published
under the title of "I giorni della Fera", was published in 1975. Set
in a country devastated by the war, in October '43, the book tells of the journey
home of 'Ndrja Cambria, a Sicilian Navy soldier. The language is particularly
interesting, the author skillfully combining the Sicilian dialect with an elegant
Italian. Finally, "Cima delle Nobildonne", a novel of 1985.
The park dedicated to this artist offers diverse itineraries: literary, ethnographic, underwater and multimedial.
The park is an interesting Multimedial Centre located by the two provinces of Messina and Reggio Calabria. Visitors can participate in simulations and see photographs or films. Also available are a sea library, reading and writing rooms, an Archaeologic Exhibition, earth sciences and marine ecology laboratories.
Salvatore Quasimodo (www.quasimodo.it) was born in Modica (Ragusa) in 1901 and died in Naples in 1968.
His father being a railwayman, he started travelling at a very young age, and experienced the difficulties involved in a nomadic way of life. Quasimodo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1959, and is well-known for poetic masterpieces such as "Ed è subito sera", "La terra impareggiabile" and "Giorno dopo giorno" (Day after day). Outstanding are his translations of Greek Lyrics by Omero and Catullo, and those of Shakespeare and Neruda.
The poet lived only the first two years of his life in Modica. He had a particular affection for Roccalumera, his parents' native city and travelled through many other places in all Italy. Modica has dedicated him a Literary Park, that attests its great affection for the poet and reciprocates the splendid lyrics that he wrote to his homeland, especially in the beginning of his career where Sicily was seen as his "romantic dream".
Modica remembers him by preserving, upkeeping and opening his house to the public, and by the actual literary park, that offers a video and audio reproduction of his poems.
A further stop at the Torre Saracena of Roccalumera is also suggested to better know and appreciate the author of celebrated collections like "Acque e terre" (Waters and lands) and "Oboe sommerso" (Sunken Oboe).
Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa was born in Palermo in 1896 and died in Rome in 1957. He belonged to an aristocratic family, the Princes of Lampedusa and Dukes of Palma. His passion for travelling brought him to visit many European countries.
Best remembered is his "Gattopardo" (The Leopard), his only novel, published posthumously in 1958, translated worldwide and later made into the celebrated film by Luchino Visconti starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon.
The book chronicles the slow but inexorable decline of the Sicilian aristocracy
and of the Borbonic government by around 1860, a destiny that is resignedly
acknowledged by the Prince Fabrizio di Salina, the main protagonist.
The literary park dedicated to the writer comprises Palermo, his native city, Santa Margherita del Belice, a city in the Agrigento area where he spent happy years, and Palma di Montechiaro, his family's land.
The itinerary crosses the writer's Sicily: Palermo, with his innumerable monasteries and aristocratic palazzi; Santa Margherita del Belice, where stands one of the family palaces, today's official seat of the Park; finally, Palma di Montechiaro where stands the Ducal Palace, housing an exhibition of objects of the writer family.
Leonardo Sciascia was born in Racalmuto (Agrigento) in 1921 and died in Palermo
in 1989. He was a well-known novelist and essayist. He also was a teacher and
a committed politician.
Sicily is the set of most his works, attesting his love for the native land. His predominant theme is the struggle of the individual who seeks justice in the midst of social iniquities and official complicity and corruption. He was the author of numerous crime thrillers set in the Mafia milieu, like "Il giorno della Civetta" (The day of the owl), about the dualism between Don Mariano, an old mafia boss, and Bellodi, an intrepid captain of Police.
He carefully focused on the Sicilian people that although their many contradictions maintained, in the writer eyes, many good qualities.
His Literary Park is divided into four itineraries.
The first comprises Racalmuto and Caltanissetta, where you can visit the writer's dearest places, his birth house, and the market area in Caltanissetta.
The second itinerary concerns the sulphur and the salt mines. The former was one of Sciascia favourite themes, as his tale "La paga del Sabato" attests. The writer denounced the sulphur-mining industry and the workers over-exploitment.
The third itinerary concerns the traditional and religious events held in the Caltanissetta area. Sciascia had a singular religious view, according to which Sicilian people is much closer to the Saints than to the Christian God, and that before any social revolution a religious one is needed.
The last itinerary is a train journey through the streets and places of the author childhood. Visitors can also appreciate the beauty of these old places and lands that so much influenced the human and literary growth of Leonardo Sciascia.