The Sicilian cart
8 October 2019

The Sicilian cart

A work of art on the Sicilian streets

The Sicilian cart is one of the most representative symbols of Sicily, together with the Trinacria, the cannolo and the cassata Siciliana. Even if it is no longer used for the purpose for which it was designed, it is still easy to see some on the streets of Sicily or during fairs and village festivals, and observing it carefully you can discover many Sicilian stories and legends.

Sicilian cart
a Sicilian cart

History of the Sicilian cart

The Sicilian cart is now definitely in disuse and is no longer used as a means of transport but it can be defined as a “work of art” that boasts a very ancient history, dating back to the early nineteenth century.
U carrettu” spread on the Sicilian island in fact from 800 when improved the conditions of the road network that had remained in very poor condition after the fall of the Roman Empire. The transports therefore, that previously only happened by sea, become possible also by land and the cart becomes the preferred means of transport for the Sicilians. It was towed by a single animal and allowed the transport of agricultural products but it was also the means of transport of the whole family.
Despite being an apparently very simple means, the creation of the Sicilian cart was quite complex and required the work of several craftsmen: carpenters to work and carve the wood, the blacksmith for the parts in iron, the “carradore” to assemble the various parts and painters who painted all the parts that could be painted.

And it is the paintings that have always characterized these means of transport. They had many functions: first of all they served to protect the cart from the wear and tear of time, so that it could be kept for as long as possible. Moreover, the drawings on the cart had a superstitious function, they were in fact considered lucky charms that could ward off misfortune and instead bring luck and prosperity to the owner and his family. Finally, they were a rather elementary and ancient form of “advertising”: a colourful cart managed to attract more buyers.

Today there are several museums dedicated to Sicilian carts! If you want to visit them contact us to book your private transfer and we will accompany you in Sicilian cities that will allow you to discover much more about Sicilian traditions. If you want to experience firsthand another form of transport, on the sea and not on land, book your sailing tour by contacting our partner Sicily Sailing Experience, to live a unique and exciting experience!

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