uciim

sicily

catholic professional association of teachers,
school managers and school and vocational trainers.


   MAZARA DEL VALLO

The Norman Arch
1. The Norman ArchThe ancient Arab quarter
2. The ancient Arab quarter
The ancient Arab quarter
3. The ancient Arab Quarter
Roof in the Church of San Francesco
4. Roof in the Church of S. Francesco

ANCIENT MAZARA

 

The city is situated at the extreme southwestern tip of Sicily. Its shores have been harbour and landing places since prehistoric times for different civilizations. Under the Arabs Mazara experienced a long period of splendour which continued with the Normans. The Muslim armies landed in Mazara on 16th June 827 A.D.; the islamic quarters still existing in the town, the names of some places, of food, of people, are the only left evidence of the Arabian domination. Under the Arabs Mazara became a place of great importance for the trading activities connected both to its harbour and to agriculture, which, thanks to a skilful use and saving of waters, flourished. Nothing is left of the Arab town. The only tangible example of the islamic culture can be seen in the urban layout of some ancient quarters in the heart of the town (photos 2 and 3)

The Normans arrived in 1072 when King Roger defeated the Arabs; the big monumental religious complexes, which underwent major and sumptuous transformations under the Baroque period, are due to them. After the first period of conquest, the Normans discovered the Arabian civilization and were fascinated by it. A prosperous period began for Sicily: a long period which saw a perfect fusion of three cultures: Greek, Arab and Latin. In the field of architecture an example of the perfect mixture of the three civilizations is San NicolÚ Regale (photo n. 5) which combines a Byzantine layout with the use of small ashiars typical of the Arabs and with the arches with multiple offsets typical of the Norman style.

Two of the finest examples of the Baroque style are considered the Churches of Santa Veneranda and of San Francesco d'Assisi (photo n. 4).

 

MODERN MAZARA

 

Mazara nowadays has the main fishing fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. The fishing industry accounts for the main economy of the town. The second main economic aspect is linked to agriculture with a production of thousands of tons of grapes per year.

 

 

San NicolÚ Regale
5. San NicolÚ Regale


The canal port
6. The canal port

ARTS & CULTURE IN MAZARA

 

Apart from the numerous monumental buildings which can be found in Mazara, the small town is reasonably familiar with culture and art primarily because of two names: Pietro Consagra and, chiefly, "The Satyr".

 

Pietro Consagra (photo no. 7a), famous painter and sculptor, was born in Mazara in 1920. His fame has passed the Italian boundaries and his works can be found in the most important museums in the world: the Tate Gallery in London, the MusŤ d'Art Moderne in Paris, the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna in Rome and in the Fondazione Guggenheim in Venice. 
In Mazara, his most famous work is the bronze fountain in Piazza Mokarta (see pictures no. 8a and 8b), symbolizing the souls of the dead mariners coming out of the sea. In the Civic Museum you can find some of his works (photo no. 7b). Pietro Consagra has designed a particular facade for a building, situated in Piazza della Repubblica, which at the moment houses some of the municipal offices and which has been considered, from an artistic and stylistic point of view, an offence against good taste.

 

"The Dancing Satyr" (photos no. 9 to 12) is a bronze statue found in the deep Mediterranean sea, not far from the Sicilian coasts, in 1998. It is considered to belong to the hellenistic period (it is dated back to III or II century B.C.) and can be compared, from a historical and archeological point of view, to the "Bronzi di Riace".
Now it has been restored almost to its primary magnificence and can be admired in "The Satyr's Museum", in Mazara del Vallo. (photos 9 to 12 show the Satyr before and after the restauration works).
The bronze statue conveys deep feelings and emotions because of the perceived body movement for the frenzied, whirling Dionysian dance. Its magnificence and preciousness can be fully understood only in the athmoshere and the silence of the museum where it is kept.

For more information about the Satyr click here (in Italian).
For photos about it, click here (in Italian)

 

SPANISH

PIETRO CONSAGRA & HIS WORKS  

7a. Pietro Consagra

7b. One of Pietro Consagra's sculptures

8a. Bronze Fountain by Pietro Consagra in Mazara del Vallo (north side)


8b. Bronze Fountain by Pietro Consagra (particular)


9a. Piazza della Repubblica as you can see it now
(mouse on the image and you can see Consagra's project for the facade)


9a. The building which houses some of the municipal offices in Piazza della Repubblica
(mouse on the image and you can see Consagra's project for the facade)


THE DANCING SATYR

The Satyr
9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

9 and 10:
The Satyr's face before and after the restauration works

11.
The extreme refinement of the Satyr's hair

12 and 13:
The Satyr's body before and after the restauration works.