The island of Sicily is home to an abundance of traditions many of which come alive as spring unfolds. From dancing with devils in Prizzi to watching a play in a red and gold auditorium in Palermo, here are our favourite experiences not to be missed this spring.
The Merry Wives of Falstaff, Palermo
📅 23rd March – 5th May 2022
The majestic opera house, Massimo Theatre, in Sicily’s capital, Palermo was built by the father and son duo, Giovanni and Filippo Basile. Created from local marble and stone, this architectural masterpiece opened in 1897 and has been rousing audiences ever since. This spring, sit in its ornate red and gold auditorium under a beautiful ceiling painted by Rocco Lentini and enjoy The Merry Wives of Falstaff, directed by Venti Lucenti. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s comedies and Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, this is a comical play about Falstaff seducing the wives of two wealthy merchants in order to fix his financial woes. After the show, enjoy views of Palermo from the opera house’s rooftop bar.
Week of Culture, Palermo
📅 30th April – 8th May 2022
Palermo has been a cultural melting pot since the 5th century BC, basked under the banner of Italian Capital of Culture in 2018. This spring it comes alive with the 11th edition of Settimana delle Cultura, or Week of Culture. Expect concerts and cultural events including an exhibition showcasing an extraordinary 17th century tapestry usually on display in Ursino Castle in Catania on the island’s east coast. Another highlight is a fascinating exhibition featuring works by the artist Giacomo Failla, who was born in Catania and participated in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2012.
The Dance of the Devils, Prizzi
📅 17th April 2022
It’s worth driving 90 minutes south of Palermo to Prizzi to witness Il Ballo dei Diavoli – the dance of the devils – a pagan ritual that celebrates the arrival of spring. Locals wearing devil masks parade through the streets, before angels arrive to banish the evil forces. Bells ring to mark the celebration and the Virgin Mary loses her black cape to represent the triumph of good over evil, with a finale of the devils bowing in front of statues of the Virgin Mary and the resurrected Christ.