The spread of the “Casazze”, sacred processions depicted with costumed characters divided into groups symbolizing episodes from the Old and New Testament and performed during Holy Week, most likely descends from the Ligurian-Po regions. The Casazza represented in Nicosia, with a certain regularity until 1813, not only has an affinity with the one represented in Liguria (Genoa and Savona) but among those staged in Sicily it stands out for its characteristics of completeness, participation, richness of liturgical details, which elsewhere (Castelbuono, Collesano, Caltanissetta, Palermo, Burgio, Erice, Carini, Partinico, Mussomeli and Salemi) we definitely do not find.
According to most, the reason for this Nicosian originality is the Gallo-Italian descent (northern Italy) of a large part of the Nicosian population at the time of the Normans and of Frederick II; therefore a more faithful observance of the representative “northern Italian” canons compared to those taken up in the 17th century from the other island centers on the wave of the Counter-Reformation and the aesthetic-representative principles of the Baroque.
We are not sure when the first performance of the “Casazza” in Nicosia dates back, however it was a pride of the nobility and the people of the “state property”, which on the occasion offered the best of itself in terms of pomp, scenography and extras as if to confirm the birthright of the sacred spectacle in Sicily.
The origin of the Casazze, as of the various sacred representations, appears decidedly “cultured”, that is, under the direct promotion of the clergy and noble classes. In fact, in that of Nicosia each scene (9 of the Old and 26 of the New Testament) were “arranged” and sponsored by the nobles and the rich bourgeoisie (notaries, doctors, priests).
The itinerant sacred representation “the Casazza of Nicosia” has been registered in the REIS (Register of Intangible Heritage of the Region of Sicily) for its particular religious, anthropological and social relevance and mostly because it still maintains the connotative elements of tradition.
The publication of this article aims to disseminate the Casazza, a religious tradition of considerable emphasis, which has characterized the city of Nicosia for several centuries and which, at a certain point, fell into oblivion. The event has been resumed for some years with the commitment of almost all voluntary associations, theater companies and with the support of the municipal administration.

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Laura Gurgone


V A Liceo Classico