“Once upon a time there was an enchanted garden…”. What I am going to write down is not a tale, but it’s a real open-air museum in Sciacca! It is in the locality of Sant’Antonio, not far from the city centre and it is an enchanted place, a garden with hundreds of sculptures of faces of all sizes. The garden is at the foot of Mount Kronio, totally surrounded by a rich vegetation and stones. The owner was Filippo Bentivegna, a rather particular character who knew nothing of art and sculpture.He was born in Sciacca in 1888 and died in 1967. We only know that he emigrated to America in search of fortune and he suffered severe head trauma and was repatriated to Italy. He bought a piece of land where he retired to carry out his dream: to realize an enchanted garden. His garden is made up of many faces, giving them any expression: here then appear sad, happy, enigmatic, smiling, thoughtful, angry heads, all however united by a lost look in the nothing. Sometimes, you have the impression that they’d like to talk to you, or they’d like just a smile! There are more than 3.000 faces portrayed with expressiveness . They hide many secrets that end in the small house where he lived isolated. Today his art is known in France, thank to Jean Dubuffet, founder of the concept of Art Brut that is art spontaneous and the artists do not follow any rule or convention in making their works.
Noone can say if he was mad or simply a genius, but we can certainly assure that human mind has no limits. There is a fine line between sanity and madness. To cross that line means to reach eternity.