The small town of Roccavaldina is made up of about 1,000 inhabitants. It is placed on the Tyrrhenian side of the mountain range Peloritani. According to historical studies the town was born in the late Middle Ages under the name of “rocca”. But the tradition says the origins are much more ancient so that it might have been one of the Roman tribunes that stood out in the Punic wars to found the first settlement. The town boasts many religious and civic architectures, for instance: the Cathedral of St. Niccolò, the church of Saints Damiano and Cosma , the Church of S. M. della Catena and the Pharmacy Museum.

The last one is considered one of the most important cultural places in Sicily, which has perfectly remained preserved over the centuries. It is composed of an ancient collection of ceramics dating back to 1580 and includes 238 vases of various shapes and sizes: 6 amphorae, 164 albarelli, 39 conical jugs and 29 jugs. The vases were made in the workshop of Maestro Antonio Patanazzi in Urbino. But there are also other vases, which were added later, from Venice, Neaples, Caltagirone and Calabria. Your attention is drawn by some interesting old items such as mortars, alembics, scales, filters.

The decoration of the vases is very remarkable both for the variety and characters, because biblical, mythological and historical scenes are depicted.

Among the biblical scenes you can find: Abraham and Isaac, History of Joseph and his brothers, the Archangel driving the Devil on the flames, Jesus on the road to Emmaus and The Universal Flood.
Talking about the mythological scenes you can see: Myrrh gives birth to Adonis, Apollo and Daphne, Apollo sitting near Daphne transformed into laurel and Eros darting, Apollo and the Muses, Diana and the nymphs, Actaeon and the nymphs, Diana hunter and behind the muses Callisto, Danae and the rain of gold.

Moreover, some albarelli are enriched by decorative motifs – the so called raffaellesca –  taken from original drafts of the frescoes by the painter Raphael in the Vatican Lodges. Due to these peculiarities, the collection is fundamental for Italian ceramics from the Renaissance period, it can be actually considered equal to the one of the pharmacy of the Holy House in Loreto and the second after that in Urbino. Despite being small, this wonderful treasure is worth a visit.

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Federica Franzì


3BS – Liceo G. Galilei Spadafora, indirizzo Scienze Applicate

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