The Sacred and the Profane

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With this article I’d like to let to you know something about Sicily (Italy), my land of birth. And I will do this by presenting one of my preferred projects, The Sacred and the Profane, shot in 2010 in Palermo, the capital city of this sunny island. Even though I was there only for a couple of weeks (I lived on the opposite side of Sicily) I still remember those times as a wonderful and colorful dream. There would be much to say about Sicily, its beautiful sea, its great landscapes and its friendly people, but I prefer to let images speak for themselves by showing part of this tale.


Palermo (Sicily), July 2010, time of the religious festival dedicated to the patron saint of the city: Santa Rosalia (“u fistinu”). A careful tour around the most significant neighborhoods reveals the great faith and the strong devotion of the people towards the patron saint. Improvised altars of saints, candles, flowers appear everywhere, in the most unlikely places, and silently live together with the daily events of the Palermitans, blending within and disappearing in the background of this wonderful theater of life, full of loud sounds, smells and tastes that arouse strong emotions.

As a Sicilian, I know myself how faith conditions any aspect of our lives; This series, in fact, tries to communicate, through the metaphor of images, how the historical roots and traditions are so far in time that today we can see a curious and sometime grotesque mix of worship objects and symbols with everyday life.

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All photos and texts are copyrighted by Marco Ristuccia. All rights reserved.

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