Sicilian carts are a symbol of Sicilian tradition and folklore. Known all over the world they have originated in Sicily around the 8th century. The carts were built by skilled craftsmen called “carradori” (coachbuilders) and were once used for transport of goods of all kinds.

Several figures of craftsmen participated in the construction of the cart, starting from “u firraru” (blacksmith), which carried out all the iron parts, “u siddaru”, a craftman who saddled and adorned the pack mule, with bows, ribbons, bells, decorated harnesses, gilded nails and plumes, usually red and yellow, which are the colors of Sicilian flag.

cavallo bardato carretto siciliano

A typical horse harmess – Ph. Domenico Milella

Finally there were “u ferrascecchi” (blacksmith), who looked after shoeing the horse and the carvers, who took care of the sides of the cart, decorating them with rich paintings and engraving the more elaborate the more important was the owner of the cart.

The colorful decorations cover various subjects , from the sacred images of the Virgin Mary or the Saints , to episodes of romances, from folk epic, scenes of everyday life to historical events. These wonderful examples of popular culture of the Island can be admired especially during folk festivals. The feast of S. Alfio, in Trecastagni (Catania) is one of the best known.

Museo del Carretto on TripAdvisor – Terrasini (Palermo)