Sicilian carts are a tradition and a local folklore icon. Known all over the world, they originated in Sicily around the 18th century.
In ancient times, they were built by carradori (coach builders), skilled local craftsmen, and used to transport all kinds of goods.
Several figures took part in the creation of these carts. ‘U firraru, the smith, made all the iron parts, such as a cascia ri fusu (a wrought-iron structure that joined the wheel axle to the bottom of the chassis). ‘U siddaru saddled and adorned the draught animal with bows, ribbons, bells, decorated harnesses, gilded nails and red and yellow plumes, the colours of Sicily.
Finally, ‘u ferrascecchi shoed the horse, while it was the carver, who decorated the sides of the cart with paintings and engravings that were as elaborate as they were important, who was the owner of the cart.
The colourful decorations depict various subjects: from sacred images of the Virgin Mary or saints to episodes from romances of chivalry, scenes from daily life and historical events.
Today, these wonderful examples of Sicilian popular culture can be admired during the parades of popular festivals. Particularly renowned is the festival celbrated in Sant’Alfio a Trecastagni, in the Province of Catania.