Read the magazine even when you're offline
Download it now!
Downloading in progress
Offline You're browsing offline! External links will become available when you're online
On October 17th, 2003, UNESCO ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, aimed at preserving and protecting the traditional culture and folklore of our planet. In fact, UNESCO aims to protect these masterpieces and prevent them from disappearing, preserving the vast range of languages, rituals, social customs, knowledge, and practices related to crafts that have been passed down from generation to generation over the millennia.
Sicilian Puppet Theatre (Opera dei Pupi)
Opera dei Pupi (Sicilian Puppet Theatre) Copyright © / Depositphotos
Sicilian Puppet Theatre, also known as Opera dei Pupi, is a theatrical tradition with armed marionettes, called pupi or puppets, widespread in Sicily and other southern regions of Italy. This tradition dates back to the 19th century and tells the chivalrous deeds of Charlemagne and his paladins, contributing to spreading in popular culture the themes of epic song, such as the sense of honor and justice, loves and battles.
The puppet theatre known as Opera dei Pupi was born in Sicily at the beginning of the 19th century and became very popular among working-class people. The stories told, often improvised by puppeteers, are mainly based on medieval chivalric literature, Italian poems of the Renaissance, the lives of saints, and tales of bandits. The main schools of Sicilian pupi are those of Palermo and Catania, often managed by families, and whose puppets are built and painted according to tradition.
In the past, Opera dei Pupi performances influenced the public and provided an opportunity for social claims. However, the economic boom of the 1950s, which offered better-paid jobs, the arrival of other forms of entertainment (such as cinema and television), and tourism in recent decades have contributed to the decline of this theatrical tradition, originally intended for a local audience. In the 1960s, thanks to the commitment of some enthusiasts, the tradition was relaunched, and in 2001 the Sicilian Puppet Theatre was recognized by UNESCO as an Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Viaggio in Italia nel Patrimonio Immateriale UNESCO: l'Opera dei Pupi Siciliani. Documentario MiC e Rai Cultura. Copyright © Canale Ufficiale YouTube del MiC - Ministero della cultura / Rai Cultura.
How Sicilian Puppet Theatre works
The Sicilian Puppet Theatre is based on the use of wooden marionettes, about one and a half meters tall, which represent and evoke the characters of epic stories. The puppets are handmade and painted with great care and present detailed costumes and armor that make them look very realistic. The manipulation of the puppets is done by puppeteers, who move behind the stage while pronouncing the dialogues of the characters. The audience watches the show from a frontal position, looking at the puppets moving on a rectangular stage.
The Agricultural Practice of the "Vite ad alberello" in Pantelleria
Vite ad alberello, Dammuso pantesco. Copyright ©  Isola di Pantelleria Parco Nazionale.
The agriculture of the "alberello pantesco" represents an ancient agricultural practice passed down from generation to generation in the community of Pantelleria. This vine cultivation technique is a unique example in its kind, as the "alberello" is low and protected by a concave area of land, allowing it to produce grapes and survive adverse weather conditions that characterize the island for most of the year.
Viaggio in Italia nel Patrimonio UNESCO: la pratica agricola della vite ad alberello. Documentario MiC e Rai Cultura. Copyright © Canale Ufficiale YouTube del MiC - Ministero della cultura / Rai Cultura.
In March 2023, the Pantelleria Island National Park inaugurated the Virtual Museum of the "Vite ad alberello" of Pantelleria, which is the first large virtual and "immaterial" collection as testimony to the historical recognition of UNESCO of the Agricultural Practice of the "Vite ad alberello" in Pantelleria.
The Sardinian Tenore singing
Originating from Sardinia, the Sardinian Tenore singing is an ancient polyphonic choral singing performed by four men, who use four different voices called bassu, contra, boche and mesu boche. This type of singing is characterized by the deep and guttural tone of the voices and is performed standing in a circle. The soloist sings a narrative part of the song based on folk tales, while the other voices perform a chorus accompaniment. The song texts are often based on themes related to Sardinian tradition, such as fieldwork, rural life, love stories, and local legends.
Viaggio in Italia nel Patrimonio Immateriale UNESCO: il canto a tenore sardo. Documentario MiC e Rai Cultura. Copyright © Canale Ufficiale YouTube del MiC - Ministero della cultura / Rai Cultura.
The practitioners of Sardinian Tenore singing are mainly found in Barbagia and central Sardinia, and perform in local bars (called "su zilleri"), as well as in institutional celebrations and ceremonies, such as the Barbaricino carnival. This form of cultural expression continues to be affected by socio-economic changes, from the decline of Sardinia's millennia-old pastoral tradition to the rise of mass tourism that can compromise the original singing and its repertoires. However, it remains a unique form of singing, with an oral tradition that has preserved its authenticity over the centuries. The Sardinian Tenore singing was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.
The "faradda di li candareri" of Sassari
The "faradda di li candareri" of Sassari is a tradition that takes place every year on August 14th in the city of Sassari, in Sardinia. It is a religious festival that celebrates the Madonna dell'Assunta, but over time it has become a popular event that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The "faradda" consists of a religious procession of men carrying large, decorated, and colorful wax candles called "candareri" on their shoulders, each weighing about 30 kg. The procession winds its way through the streets of the historic center of Sassari, accompanied by a music band and culminates in the Church of Santa Maria di Betlem with a final blessing.
Viaggio in Italia nel Patrimonio Immateriale UNESCO: le feste delle grandi macchine a spalla. Documentario MiC e Rai Cultura. Copyright © Canale Ufficiale YouTube del MiC - Ministero della cultura / Rai Cultura.
The "faradda di li candareri" is a moment of great emotion for the people of Sassari, who feel deeply connected to the tradition and their city. During the procession, the streets of the historic center are illuminated by the candles, creating a magical and evocative atmosphere. The city of Sassari honors the vow to the Virgin, who, according to popular devotion, put an end to a plague.
The "faradda di li candareri", which is part of the Italian network of the "grande macchine a spalla" (big shoulder-borne machines), was recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013. Its cultural and historical importance is linked to its ability to represent the identity and tradition of the city of Sassari and Sardinia, through an ancient ritual that is repeated every year with the same spirit of participation and devotion.
Content sponsored 
Gorgeous travel photographs
You can immortalize your travels with photographs that tell a world of stories, experiences and colors through innovative and exceptional quality products from Canon, a leading global company, a pioneer in imaging and IT solutions. Visit the online store to have access to the best cameras, imaging products, as well as photography accessories. The website is designed to identify and purchase products quickly and easily: visit the Canon store.
Avion Tourism Magazine N10/2022
Editor in chief: Angela Trivigno. Contributors: Alisè Vitri, Anna Glik, Enzo Cuppatri, Lisa Maria River. Foto di copertina: Copyright © Snc / sepavone / Photos: Copyright © Snc with image usage license purchased from e (Photo for editorial use only. Credits specified under each published photo or video). Press Office: Commissione Nazionale Italiana per l'UNESCO; Associazione Città e Siti Italiani Patrimonio Mondiale UNESCO; UNESCO Beni Culturali - Ministero della cultura. Video: Documentari MiC e Rai Cultura, Canale Ufficiale YouTube del MiC - Ministero della cultura / Rai Cultura; Isola di Pantelleria Parco Nazionale. Avion Tourism Magazine N.10/2022: closed in the editorial staff and published on 22/12/2022 su Registration: Registro Stampa Tribunale di Bergamo N. 9/2019 del 03/07/2019. Periodicity: quadrimestrale. Publisher, Editing, Administration and Advertising: Snc - Via Piave, 102 - 23879 Verderio (Lc) Italy. P.Iva/C.F. 03248170163 - Registro delle Imprese di Lecco Numero LC-304260. Literary and artistic property: Copyright © Snc. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited in any form and medium..
The texts are protected by copyright and cannot be copied.
If you wish, you can share this page.
Be inspired
Subscribe to our newsletter and get useful tips for your next trip