December 15, 2017
When I visited the sleepy little town of Buscemi (population about one thousand) about an hour’s drive from Siracusa, I thought about the actor, Steve Buscemi, who starred in Broadwalk Empire. Did his relatives come from this town?
The town’s residents are mostly retirees; the young people have moved away. Yet this town is an interesting museum of sorts and you can visit an old palmento, where grapes were made into wine by stomping on them. You can visit a typical home of the 18th century where people lived in close quarters with their animals and you can visit the museum housing the famous and artfully made breads made for Saint Joseph’s Day on March 19. On that day, entire towns like Buscemi and Salemi are covered in bread symbols.
The breads are made in hundreds of fanciful shapes from animals to flowers to fruits and tools used by a carpenter, which St Joseph was. Simple tools like thimbles, scissors, knives, pasta wheels, needles and combs are used to create the intricate shapes.