Let it roll, amico

Let it roll, amico
Photo by Charles Barry

Visitors to Vintage Santa Clara were treated to a look at this ornately decorated carrettu Sicilianu(Sicilian cart) this September. Built in the Palermo region a century ago, this rolling work of art depicts four battle scenes from Sicily’s history—and is one of many such ornate and functional iron-and-wood vehicles that were once ubiquitous on the island. This lovely two-wheeler was recently restored and donated by Cy and Lena Barbaccia.

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Artist Fabio Sanzogni restored this rolling beauty. It has its roots in functionality: Two-wheeled carts were a simple and efficient way of carrying stuff, with a small horse or donkey pulling the load. Originally the coats of paint used on the carts were to protect wood. But vehicles for hauling loads also became carriers of pictorial history, and in the 1920s thousands of them could be found wending their way along the roads of Sicily. These days, miniature versions of the carts are popular tourist keepsakes, but this is the full-size original.

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