History of the Siciallan Cart

These carts were introduced to the island by ancient Greeks. A lack of a descent system of roads made the cart a popular and necessary means of transport. The carts reached their peak of popularity in the 1920s when thousands of them were on the island.

Cuonca pu Braciori - Sicilian cooking pot

When Museum President Donny Orlando and Committee Chairman Libby LaMarca Rose discovered this antique sharpening stone tucked away within the museum, Larry Calmes built the stand from wood from the old livery stable in Independence. Larry used old wooden boards and re-purposed into stands as shown in the picture.

Today, Sicilians continue the tradition of decorating their horses and carts reflecting local history.,  Since the invention of the automobile, these decorative carts are used primarily for parades and weddings.

"Our Father" - "Patri Nostru" is written in Sicilian, the language of our immigrant ancestors. Linguists state that Sicilian is not just an Italian dialect, but Sicilian is in fact a language all its own, even though it is similar to Italian.  Language scholars point to the fact that the Sicilian language is the first language to have branched off from ancient Latin making it much older than the rest of the Romance languages. 

Carmella Bureggi Magiolo

Cuonca pu braciori illustrates the ingenuity of our Sicilian ancestors.  This stylish hand-made  item is an antique Sicilian cooking pot which also serves as a foot warmer!  Franco Geraci of New Orleans recently donated this lovely item which originated in Partinico, Sicily.

Mr. Larry Calmes hand carved, painted, and donated this lovely Sicilian friscalettu, also known as a Sicilian reed flute or fife.  He used wood from Sicily that was brought to Independence by Lino Castigliola, so it could have that distinctive friscalettu sound.


Altar di San Guiseppe

Museum woodworker Mr. Larry Calmes built this display frame for the furno/ Sicilian outdoor oven and built several display tables for antique tools.

Independence Italian Cultural Museum Board member Libby LaMarca Rose created this miniature  St. Joseph's Altar and donated this little work of art to the museum.

Independence Italian Cultural Museum

Descendants of Carmella Bureggi Magliolo donated their cherished family accordion to the museum.

L to R: Museum Member Libby LaMarca Rose, Emily LaBruzza Vacarro, Rose Anne Magliola Lavigne, Mary Louise Sinagra, Emily Magliola, and Museum President Donnie Orlando

This vintage Sicilian postcard illustrates a family riding in style in the only mode of transportation many years ago also illustrates another example of the Sicilian people's historic infusion of art and pride in their history into their daily lives.

New items donated recently include:

Sicilian outdoor oven frame, antique tool stands, Sicilian friscalettu, antique accordion, antique insecticide sprayer, and pasta press. Also, items are being rotated from the museum's storage space such as the little student table complete with a vintage reader that belonged to Larry Calmes.

New on Loan - Magliola ​Concertina

​Carmella Bureggi Magliola's son Sam Magliolo gave his mother the accordion which is now on display at the museum.  Her grandchildren had fond memories of dancing to Mrs. Magliolo's beautiful accordion music.

Sicilian Cart/Carrettu/Carretto 

Inspired by the decorated  Carrettu, Sicilian language student Mr. Larry Calmes hand built and painted the cart with images of Sicilian heritage such as Cucidati, Vinu du Fragula, and Pani cu l'ogghiu. Because this museum building was once Mater Dolorosa Church, he included the Hail Mary and the Lord's Prayer written in Sicilian. The Carrettu wheels were obtained from the Amish country.