In the port town of Mazara del Vallo, on Sicily’s west coast, you will find a small museum with a stunning ancient bronze statue: Il Satiro Danzante. (The Dancing Satyr)
The story of this treasure’s discovery, told in the museum’s video room, is fascinating. In 1998, local fishermen aboard the
Capitan Ciccio (Captain Fatso) were going about their ho-hum work of casting nets for shrimp and octopus, when they dredged up this torso from the sandy sea floor. The finding made international news and the damaged body was transported to a state-of-the art restoration center in Rome.
At first, it was thought to be a creation of the famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles, but after closer examination experts defined it as a Roman copy from sometime between the third and second centuries BC.
After 5 years of work, the restored satyr was unveiled with fanfare in Rome, then moved back to this Mazara del Vallo museum. Its allure is huge — it’s been displayed to much enthusiasm at Japan’s Universal Expo of Achi, as well as in Milan and at the Louvre.
In Ancient Greece, Satyrs were naughty, half man-half goat creatures, who danced around Dionysus, the God of Wine, in wild orgiastic frenzies with their female counterparts, Maenads.
Il Satiro Danzante seems to be caught in the midst of a wild leap, his alabaster eyes blazing–beckoning us to celebrate the ultimate joy of letting it all go…
Museo del Satiro, Chiesa di Sant’Egidio – Piazza Plebiscito, Mazara del Vallo
Open daily, 9am – 6pm
Susan is the Italian American author of
100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, www.susanvanallen.com. A New Edition of this popular book was just released, and it includes ItalianNotebook in its Online Resources Section! This November she will lead a Golden Week in Tuscany: For Women Only Tour, specially designed for female travelers to immerse themselves in the pleasures of Italy at harvest time.