Cultural Department


Is it possible to love the place where you were born so much to dedicate yourselves, decades of experience, your life’s work, and your time to it for free? It would seem so. The people below do just that.
In the strict sense they are the Splendid Sicily staff, however in reality they couldn’t do it without the contributions and participation of DOC Sicilians: etno-anthropologists, archaeologists, naturalists, scholars, mayors, writers…….

Thanks to everyone

P.S. thanks to all the people around the world who are contributing to support this awe-inspiring vision of Sicily.

The Cultural Department of Splendid Sicily is entitled to the memory of our illustrious member Sebastiano Tusa, supporter, friend, genuine man, kind islander and one of the greatest Sicilian archeologist ever, sadly died in a 2019 aircrash. Ciao Seb (left in the picture above during a book presentation with Splendid Sicily President Giovanni Vallone)
Sebastiano Tusa
One of the most illustrious archaelogists (and Sicilian) ever tragically died in an aircrash in 2019 during a Unesco's mission. Member of Splendid Sicily since 2016, Sebastiano was one of the great architect of this project.
Giovanni Vallone
President and founder of Splendid Sicily, TV and radio author, writer, ethno-anthropologist, Giovanni has devoted his whole life to the spread and the study of his beloved island. More at
Eliana Calandra
Director of the Historical Archives of the Municipality of Palermo, of the Sicilian Ethnographic Museum "Giuseppe Pitré" and of the city library system. Paleographer, ethno-anthropologist, passionate about books and reading, author of many specialist publications. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina of the traditions)
Gaetano Cipolla
A retired professor of Italian and Chairman of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages at St. John's University in New York City. He was born and raised in Francavilla di Sicilia in Messina Province, Sicily and emigrated to the US in 1955. He received his Bachelor of Science (1961) from New York University, Master of Arts (1969) from Hunter College (CUNY), and the PhD (1974) from New York University. He joined the faculty of St. John's University in 1974 and retired in 2011.
Dario Piombino Mascali
Bioarchaeologist specialized in mummy studies and paleopathology. Dario has lectured in many universities, including Edinburgh, Cranfield, and Vilnius. He is a National Geographic explorer and a frequent guest
Sara Favarò
Writer, poet, singer, actress, journalist, here it is Sara one of the most famous Sicilian ethno-anthropologists awarded all over the world for her Sicilian studies. Sicilian language editor of Splendid Sicily. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina of the Sun)
Betty Scaglione Cimò
Writer, poet, entrepreneur, Betty is one of the most famous Sicilian who constantly spread our culture and our traditions all over the world. She is a source of inspiration for all of us. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina of the Africa sea)
Claudio Paterna
A pupil of the major Sicilian anthropologists (Buttitta, Rigoli, Bonomo). He wrote numerous articles and publications and was director of the cultural office of the Sicilian Government
Giovanna Battaglia
Main speaker, translation, author, chief assistant, Giovanna has lived most of her life in U.S.A.
Helmut Calabrese
Composer and poet of Sicilian origins. He trained at New York University and is one of the founders of the music publishers Calabrese Brothers Music, LLC. He composed "The Most Beautiful Lady in the World" official Statue of Liberty Anthem"
Carmela D'Amore
“Sicily is my biological mother” says Australian/Sicilian born Award winning, International Sicilian chef Carmela D’Amore, who is also an author who's purpose is in the preservation of the Sicilian culture through cultural stories, recipes, and travels to visit her motherland on an annual cultural and culinary tour to Sicily. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina from Australia)
Alessia Franco
Journalist and writer based in Palermo. Her activity comprises storytelling of Sicilian traditions, customs, legends, old end new stories about the island and its inhabitants
Rosa Maria Ponte
Writer, painter and translator. Honorary citizen of the Municipality of Prizzi, together with her husband Carmelo Fucarino, she was awarded the Citation of the NY City Hall for cultural activities carried out in New York since 2006. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina from Pellegrino cape)
Romina Arena
Born in Palermo, Sicily. Adopted by the Al Pacino family from New York. Romina is a popera singer artist receiving multiple awards, performing concerts for important world celebrities like: president Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II at the Vatican,& the Italian icons Luciano Pavarotti Andrea Bocelli. Ambassador of our Department.
Salvatore Bartolotta
President of "Borghi piu belli d'Italia" association that has the aim of preserving and maintaining villages of quality heritage. He is from Novara di Sicilia a picturesque small town in the Northern side of Sicily.
Lina Messina
Mayor of the City of Darebin, Australia, the first Italian/Sicilian Female to have been honoured with this esteemed position. . A daughter of Sicilians whom migrated to Australia in the 1960’s, from the towns of Licodia Eubea and Militello from la provincia di Catania. She is fuelled by “Etna” to explore her identity, to understand and respect her cultural heritage.
Arianna Attinasi
Publisher of Edizioni Arianna, teacher, singer, pianist. That's Arianna, a girl full of life and culture. Since her young age she run a publishing house in Geraci Siculo, Madonie mountain, an area with strong traditions and habits.

Carmelo Fucarino
Illustrious Sicilian scholar, professor of classic literature. Writer, essayist, poet Carmelo has received many awards among others the prestigious City Council Citation of New York as «an outstanding citizen, one whom is worthy of the esteem of both community and the great City of NY».
Giuseppe Spina
Former Director of Etna Park, Giuseppe is a famous Sicilian that has introduced our Cultural Department to many people and organizations that have helped us on our work. A precious friend of Sicilians!
Tonino Giunta
Sea explorer, sea archaeologist and sea reporter. Our man of the Mediterannean seabed, searching for clues of the past.
Rosalba Panvini
One of the main leaders of the cultural office of the Sicilian Government, archeologist and university professor. She is a distinguished Sicilan woman who has dedicated her career in studying and development of the Sicilian history and culture. Member commission Sicilian Artisan Foundation project (Madrina dei Templi)
Michael Cavalieri
American actor and first time Writer/Director of Sicilian origins. His Directorial Debut “RITORNATO” which he also stars in was awarded a special grant by the Russo Brothers, the Directors of Avengers: Endgame. Cavalieri has received critical acclaim for starring roles in many Award-winning festival
Antonino Cangemi
Renowned writer and journalist, Antonino has realized some of the most intriguing researches about Sicilians of the past. Also Antonino is a precious source of culture and stories
Irene Varveri Nicoletti
Writer, painter and author. Irene lives in the very inland of Sicily (Leonforte). She has a strong Sicilian soul: romantic and old fashioned. Irene is a great landmark for our Cultural Department.
Rosanna Paternostro
TV author, anthropologist, Rosanna is from Corleone in the inland of Palermo an area rich in old traditions and habits. Rosanna is one of the best Sicilian reporter for that concern the ethno-antropological stories.
Pina Borrello
Correspondent from Washington D.C.
Salvatore Sal Giardina
Salvatore Giardina is a first generation Siculo American (from Pozzallo) who is a menswear designer, Adjunct Professor of Textiles at Fashion Institute of Technology, recipient of “ Ragusani Nel Mondo” award in 2016 and a dual citizen of Italy and USA. Salvatore has embraced local history and genealogy of the Sicilian people.
Tommaso Puccio
Tommaso is a pillar of the Rotary club in Sicily and a great lover and connoisseur of the Palermitano hinterland.
Anna and Vanna Cuticchio
Anna Cuticchio, an icon in Sicily, was the first pupara (marionnettist) woman ever of the Opera of the Puppets that is one of the characteristic cultural traditions of Sicily. In her adventorus life at a certain point she decided to become a nun. Vanna is her daughter. They are two pillars of our Cultural Department and of Palermo town.
Paola Pignatone
Sicilian and citizen of the world, passionate about travel and foreign languages. After 15 years working in the tourism industry in Barcelona, Spain, and a year in Munich, she now lives in Ingolstadt - a Bavarian town on the banks of the Danube. Exhibition Organiser, Sicilian Artisan Foundation Project
Elizabeth King
Radio Splendid Sicily Author and Voice. She is Irish and totally fallen in love with Sicily.
Vincenzo Belfiore
He lives in Noto, one the capitals of the Baroque style architecture in the world. He is considered the most important historian of his town. Vincenzo is also a naturalistic guide and he often plans excursion that run through again the ancient Sicilian roads of the past
Eolo Paul Bottaro
Australian birth with Sicilian origins: both from his mother and fathers side . As an Artist he is well known and respected in his field. Eolo has exhibited extensively and undertaken major private and public commissions in the fields of Affresco, Oil painting and Sculpture. See more at
Memmo Gambina
Scholar, guide. Memmo lives in Trapani area and is a great connoisseur of his territory that explores daily. Memmo is well know in Sicily for having discovered many solstice stones in tha area.
Fabio Lanteri
Vice Mayor in Cassaro, the doorway to Pantalica, Fabio is our referred point in this beautiful area of Sicily.
Fabio Grippaldi
Art historian from Acireale, the town of the Ionian coast with a gorgeous Baroque style. Fabio is a great connoisseur of the area.
Silvana Recupero
One of the most famous Sicilian chef with many programs presented on Italian Public Network. Thousands of people, every year, write to her in order to have some suggestion about Sicilian recipes.
Giusy La Bella
Our referred point in Montalbano Elicona area, the nice place between the Nebrodi mountains and the Mediterranean sea.
Silvana Restivo
She is from Casteltermini, few kms from the Temples Valley. A great reporter with a great love for the tales of old people and the traditions and the habits of her area.
Carmelo Carrubba
Our referred point in the area of Sutera, where the grain of fields replace the Mediterranean sea. President of the toursitic office. Carmelo is a great connoisseur of the folk traditions of its places.
Francesca Millauro
Inland area reporter
Marcello Mastroeni with Jack, the barking Drone
Father and pilot of Jack Jackfly, the Drone, in the eastern side of Sicily
Salvo Ventura
Audio, photographer
Giuseppe Recupero
Speaker, Splendid Sicily soundtrack Author
Fabio Sparacio
Father and pilot of Drino the drone, in the western side of Sicily

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