In Erice I’m lost in a maze of dead ends. No one hangs around in these labyrinth – like streets after dark, they are completely empty. A small hotel provides a map. Saved, I leave for Trapani. I arrive after midnight.


Twenty-five teams of sixteen men leave the Church of Purgatoria in Trapani on Friday afternoon. They shuffle through the port town streets all night, then return to Purgatoria around midday on Saturday. It takes a couple of hours to manoeuvre the weighty loads through the church doors and the last to enter is a black-cloaked Madonna. It’s the climax. She has power. To greet her, a young woman in a white dress and blue robe steps forward, her luminous blue eyes the colour of the sea and sky.

On Sunday the Sacro e Profano in Prizzi

On Sunday, the Sacro e Profano in Prizzi is fun. Devils dance in the Spring sunshine while a resurrected Jesus searches for his grieving mother. Approaching from opposite sides of town, Jesus and the Madonna meet with a rush and the beating of drums. The Madonna’s black robe is stripped away to reveal another of blue, and the crowd applaud and cheer. Kaoru said it’s more like a lovers’ reunion rather than a mother’s and son’s. Paolo laughed.