Sicily is an island of stories, of traditions transmitted and revived through the thin thread of memory and thanks to the labor of love, wisdom and dedication of artistic families who for centuries have worked to protect a heritage that is extremely rich but fragile because of its uniqueness and immateriality. An example of this valuable preservation activity, without which much of Sicily's history would have been lost in the passage of time, is the Teatro dei Pupi, or puppet theater. Between paladins of France, women and knights, duels and armor, a tale of ancient charm unfolds, in which it is the Sicilian language that excels, almost a melody at times incomprehensible, played and narrated by the cuntastorie-puparo, creator of the scene and spectator at the same time, who holds the plots of this timeless story.
Divided between the two traditions, that of Palermo and that of Catania, the Puppet Opera entered the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008 as an oral and intangible heritage of humanity. The most obvious difference between the puppets of Palermo and those of Catania lies in size and articulation: light and jointed the former, heavier and with fixed limbs the latter.
Keeping the tradition alive, revived for local audiences and tourists in the characteristic little theaters, are the historic families of puppeteers including Mimmo Cuticchio, Argento, Mancuso and Greco in Palermo, Crimi, Trombetta and Napoli of Catania, and others in the main Sicilian cities and provinces. In Palermo, moreover, inside the Antonio Pasqualino International Puppet Museum and the Giuseppe Pitrè Sicilian Ethnographic Museum one can admire the richest collection of Sicilian and foreign puppets.
Renamed the City of Temples for its numerous Doric temples and described by Pindar as 'the most beautiful city of mortals', Agrigento is rich in history and culture.