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.

Brotherhood and love for Sicily is our motto.

Our members are made up of diverse cultures, either Sicilian or not, who have in common one object and vision for the love of this land.

It includes remarkable people and also people who have spread our Sicilian culture with love and passion.

A member’s duty is to participate in establishing the museum:

– proposing initiatives, ideas, and projects

– participating our activities

– sharing, photos, videos and everything that a member considers to the contribution, welfare and growth of our museum

– collaborating with members of this Department to initiate outside our museum, in an atmosphere of brotherhood and synergy

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)
Giuseppina Torre
Acclaimed international pianist, awarded with acknowledgments and prizes all over the world, Knight of the Order "Al Merito of the Italian Republic".
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
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)
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
Gianni Insacco
Paleontologist and vertebrate zoologist, since 1991 he is the scientific curator of the Civic Museum of Natural History in Comiso.
He has made several scientific discoveries with the identification of new fossil and living species, producing hundreds of publications and contributing to the study and knowledge of "natural history" and "biodiversity"
Giovanna Battaglia
Main speaker, translation, author, chief assistant, Giovanna has lived most of her life in U.S.A.
Lena Prima
American singer and songwriter (jazz-swing). She is the daughter of singer, trumpeter and recording star Louis Prima and his fifth wife, Gia Maione. Papà Louis, was proud of his Sicilian origins and helped, blending tarantella and Sicilian language with jazz and swing music, the American-Sicilians to display their ethnic roots. Lena's paternal ancestors came from Salaparuta and Ustica.
Rita Zagari Monte
"Radio announcer, poet, artisan, very active in the Italian American Community, awarded repeatedly for her activities. Rita was born in Messina and immigrated to the USA at the age of 13. She is the host of the radio show “Profumi d’Italia”
Charles Geno Marsala
He is the President of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast, a divisional vice-President of the Order ISDA, and a former Mayor of Atherton California. He produces a documentary on the Sicilian Migration to Louisiana, a tour app called "Little Palermo," and co-host "Bona Sera Louisiana."

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)
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)
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.
Stefania Hartley
Stefania was born in Sicily and immediately started growing, but not very much. She left her sunny island after falling head over heels in love with an Englishman, and now she lives in the UK with him and their three children. Having finally learnt English, she’s enjoying it so much that she now writes short stories and romance novels. Her short stories have been longlisted, commended and won prizes.
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
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"
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.
John V. Crisafulli
Sicilian-American has been working in the Community Banking Industry for 25 years. He has always been civic-minded, serving on many boards including as President of many Nonprofits, Business Associations, Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs. Because of his love for Pizza he goes by the nickname of "Johnny C The Pizza Guy"

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.

Agata Sandrone
Scholar of Sicilian customs and habits, she is the President of BCsicilia Isola delle Femmine, an Association that deals with the safeguarding and enhancement of cultural and environmental heritage
Virna Chessari
Virna Chessari is a teacher of Classics. She is the author of the poetic collection “The Ulysses Butterfly The butterfly of Ulysses” in Italian and English. Some poems from the collection have been published in some American magazines. The author found the melody in English to give voice to her inner world, to the missing words.
Maria Teresa Di Blasi
Anthropologist, art historian, FAI (National Trust of Italy) and BC Sicilia manager

Peter Vallone
Politician, professor and lawyer. A former Democratic New York City Councilman he was the second most powerful official in New York City's government after the mayor from 1986 to 2002.
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».
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.
Piero Patti
Lawyer, passionate Sicily lover, President of the stunning Floristella Mining Park
Eolo Paul Bottaro
Former Director Etna Park, he is greatly involved with Sicilian farmers
Tonino Giunta
Sea explorer, sea archaeologist and sea reporter. Our man of the Mediterannean seabed, searching for clues of the past.
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.
Anna Rita Pinsino
Teacher of foreign languages, anthropologist, musician in particular opera singer. Habitually involved in an intense concert and theatrical activity. Her recent researches involve the life and the musical production of the Sicilian composer E. Petrella
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.
Santa Cirillo
Born in Sicily she emigrated in her young age to Australia where she still live. She is a radio presenter at the 531 AM in Adelaide and a member of the Sicilian Sport and Social Club.
Paola Lusco
SPLENDID YOUNG SICILIANS: Born on 2003 she loves dance, read and write. Her dreams is journeying the world telling her stories. She has realized several reports for Splendid Sicily showing
Fabio Grippaldi
Art historian, curator San Sebastiano church museum in Acireale, the town of the Ionian coast with a gorgeous Baroque style.
Emanuele Anzalone
Clarinetist, concert performer and teacher, he is one of the major scholar of the ethno musical traditions of central Sicily.
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.
Elizabeth King
Radio Splendid Sicily Author and Voice. She is Irish and totally fallen in love with Sicily.
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.
Filippo Barbaria
SPLENDID YOUNG SICILIANS: born in 1995, photographer and video-maker, he lives in Cefalà Diana, in the hinterland of Palermo. He is involved with the local government and other cultural organizations.
Massimo Amoroso
President and founder of Promo Loco, a cultural Association who promotes tourism and culture in the municipality of Calatabiano.
He is the promoter of the Sicilian festival “Colori e Sapori di Sicilia".
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.
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
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.
Giuseppe Spina
Former Director Etna Park, he is greatly involved with Sicilian farmers
Alfonso Lo Cascio
Freelance journalist, he is the President of BCsicilia, an Association that deals with the safeguarding and enhancement of cultural and environmental heritage
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
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.
Marcello Mastroeni with Jack, the barking Drone
Father and pilot of Jack Jackfly, the Drone, in the eastern side of Sicily

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