The Casazza of Nicosia
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The Casazza of Nicosia

The Casazza of Nicosia is a traveling sacred representation which, at the end of the 1.800s, made Nicosia famous throughout Sicily.

The Casazze are itinerant figurative representations, with characters in period costume divided into groups symbolizing episodes from the Old and New Testament. They originated in Genoa around 1260. In Sicily it spread in the sixteenth century thanks to the close commercial relations between Genoa and Palermo. Among the various Casazze, that of Nicosia was probably the most grandiose; at the end of the nineteenth century, La Casazza di Nicosia, was made up of 35 scenes from the Old and New Testament, was performed on Holy Thursday and lasted about 12 hours with the participation of over 3000 participants. The Casazza was described in detail in the dialogues and in the scenes, as in a real script, by the Protonotary Apostolic of the church of San Nicolò Don Santo De Luca who provided a detailed description, taken up to this day in the book edited by Giovanni D'Urso and Salvatore Lo Pinzino: “La Casazza di Nicosia”. Reviving this ancient event on the streets of Nicosia, after about 165 years, is a dream that has become reality, an event that, since the first re-edition of 2016, involves the Nicosian associative world and "ALL MEN OF GOOD WILL", linked with love to their own town and to the immense cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, present in the area. (Text source:



Technical sheet prepared by: Region of Sicily - Department of cultural heritage and Sicilian identity - CRicd: Regional center for inventory, cataloging and documentation and Sicilian regional film library

the Casazza of Nicosia
REIS - Book of Celebrations, Festivals and Ritual Practices
representation / show
district or localization that does not coincide with the municipality

In all likelihood, the Casazza of Nicosia, a figurative and itinerant sacred representation, derives from the Ligurian-Po regional tradition. Represented until 1813, it presents features of singularity that are not found in other areas of Sicily. The reason for this originality (in terms of completeness, participation and richness of liturgical details) is probably the Gallo-Italic descent of the majority of the Nicosian population at the time of the Normans and Frederick II, therefore a greater adherence to the "Nordic" representative canons compared to those of other areas of the island that refer to different references. There is no certain information of the first Casazza in Nicosia, but it is certain that in Sicily the first sacred representation of the Casazza or Martorio genre is the Act of the Pinta on a text by Teofilo Folengo represented in Palermo in 1543. The origin of the Casazze is certainly "Cultured" as it is under the direction of the clergy and noble classes. The Casazza is a religious tradition that has characterized the city of Nicosia for several centuries and that at a certain point fell into oblivion; in recent years the various associations, theater companies and the Municipality have successfully resumed the tradition.


The Casazze are itinerant sacred representations, figured and recited, with characters in period costume divided into groups relating to episodes from the Old and New Testament as an itinerant Gospel. The term "Casazza" derives from the name of the buildings (casacce) where the actors disguised themselves and rehearsed the performances. From the place of origin, Liguria and Genoa in particular, the representation would have spread to Sicily (thanks to the commercial relations between Genoa and Palermo) in the sixteenth century. of Casazza di Nicosia we have news already in the seventeenth century but it was in the following centuries that it assumed impressive dimensions, both for the number of scenes and for the luxury of the costumes as well as for the texts that make it a real screenplay.

Gabriella Caldarella

Web card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero


Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero / Web

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