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A story about love, jealousy and revenge, made in Sicily.



Testa di Moro (Moor head) is a characteristic object of Sicilian tradition. It is a hand-made ceramic vase used as an ornament that depicts the face of a Moor and sometimes of a young beautiful woman. But the beauty of these famous vases is closely linked to their legend.

Once upon a time - around 1100, when Sicily was ruled by the Moors - in Kalsa district of Palermo, a beautiful girl who lived in seclusion and spent her days cultivating flowers on her balcony. One day a young Moor was passing near her house. As soon as he saw her, he immediately fell in love and decided to have her at all costs. He entered the girl's house so to declare his love. The young girl, surprised by such a gesture, reciprocated him, but just when she got to know him he had to return to the East, where he has a wife with two sons. So the girl, angry for this betrayal, waited the night and when the Moor fell asleep she killed him and then cut off his head. The morning after, she used the head of the Moor to make a pot where she planted basil, and then put it outside in the balcony. This way his love was forever hers. In the meanwhile the basil grew very well, for this reason all the inhabitants of the neighbourhood envied her. So, to be nothing less than her,  they built vases shaped like a Moor’s head.


Ceramic vase depicting a noble Moor of the medieval period in Sicily, during the domination of the Saracens.


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