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Giacomo Alessi’s Heads

Giacomo Alessi’s Heads

The Heads in the Alessi Ceramiche Tradition Collection are the quintessence of Maestro Giacomo Alessi’s artistic production and expert craftsmanship.
Alessi Ceramiche anthropomorphic vases perfectly express the rich history and traditions of Sicily, which has always been a melting pot of different people and cultures.

Giacomo Alessi Ceramic Heads, which are entirely made and decorated by hand, furnish your home with elegance, style and personality.

Ceramic vases shaped like heads are so widespread in Sicily that they have become one of the island’s symbols. These distinctive objects adorn the balconies of houses and are also used for interior decoration. The unique shape of these vases (“graste” in Sicilian dialect) comes from a macabre legend, set in Palermo, which not everyone knows.

The legend of the Heads

It is said that in around 1100, during the period of Arab rule in Sicily, a beautiful girl lived in Kalsa, the old district of Palermo. The girl spent her days almost exclusively at home, devoting herself to caring for the plants that adorned her balcony. One day, a young Moor was passing through Kalsa, when he saw the beautiful girl watering her flowers and immediately fell in love.

He decided that he wanted her all to himself and without delay he entered the girl’s house and declared his love for her. The girl was struck by his passionate intensity and reciprocated the young Moor’s love. However, when she learned that he would soon leave her to return to his homeland in the East, where his wife and children were waiting for him, she killed him as he lay asleep at night.

The girl cut off his head and turned it into a pot in which she planted a basil plant. Finally, she put it on display outside on the balcony, so that the man would always stay with her.
The basil grew into a luxuriant plant thanks to the tears that poured from the girl’s eyes every day, arousing the envy of all the inhabitants of the neighborhood, who, not to be outdone, made clay pots in the shape of a Moorish head.