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Le Lampare – Fishing Lights and more at Paolo Mallia’s Shop

June 30, 2016

One of my favorite pastimes while growing up on a coastal town, Catania, was to sit on the coast, on a summer night, and watch in fascination the lighted fishing boats, le lampare, dotting  the deep dark sea as sparkling stars.  Lampare is the name of the fishing boats with lights and they  were named after the name of the lights themselves, lampare.  In the past , the lampare were gas lights and attached to the boats their purpose was to illuminate the surface of the sea to attract the fish to the surface.

Lampare have been part of the fishing tradition in Sicily for many many years.  So when I recently walked into a shop  on a coastal town of Sicily, Marzamemi, I was pleasantly surprised to see the original old gas light, lampara, up close for the very first time.    Strangely enough, I had been listening to one of my favorite songs, Caruso, by Lucio Dalla, which mentions the lampare, and here I was now, actually running into an authentic, old style, fishing gas light, lampara.  The owner of the store, Paolo Mallia, proceeded to explain and point out that the lampare he was selling were the original gas lit ones.  Nowadays, lampare utilize LED. Below are two photos of the lampare I saw in Mallia’s shop.

Lampara a gas – lateral view


Lampara seen from below

IMG_4044 (1)

As I explored the traditional Sicilian items sold in this used/antiques shop, Il Rigattiere, I loved the basket below.  This basket is a traditional fish basket and is made of willow and sand reeds.


Some old amphoras in terracotta


Traditional Sicilian terracotta bowls and molds


Polpari – Terracotta amphoras to catch octopus/i –


Finally, some Sicilian Cart parts with their colorful representations of historical events and epics


  1. Anche dalle tue foto traspare l’amore per la Sicilia, questa nostra isola generosa e ospitale è ancora tutta da scoprire, un plauso al tuo impegno per la condivisione di tante belle immagini.


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