Dr. Charles A. Gauci, Chief Herald of Arms of Malta and Mr. Russell Muscat, Manager, International Relations, Heritage Malta were invited to Southern Sicily in an effort to increase mutual co-operation between matters of culture in general and heraldry in particular.  Malta once belonged to the Kingdom of Sicily, so the two islands have much in common. A lot of important links were formed, creating the basis for future close co-operation.

On Saturday 27th August – the two Maltese visitors held an evening meeting in Burgio with the President of the Premio, La Campana di Burgio, and Bailiff of the Teutonic Order in Sicily, Prof. Ing. Antonino Sala Governor followed by a meeting Cav. Prof. Vito Di Leonardi, the Governor and with other dignitaries of the Real Compagnia della Beata Maria Cristina di Savoia and with the President of the Circolo Unione, Cav. Dott. Santo Rizza.

The Real Compagnia della Beata Maria Cristina di Savoia Regina delle Due Sicilie is an association of Christians who have given themselves the task of spreading the cult, the figure and the royal and social work of the Blessed Maria Cristina of Savoy, Queen of the Two Sicilies, namely, the propagation of the Faith and of Christian Traditions, of the defence of the values ​​of life, of the traditional family and of natural law. The aims of the confreres of the Society are to live fully their Christian vocation and commit themselves to intense apostolic activity, to promote charitable initiatives, in order to help and assist those in need, assist the sick and their families and to combat all forms of moral and material slavery in compliance with the principle of responsible freedom and of human rights.

The ancient Circolo Unione was founded in 1839 as a meeting place and “conversation house” for the nobility and the notables of Burgio by the ancient family of the Barons De Michele. Over the years it has become the place where personalities from culture, politics and the aristocracy who come to visit the municipality are welcomed. Inside, various social and cultural activities take place. Its seat has remained the same historical location since its foundation.

On Sunday 28th August, the Maltese delegates held a morning meeting with the Mayor of Caltabellotta, Sig. Calogero Cattano and with the deputy mayor, Sig. Biagio Marciante followed by a visit to the studio of the world-famous sculptor, Maestro Salvatore Rizzuti and to the local museum which displays several of his impressive works of Art.

In the evening the Maltese were both guests at the 9th award ceremony, La Campana di Burgio, where a host of personalities Italian, Sicilian and Foreigners were presented with special awards for their achievements.  The President of the Premio, La Campana di Burgio, and Bailiff of the Teutonic Order in Sicily is Prof. Ing. Antonino Sala and its Director is Prof. Vito Ferrantelli.  Among the awardees were Dr. Charles A. Gauci and Mr. Russel Muscat who received their prizes from the Mayor of Burgio, Dott. Francesco Matinella.  

Russell Muscat and Dr. Gauci with their special prizes of fine Burgio ceramics after their presentation.

Dr. Gauci presenting a copy of his latest book, The Peerage and Knightage in Malta to the Mayor of Burgio.

Russell Muscat thanking our most generous Sicilian hosts. Prof. Vito Ferrantelli is on the left and Prof. Ing. Antonino Sala is on the right.

The special bronze Bell prize was awarded to the well-known internationally renowned actor Gianfranco Jannuzzo one of the most significant interpreters of the extraordinary Sicilian dramatic tradition, an authentic intellectual and recently also author of a significant photographic book “My people” published by Medinova and edited directed by Antonio Liotta, which tells the love for people, places, objects, environments of the city of Girgenti.

On Monday 29th August, the Maltese guests called upon Dott. Luigi Mulè Cascio head of the ancient bell foundry of Campane Virgadamo.  There followed an afternoon meeting with the Mayor of Villafranca Sicula, Dott. Gaetano Bruccoleri, with his deputy, Dott. Nicolò Cascioferro, and with other members of the Council, Signora Valeria Augello, Dott. Tommaso Smeraldi, Federico Maniscalco, Enza Mauceri e Antonio Scarpinato.  This was followed by a visit to the Ceramics Museum at Burgio, personally conducted by the President of MUCEB (Museo delle Ceramiche di Burgio) and Director of the La Campana di Burgio prize, Prof. Vito Ferrantelli. The visit was rounded off by a visit to a fair in Burgio

Both Heritage Malta and the Office of the Chief Herald of Arms of Malta, look forward to establishing closer ties with our Sicilian cousins.