PUBLIC BROTHELS IN OLD SICILY

There was a public whorehouse in Enna until 1958. Afterwards, all brothels were suppressed throughout Italy by an act of the national parliament. Enna’s public whorehouse was located in the upper town, which looks onto the nearby town of Calascibetta, but it was not far from downtown. Of course, Enna is a small city lying on a plateau, and the distances between one side and another are not long.

The brothel was run by a brothel keeper, but the building belonged to a wealthy Enna family and had been leased to an ex-prostitute who had made enough money from her “work.” Brothel keepers were often called queens, and were usually unmarried. If it happened that one of them was married, her husband was called the “king.”

One room of the whorehouse was left for a police officer, who had the task of keeping order and checking the personal documents, above all the ones regarding the customer’s age. In fact, entrance was forbidden to young men under eighteen years of age. Nevertheless, the brothel keeper controlled everything in advance and kept order. She was always present at the entrance, and was very strict with both the prostitutes and the customers.

The brothel’s main door was kept ajar till late into the night. A wide red curtain separated the entrance from the rest of the house. Over the curtain there was a hall. The queen’s room was on the right, and on the left two steps led to a corridor. At the bottom was the room for the policeman; on the left there were two wide bedrooms, and on the right two waiting rooms.

From the hall, a staircase led upstairs where there were three more rooms for the girls, the medical room, and another waiting room reserved only for high-class people or someone that wanted to hide his identity, like a priest, a monk, or a married person. The entrance to this waiting room was regulated by the queen, who ordered the doors to all rooms shut, except the one reserved for the police, in order to let in the person that had asked to remain anonymous.
The meeting between the girls and…

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

A STARRY NIGHT IN SICILY

starry-night-sky-background-abstract-out-space-117101148[1]

At night before going to bed we sat on the terrace gazing at the starlit sky. There was not much illumination in my town at the time, and in the countryside there was no power at all. We had an oil-fueled power supplier in the house in Pollicarini, but we used it only on special occasions. So we put our oil lamp on the marble top of the kitchen table, set two chairs on the terrace near the walnut heap, and sat, just watching the sky.
Moths thronging around the glass of the oil lamp cast their shadows on the walls of the kitchen. The moths’ shadows projected on the walls looked much bigger than their actual size and made a pyrotechnic display that mesmerized me. From time to time our dogs barked at other roaming animals or passersby, and the sky seemed an immense blue space where every kind of heavenly body twinkled. There were so many spots of light that even counting to a billion would not be enough. Some sources of light were very bright, while others were barely visible. Sometimes meteors appeared and disappeared, streaking the vault of heaven.
Sebastiano taught me the constellations and the influence of the moon on the earth. “Whenever I sow a field with wheat,” he said, “I consider the cycle of the moon. You cannot sow a field at random, but only when the moon is waxing. In that way the seeds absorb energy from the moon and the seedlings will be strong.”
“Today is August fifteenth,” Sebastiano said one night, “and in the neighborhood of Fundrisi in Enna they are celebrating the mid-August feast of the Madonna.”
“What kind of celebration is it?”
“Tradition says that Mary, Jesus’s mother, didn’t die, unlike all other human creatures. She fell asleep and the angels took her to heaven.”

This is an excerpt from A Hidden Sicilian History by Ettore Grillo
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind
http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo