Sicily's colors

Sicilian Poetry School

Historical and cultural background
The language, the style and the metrical plan
The themes
The "schools" decline


Literary movement developed into XIII Century in Sicily, around the Federico II's court and with his sons Manfredi and Enzo.
The name "Scuola Siciliana" derived from a Dante's definition, who wrote De vulgari eloquentia (I,XII, 2-4) and called "Siciliana" all the artistic production previous the Tuscany's one, and saying " for the reason that many poets made solemn much that everything they produced between Italians, appeared before in the Court of many Reignants, and for the fact that the Court was placed in Sicily, and everything artistic that was produced before is was called Sicilian".
His own main exponents were, near the sovereigns; the sons Manfredi and Enzo,Federico d'Antiochia, the leaders Giacomo da Lentini, Pier delle Vigne - Rinaldo d'Aquino - Giacomino Pugliese - Stefano Protonotaro - Guido e Odo delle Colonne - Cielo d'Alcamo, with echoes in the Central part of Italy (Folcacchiero Folcacchieri - Inghilfredi) and Northern Italy (Percivalle Doria).
The importance lies in the fact that for the first time ever there was a use of a vernacular Italian language for literary pursue, this language was the Sicilian "dialect", also if in a purged form from the main dialectical aspects, and with the help of Latin and Provence contributions, testified by some original fragments of king Enzo and Stefano Protonotaro, and in part reconstituted by some works of Tuscans copiers that bring to Sicilian's works some aspects of their own dialects and strongly mixing up with their languages.


Sicilian's pride was the creation of a first vernacular Italian artistic language.
This language should consists in an illustrious Sicilian, purged from the elements more dialectical and lively, and it should be built in the lexic and syntax using Latin of Knights and the Provence's form.
Using the lively cultural spirit of the Court, wide opened to the ways of Latins, Greeks and Muslis and directly inspired to the themes and the forms of the lyric Provence's tradition.
The style surely presents some naturalistic imagines, the using of scientific metaphors and elegant comparisons. According to the language was the choice of metrical plans and poetry themes characterized by an explanatory and scholastic grammar and by a metrical really far away from the comic arguments there will be in 1300.


Exceeded the romantic thesis which in his production isolated and appreciated just supposed folk-like voices. Sicilian's poetry was able to develop original arguments both in structures (for instance the sonnet created by Giacomo da Lentini) and the themes developing a more interior reflection about love which was ahead of time the stilnovo., "new style".


Having dominated poetry for about 30 years (starting date is between 1230 and 1240), the schools had his sunset after Benevento's battle (1266), where king Manfredi died.
This date determined the end of the Swabia's power and, consequently determined the move of Italian's artistic center from Sicily to Florence and Tuscany.

Tricele dei Grifasi
A. Grifasi - 10/10/96
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