Cannoli have been traced to the Arabs during the Emirate of Sicily, with a possible origin for the word and recipe deriving directly from qanawāt. These were deep fried dough tubes filled with various sweets, which were a popular pastry across the Islamic world at the time, from Al-Andalus to Iraq and including Sicily. They come from the Palermo and Messina areas and were historically prepared as a treat during Carnevale season, possibly as a fertility symbol; one legend assigns their origin to the harem of Caltanissetta. The dessert eventually became a year-round staple throughout Italy.


Staying Sincere with Sicilian Pop Singer Levante

To see more from Levante, check out @levanteofficial on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

The word “Levant” refers to a geographic region in English. But in its native tongue the translation isn’t as simple. “When you say ‘levante’ in Italian, you could be talking about the wind or the eastern seaboard of the country, or the rising sun (sol levante) … or me!” says Levante (@levanteofficial), a Sicilian pop singer with a sixth sense for catchy hooks (check out her hit single “Alfonso” for proof). Levante grew up idolizing singers like Carmen Consoli, Janis Joplin and Alanis Morissette and has been writing music since she was 9. With her second record, Abbi Cura Di Te, which translates to “Take Care of Yourself,” she was looking to capture something a bit more polished sound-wise while still capturing the heartfelt moments of her debut album.

“‘Abbi Cura Di Te’ is a phrase that my former voice teacher would say,” says Levante. “In a chaotic time of my life, that phrase came to me as perhaps the most beautiful and sincere thing someone might say to me.”

––Instagram @music

Terracotta lamp shaped like an elephant’s head

Greek or Sicilian, 3rd century B.C., Hellenistic period

The campaigns of Alexander the Great brought Greece into contact with animals from India and the East that the Greeks had not known of previously. The elephant became a popular representation on Hellenistic coins. With the Carthaginian influence on Sicily during the Punic Wars of the third century B.C., elephants, usually depicted as war animals, also became common in Sicilian art. Traces of the original black glaze can be seen on the surface of this lamp.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art