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minni di virgine

virgin's breasts pastries

St Agatha's sliced-off breasts, sold by convents, devoured at dances! Well, well!Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard

St Agata, patron saint of Catania, was famously martyred by having her breasts lopped off and is often shown in religious iconography, carrying her breasts like pastries on a platter. This inspired the nuns at the Monastery of Santa Caterina in Palermo to make their famous little round cakes of pasta frolla with a white glaze and with nipples of candied cherries. Sambuca di Sicilia honours them with a sagra every May.

SS. Lucia and Agata, by Girolamo Siciolante

St Agata's veil, however, is no joking matter, but comes in handy whenever Catania's famous neighbour, Mount Etna, threatens to bury it in lava and ash.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: mimmorapisarda, Anthony Majanlahti