Tag: Filippo Bentivegna

Filippo Bentivegna

It’s rare that I post anything that is not related to books, but after visiting sculptor Filippo Bentivegna’s museum in Sciacca, Sicily, and realizing there is not much online, in English, about him and his work, I decided to publish this short piece and some pictures I took. Like many Italians (including me) did, Bentivegna, born in 1888, emigrated to the United States in 1913, hoping to find a way to make a better living. He lived in New York and settled in Boston. He fell in love with a girl, who apparently had another young man already interested in her. In 1919, during a fight between the two love rivals, Filippo was hit on the head badly enough that the American authorities, considering him unable to work, sent him back to Italy. Back in Sciacca, he went to live in an olive orchard, where he began sculpting heads in stone. He made hundreds of them, creating what he called his kingdom. In town they called him “Filippo the Idiot.” After his death in 1967, his work was left unprotected, and began to be damaged and vandalized. Fortunately, the local authorities finally decided to safeguard such an impressive trove, and the site is now an open-air museum. Here are a few pictures I took during my visit.