The Importance of the Carretto:
The story of the Pillitteri Carretto is one of great importance to the family and the winery respectively. A Carretto or Sicilian Cart was the only real method of transportation used in Sicily up until the end of the second world war. They could be large enough to be pulled by donkey or oxen, to transport a family and their belongings, or small enough to be pulled by hand to bring wares to market. Their usefulness and smaller design made them popular, long after the invention of the motorized vehicle, to navigate the streets of Italy.
The Pillitteri Family had four Carrettos that were passed through the generations. The Pillitteri Carrettos were crafted in the early 1930’s by an artisan known as Giovanni Sena Ispica. The Carrettos were brought to Canada by Gary’s mother in 1952. Gary and each of his brothers received a Carretto as a token of their Sicilian family heritage. The largest and most beautifully decorated of the Carretto’s was donated by the Pillitteri family in 1989 to the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. It is still on display today.
The Carretto that was received by Gary is on display in the Awards Room at Pillitteri Estates Winery. It is intricately hand painted and depicts the theme of the Moorish Invasion. The artwork is exquisite and bears a latin verse ‘Ferra Bastona A Mineo” (translated: wood and steel carved by hand) in the steel work near the axle of the cart. There are few, if any, Artisans left today and Carretto’s are somewhat of a collectible item that has become highly sought after. The Pillitteri Carretto is a cherished family heirloom and to honour that heritage, it has become a symbol of our winery and our logo.