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Coral is part of the tradition and culture of Trapani. The discovery of the coral occurred by chance: small branches remained entangled in the fishing nets and from the 15th century onwards some craftsmen began to work with it. At the Pepoli Museum there is an extraordinary collection of sculptures, ornaments and other works, both sacred and profane: real jewels of one of the oldest crafts of the island. Amongst the more important works are the lavish nativity scenes, where the coral is combined with alabaster, shells and pieces of mother-of-pearl. The masterpieces of sacred art are also important, such as Matteo Bavera’s crucifix made from a single block of coral. Some works demonstrate the special technique of “retroincastro,” a process in which small coral drops are attached to thin metal plates, but which was abandoned as too time-consuming and expensive. Also remarkable is the Baroque working of coral found in the valuable Pepoli familly collection, which comprises jewellery coming largely from the Treasury of the Madonna of Trapani, a collection built out of gifts from Kings, nobles, prelates and the faithful.

Nativity Scene


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