Castelmola and his penises

Auf Sizilien – ein bisschen oberhalb von Taormina – gibt es ein sehr merkwürdiges Dorf. Vielleicht liegt es an der Höhenluft, zu langer Abstinenz oder man musste den Touristen einfach etwas Spezielles bieten. Jedenfalls wird hier der heilige Phallus verehrt.

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It's hard to look around the Turrisi bar in Castelmola without blushing. If you ride along the banister, you inevitably caress a few glans. And you have to be careful not to poke your eye out at the many erect spearheads.

The large guest book lies open on a "boner" and contains numerous creative and candid drawings reminiscent of a modern Kama Sutra.

If you sit on a testicle chair and sip from your penis glass, you can easily choke. Because wherever you look, the male genitals are practically jumping out at you. After all, this is also the largest penis café in the world.

Here, loving attention is paid to every detail. In the bathroom, you look into a penis-shaped mirror. Even the tap is carefully chosen: Two round handles are testicles, the spout is a phallus and the water jet mimics the relief of emptying the bladder.

Even the menu is penis-shaped, of course, and the first picture you see is a courgette with 2 tomatoes. The signature drink of the house is called "Blow Job".

It is no wonder that the bar is now widely known and its idea so popular that others have already tried to imitate it. "Focus" named it one of the seven most unique bars in the world. However, the area and the Penis Café are inseparable.

A history of love

In the post-war period, the knight Salvatore Turrisi returned to his homeland and opened an eclectic bazaar in the centre of the village in 1947. At first, he sold everything he could: almonds, Sicilian dolls, scarves and wine.

At first there were great difficulties in establishing himself in impoverished Sicily, but he received support from friends. And since he knew a lot about winemaking, he created his own speciality to convey the flavours and aromas of his country to tourists. The special house liqueur is made from a dry white wine blended with almonds, aromatic herbs and citrus fruits.

An amber-coloured elixir that deceives the senses at first sip with its sweetness, for bitter is its aftertaste - the typical essence of the almonds that grow on Etna's lava rock.

Tourists who stopped in Castelmola at that time could not help but become intoxicated with this aphrodisiac nectar, accompanied of course by the special hospitality of the great ladies' man. And the bar slowly made a name for itself as an intimate place for special sensual pleasures.

The quality of the region

Sicily was progressive in the mid-19th century, more so than the rest of Italy and perhaps even Europe.

It was this area around Taormina where the first homosexual communities under the Mediterranean sun emerged from fragile and restless offspring of illustrious, wealthy families who endured the "existential torments of an already decadent Europe".

Real and supposed intellectuals who had brooded in the salons of London, Paris and Berlin indulged in all kinds of extravagance, wildness and freedom in the small oasis of Sicily. Here lived people like D.H. Lawrens, Gothe, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Mann und Wilhelm von Gloeden (pioneer of artistic nude photography).

Thus, bohemian attitude and sexual openness became a way of life and Taormina a magnet for artists seeking tranquillity and inspiration.

Added to this is the extremely exposed location: on one side you can look out over the coast and the Mediterranean, while on the other side the smoking volcanic peak of Mount Etna rises majestically.

The phallic symbol

The thought of the penis as a trademark certainly caused great consternation at first, especially among the priest. But in reality it is a symbol that is by no means meant to be vulgar and can also be found in the culture of the Greeks. They were the ancient colonisers of this land.

This is the god Priapus, who in ancient Greece stood for fertility, freedom, happiness, life and beauty. This is also a symbol that represented the antidote to the evil eye in ancient times.

"Minchia" is what this phallus is called in the Sicilian dialect and is nothing more than a representation of the special culture of the place. It is never meant to refer to the male member alone.

All the pieces in the café are commissioned from Sicilian craftsmen. What is exhibited is only a small part of a larger collection that remains behind closed doors. After all, the special figures always tempt attempted thefts.

In the 1990s, a customer observed men loading an oversized penis into their car and took down the number plate.
The thief turned out to be a lawyer from Catania who had felt overwhelmed by the sight of the figure.

The Penis Bar is already owned by the third generation and has contributed a lot to the prosperity of the community.

Even today it is possible to immerse oneself in its special magic, for example while leafing through the more than 100 old guest books. Memories and images of a past that has not yet faded are recorded there.

In the meantime, you can buy the souvenir with the special phallic charm online, like the famous almond wine, the traditional penis glasses and a penis (key) ring to go with it.




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