Discover Sicilian Cannoli origin: the magic of Sicily!
popular italian dishes

Where do Sicilian cannoli come from? Let’s discover the cannoli origin and many curiosities about a very popular dessert in Italy and in the world!


Sicilian cannoli are a very popular dessert in Italy and in the world, but where do cannolis come from? Do we really know cannoli history? What is cannoli origin?

Irene Di Liberto, writer, poet and ambassador of the Academy of Sicilian Language tells us more about the cannoli recipe and the history of the most famous Italian cannoli.


The History of Cannoli

The dessert was defined “Tubus farinarius, dulcissimo, edulio ex lacte factus” by Marcus Tullius Cicero when he was quaestor in Sicily, in present-day Marsala.

The origin of Cannoli dates back to the times of Arab domination in Sicily (from 827 to 1091 A.D.).

The Arabs brought many new things in all fields, not least in the culinary one. They were the first to work sheep milk ricotta, already produced by the Sicilians, with candied fruit, chocolate and cinnamon…

Some legends tell that they were the women of Caltanissetta, guests of the Harem Kalt El Nissa, that is “Castle of the women”, who invented this famous dessert.

The women of the emir, in order to pass the time, dedicated themselves to the preparation of delicious dishes and, during one of their many culinary experiments, they would invent Sicilian cannoli.


huge cannoli: sicilian cannoli
history of the cannoli


When the Normans managed to free Sicily from the Arabs, the harems were emptied and many women who lived there converted to Christianity, retreated to convents and brought with them some ancient recipes. Most probably, one of the recipes that Muslim women handed down to their sisters was that of Sicilian cannoli.

In reality, the name is linked to the river reeds, which were used until a few decades ago to roll them up when they were prepared.

It is a dessert that expresses its Sicilian character in all aspects: in its strong colours and in its contrast, in the perfume, taste and goodness.

A goodness that knows no time: from Cicero to the Arabs, passing through the convents of Sicily up to our palates.

Enjoy your dessert! Huge cannoli for you…


cannoli origin


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About Author

Irene Di Liberto
Siciliana d’origine, umbra d’adozione. Ha ideato la pagina Facebook “Leggi con Irene”, un vero e proprio circolo di lettura social dove pubblica racconti e poesie. Scrive per il mensile GP Magazine. È ambasciatrice dell’Accademia della Lingua Siciliana.


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