La Rosa dei Venti

Knowing the winds, and therefore recognizing and distinguishing them when they blow, has always fascinated me. I learned to recognize them also by the scents they bring in the different seasons. I also like to understand the direction of the cardinal points with respect to mine: it's a way to position yourself in the universe and feel that you are one.

This is why I have always loved every representation of the wind rose, the ones I happened to see in books or those I saw in holiday homes during a walk in Scoglitti.
Since I was a child I have lived my summers in a house by the sea, located right in front of the beach, where the winds often blow impetuously, as happens in this strip of Sicily overlooking the open Mediterranean. So I immediately learned that there is a big difference between the cold and violent Mistral, which we call Provence, which greases the sea, and the hot and heavy Scirocco, which instead only ripples its surface, and all this intrigued me and me. led to listen with interest to the fishermen's forecasts, who always knew how the weather would evolve and what would happen to the sea, despite the fact that weather science was in its infancy at the time.
For them the sea was a source of life and sustenance, but also a terrible enemy, to be well known to be safe: there is nothing more changeable and unpredictable than the sea, which in the space of a few tens of minutes can pass from a flat calm to the storm. For this reason, since the dawn of time it has been essential to know the cardinal points and the winds, in order to navigate safely.

The wind rose, with its diagram representing the origin and direction of the winds, has always been a very useful tool for all sailors.

The earliest records of the Compass Rose date back to Homeric poems: in Book V of the Odyssey, Homer lists the four main winds: Boreas, Euro, Noto and Zephyr.
The Compass Rose, in the classic form we currently know, dates back to the era of the Maritime Republics and the introduction of the compass.
The graphic representation of the Compass Rose is made up of a circle, divided into degrees, which circumscribes a star with sixteen (sometimes 32) points, superimposed on each other like the petals of a rose; the observer is imagined in the center of the circle, while the points of the star indicate the direction of the main winds and their angular distance from the geographic north.

The simplest wind rose is the 4-pointed one made up of only four cardinal points:

North (N 0 °) also called north or midnight and from which the wind called Tramontana
Est (E 90 °) also called east or east blows and from which the wind called Levante
South blows (S 180 °) also called south and from which the wind called Mezzogiorno or Ostro
Ovest blows (W 270 °) also called west or west and from which the wind called Ponente blows

Between the four main cardinal points 4 intermediate points can be set:
North-East (NE 45 °), from which the wind of Grecale
South-East (SE 135 °) blows, from which the wind of Scirocco
South blows- West (SW 225 °), from which the Libeccio wind blows
North-West (NW 315 °), from which the Mistral wind blows

The names of the NE, SE, SW and NW directions derive from the fact that the wind rose was positioned, in the first cartographic representations of the Mediterranean, at the center of the Ionian Sea which thus also became the reference point for indicating the direction of origin of the wind.
In that position, the ships, which in ancient times were pushed by the wind, could have come from the NE, approximately from Greece, hence the name Grecale for the NE direction; ships from Syria arrived from the SE, hence the name Scirocco for the wind from the SE; to the SW is Libya, hence the name Libeccio for the SW wind; finally from NW came the ships set sail Rome-Magistra derives the name of the wind that blows from NW: the "main road" was in fact, since Roman times, the way to and from Rome. Other versions report that the Mistral takes its name from the Mistral, the predominant wind from the south of France that faces the Mediterranean.

Even today the Rosa dei Venti is a useful analysis tool that allows the definition of weather conditions and the design of airport runways.

But it is also a beautiful piece of furniture, made of Sicilian artistic ceramic, which brings us the connection with a broader horizon.

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