Papyrus came to Siracusa from Egypt. It still grows on the banks of the River Ciane on the outskirts of Siracusa. It also used to grow in Palermo, but no more. I made sure to visit the Papyrus Museum in Syracuse.
In the museum halls, I was fortunate to meet Signora Anna Di Natale and Sig. Corrado Basile – he’s the founder of the museum. At first I thought they were guards, but they are experts on papyrus and have worked with museums world-wide to restore papyri.
Most any natural fiber makes me happy, and papyrus is an especially beautiful one. Signora di Natale showed me the step by step process of making papyrus paper. Something tells me I have made papyrus paper before, but it may have been in another lifetime.
The Egyptians did not leave any records on how they created papyrus paper. Beginning in the 1800s, a number of researchers and workshops developed and refined the process in Siracusa.
The museum contains papyrus paper from all ages, including a page of the Egyptian Book of the Dead from 15th century B.C..!!
I bought a couple of small pieces to make a simple book cover.