My journey into sleepy Sicilian places began with my current home, Sinagra. It is the town that my husband and his family adopted as they gradually moved towards the coast away from the once agriculturally rich mountain regions whose decline began after the post world war two period.
Sinagra is one of those ancient towns who staunchly survives as it is close enough to the coast to be considered a cheap alternative for summer vacation and is an important connecting node in the transport system for trips towards Catania and the interior regions such as Randazzo and Enna.
Like so many other little villages Sinagra is small but steadfast. It’s three thousand inhabitants are tenacious and hold onto their little town as faithfully as they do their patron Saint Leone. Even the many Sinagrese who I have met in Australia never fail to have picture of good old Leone in their house or some other memorabilia dedicated to their birthplace.
The main feast day of San Leone at Sinagra is on the eight of May, where a procession of the Saint’s statue is paraded through the town and nearby countryside to herald the beginning of spring. His promenades aren’t limited to May, Leone also makes a sprint over the towns main bridge on Easter Sunday amongst a suggestive pyrotechnic display and has been known to make excursions out to his wintertime home in the country church with his same name where he resides from early November until Easter.
Those mad keen Saint lovers of the past used to run San Leone over the rocks of the river that cuts through Sinagra, bare foot and in the middle of the night, where it has been said not a single pilgrim was ever hurt. The Saint seems to have given his blessing to little Sinagra, he helps keep the place alive despite the decay of small townships in Sicily.