Sicilian word of the day: Scirocco

    The scirocco is an infernal African air current from the desert who whips up the heat in the Mediterranean to unbearable levels during the summer . If this hot wind is still the day is pleasant but if it is on the prowl it makes the air too hot to breathe. Someone who…

The clockwork marvel at Messina

A few weeks ago I shared a photo of the impressive bell tower near the Duomo of Messina and was surprised by the level of interest in this landmark, hence this post. I’ve been taking people to visit the bell tower ever since moving to Sicily. The mechanical aspects of the tower are a little…

Postcards from Sicily: ancient crafts

  I'm a bit of a postcard addict, always on the lookout for original or vintage images from wherever I am visiting. I recently found this great series of cards depicting ancient arts from Sicily. Work that is no longer needed or has simply disappeared as the world has become 'modern'. It saddens me to…

A Sicilian wish list for the summertime

   Daphne’s house: Giardini Naxos, Castelmola and Taormina Taormina is a beautiful town to explore but it is terribly touristy and there are many other things to see in the vicinity. Be sure to visit Casa Cuseni an historic house which became like a real character in one of the best books around about Sicily…

Postcards from Sicily: at the bar

  There is something about Sicilian's and their local bar. I too am addicted to my morning espresso. There is nothing like swaggering into your local cafe and ordering the 'black gold' even though you are usually surrounded by strange men. I need caffeine stimulation.  

Blogging around the world: Tahira’s Shenanigans

  Blogging is about finding that right balance of personality, photography, fun and words to make others want to read and comment.   One of my favorite blogs which has found this harmonious mix is Tahira’s Shenanigans, which I accidentally came across while searching out travel blogs to inspire me and it is a real…

Sicilian’s flare for uttering profanities

When I was a child I had an Uncle who was terribly capricious, a real joker (he still is until this day) and he took great pleasure in teaching my brother and I all the colourful Italian swear words possible.  My Uncle thought it was all terribly funny and hoped we’d use them in front…

Postcards from Sicily: A glimpse of spring

  I managed to get a glimpse of the metaphorical 'Primavera' while jostling in the crowd at the Medieval parade as part of the Infiorata festival at Noto, Syracuse but I'm afraid I've seen very little of her since. I wonder where she has gone?

Postcards from Sicily: playing cards

  Sicilian playing cards are works of art. There are many versions around, these ones are Neapolitan and I picked them up at my local Tabaccheria. This is the ace of spades a wonderfully baroque angel holding a cascade of flowers and an Arabic vector. I grew up playing Sicilian card games and love the…

Why Italy will never be ‘normal’

Living in Italy for many years has made me fluent in many things. I negotiate the nuances of the Italian language, roll my ‘r’s’ with the best of them, I navigate my way around the kitchen with a respectable repertoire of Mediterranean dishes, I can steer my way through the traffic of any chaotic city,…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

So you’re married to a foreigner … an Italian perspective

What’s it like for a Sicilian to be married to a foreigner? Living in the south of Italy is very much like living in a Middle Eastern country, Sicily isn’t the south of the Italian peninsula but rather a northern state of Africa. Sicilian’s are very traditional and proud of their culture. An islander is…

Postcards from Sicily: Bomboniere Passion

I'm developing a passion for the Italian and Sicilian flare for giving out bomboniere for every possible occasion. Over the last couple of year's we've received a few from weddings and now the birth one's have started up. This little ball of pink is for the latest little girl on the block. For the record…

Postcards from Sicily: Gethsemane

I've always loved Sicilian churches prolific use of mosaics. Last summer I got to the church of the Madonna of Tindari (ME) and managed to sneak a shot of this beautiful image of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. These mosaics are like living breathing operatic scenes filled with life and drama. I think I'll…

Picking up a Sicilian vocabulary

Lately I’ve noticed a new development with my language skills. I think I’m going native. Many missionaries from past centuries wrote of how after years of living with a foreign culture and language they have felt like a constant outsider until the day when they realise their tongue has somehow assimilate elements of the local…