Leonforte

Goethe once said to have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy, for Sicily is the clue to everything. But to understand Sicily, you need to go to its geographical centre because the key to the island's identity is there. The province of Enna is known as the belly button…

Impressions of Palermo: Mafia

  Palermo is a place that has always created many different pictures in my imagination. Palermo is the city of the Mafia, a word I've never really understood until I came to live here. The Mafia is not a Hollywood stereotype; it is a tangible form of organised crime that has grown and developed together…

An introduction to Flamboyant Italian personalities

Life is always a challenge for an ex-pat living in Italy. There is a constant struggle with the language, continually being reminded of an outsider by snide remarks and condescending quips about your accent. Yet ex-pats develop a thick skin and put up with many frustrations so we can soak up the beauty, way of…

Words from Sicily: D.H Lawrence

I’m always being asked about Sicily’s landscape; what is it like? The truth is Sicily is very mountainous and difficult to negotiate. In its interior, the roads are constantly under repair or filled with detours; a short physical distance can turn into hours of curvey mountaintop back roads and deviations. While at times I find…

The lessons we are learning

Photo by Gabriella Clare Marino on Unsplash I’ve always had a problem with the way Sicilian's trivialise the outside world while dissecting every minimal aspect of their own daily life. The world beyond Sicily has little significance, yet you can live out your life before a local community, with a microscope pointed firmly at you.…

A little music therapy during lockdown in Sicily

Of all the tools I have used to help me through this challenging lockdown time in Italy apart from friends and family, has been music. Music, with its unique kind of magic and, has been the one thing that has really helped to lift my spirits. After endless restless nights filled with fears, nightmares and…

10 Spectacular Easter Celebrations in Sicily

Santa Pasqua in Sicily is filled with ancient rites and traditions which are as colourful and variegated as the island itself. The week leading up to Easter is brimming with religious celebrations, food preparations, processions and parades. Each festival is part of an elaborate pageant mixing religion and paganism in the festivities which mark the…

Italy Magazine Features

Remember to follow my advice on how to avoid Stendhal Syndrome on your next visit to Sicily: The best way to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the beauty of art and history, especially in Sicily where art seems to grow ever more elaborate, is to space out your museum visits. I have…

A newly restored treasure of Sicilian Art Nouveau

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele III at Messina was built from 1924 to 1929 by architect Camillo Puglisi Allegra who was inspired by the ornate seventeenth-century Sicilian baroque style which dominates the island, particularly in the Val di Noto area of South Eastern Sicily. The beautiful Galleria has recently been reopened after many decades of abandonment, and in the…

The historical heart of Messina

Piazza Duomo at the heart of Messina’s historic centre and is the focus of the city’s social and cultural life. A few minutes walk from the port, train station, post office, university and shopping districts the piazza is wonderfully positioned. Lined with gracious palazzi, cute bars, restaurants and shady trees it is a beautiful spot…

Walking around Messina

I love walking around and exploring the streets of Messina. This city is filled with many treasures, and its details tell many stories. The beauty of the world is always found in small pieces of beauty. Like in the moments we connect to those around us, a handshake, a smile, a quick greeting, the brush…

Eating the Springtime

One of the life lessons Italy has given me is the special taste of eating according to the seasons. There is something wonderfully simple and logical about living with the natural worlds shifting seasons, as if you are following a natural internal rhythm. Today we are all spoilt by supermarkets who have everything we want…