Postcards from Sicily: Discovery

  Even if I dislike shopping around touristy type shops I am often surprised to find stunningly original items in amongst the tacky kitsch. Working my through I heart Sicily post cards, every possibly shaped lava sculpture, bamboo flutes and knickknacks I saw these little babies. A series of handcrafted tools used to pick those…

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 journey to the Volcano with Venero Armanno

    Venero Armanno's trio of Sicilian themed novels is a significant accomplishment, written masterfully by the son of Sicilian migrants with a powerful dedication to Sicily. The volcano is a novel of emotion, passion and fire set in the shadowlands around Etna and tells us of the epic journey of Emilio Aquila. The book…

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…

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…

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…

Blogging around the world: Maldives Dreamer

I’ve always dreamt of running off to a desert island for a holiday on the beach, snorkeling and eating seafood. To my surprise I found a blogger who does that regularly and has transformed it all into a beautiful blog. Irene from Maldives Dreamer lives a regular life in Norway, traveling to the Maldives to…

Literary Islands: Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (Il gattopardo) is my favorite Sicilian novel of all time. The sumptuous world of the Prince of Salina is a precious link to Sicily’s baroque aristocracy. It also inspired one of the best international cinematic productions with the classic 1963 film adaptation directed by Luchino Visconti starring Burt Lancaster as…

E viva San Leone … E musica

This year I was fortunate enough to get to San Leone’s ‘festa’ at Longi (20th Feb) which I find is generally more traditional and particular then the one celebrated at Sinagra (even if I love them both!) I liked the solemn religiosity and playfulness of Longi’s interpretation of this Saint’s celebration. Not only does the…

Postcards from Sicily: Pupi

My son loves knights and dragons. He keeps begging me to buy him one of these marionette puppets, he would be drooling if he saw this big guy. I love the Pupi Siciliani as a form of Sicilian theatre that originated in the 18th Century and retold epic battles and tales of old. It nearly…

Literary Islands: Vitaliano Brancati

I stumbled upon Vitaliano Brancati quite by accident in a bookstore at Messina. I was attracted by the title of one his books, I discovered after he was quite a prolific novelist and later his most famous novel Il Bel Antonio was developed into a movie staring Marcello Mastroianni, which became a classic of Italian…

Postcards from Sicily: Winter

This winter has been disappointing for me, no snow for Christmas or New Years. Less money thanks to the Economic crisis and new taxes to pay in 2014. Cloudy times in wintry Sicily.