Words from Sicily: 100 Sicilies

Gesualdo Bufalino wrote about Sicily’s many different faces. He was fascinated by the multifacited nature of the island, filled with many paradoxes and contrasting elements that often exist side by side. The complexity and instability of the island’s cultural history has created an engimantic place which is difficult to define. Bufalino says how there are…

Words from Sicily: sunshine and the beach

I’m convinced the sunshine in Sicily has its own remarkable quality. Every time I find myself visiting my native Australia in the summertime, I remember how harsh and unforgiving the sun can be; there is a reason Australia is known as the sunburnt country. Summer in the Mediterranean is hot and humid but the sun…

Words about Sicily: Rambling around Taormina

My love of Taormina runs deep. It’s the first place I’ve ever taken any friend who has visited Sicily, and I simply adore exploring the town. I’m a little tired of visiting the Greek amphitheatre but not totally adverse to it, especially if the weather is excellent. You can see Etna (which hardly ever happens,…

Words about Sicily: Recalling the road to Noto

Image c/o comune.noto.sr.it From the 14th to the 16th of May, Noto Syracuse will be hosting its annual Infiorata flower festival. The grand carpet of flower design will cover the entire length via Nicolaci as per usual. Or at least as usual as can be expected with the interruptions caused by a global pandemic. Respecting…

Words about Sicily: Seraphim

I recently was working on revising a poem I’d written many years ago which reflects on the nature of human nature and language. The poem titled A Babel of words uses the biblical story of the tower of babel from Genesis as a metaphor for the over-reaching ambitious nature of humanity. I’ve been obsessed with…

Words about Sicily: Details

I use my camera like I’d use a notebook. recording little details and notes, things I’ve noticed or want to remember. I photograph small things that catch my eye, a particular design or pattern, something that is unusual to. It could be a texture that catches my eye or the way the sunlight hits a…

Words about Sicily: Fichi d’India

Driving through the countryside outside Catania, under the shadow of Mount Etna between the lava rocks and the dark soil dotted with olives and pistachio trees. There is an introduced plant that thrives and has been claimed by Sicily the fico d’india literally the Indian fig.The prickly pear is a natural survivor of everything from…

A humble olive harvest

There is something humbling about participating in a traditional olive harvest. Every couple of years, I get to help my husband, and his family gather olives to make oil for our own family. Everyone loves the taste of good high-quality oil, and I refuse to do without it. I grew up eating olives, and I’m…

The New Wines of Etna

Photo by Josh Bean on Unsplash Ben Spencer is a journalist and professional winemaker who lives and works near Mount Etna. He explores the Mount Etna wine-producing area in a mixture of culinary history and guide book in his excellent new book The New Wines of Mount Etna. Spencer’s passion and knowledge of wine make…

How to peel a fico d’india

The exotic prickly pear (fico d’india) is a delicacy in Sicily and thrives around the entire island. Known also as the Barbary fig (opuntia ficus-indica) it is a species of cactus cultivated throughout the world in arid and semiarid areas and is thought to be native to Mexico. It is best to taste them after…

Italian Song challenge Day 14: Biagio Antonacci

https://youtu.be/kEWB9GmDZzs Biagio Antonacci first came to prominence when he participated in Sanremo in 1988 with the song Voglio Vivere in un attimo (I want to live in a moment). In 1989 he signed to a major record label. He recorded his debut album Sono cose che capitano (Things that happen), which produced a hit with…

Italian Song Challenge Day 13: Mia Martini

https://youtu.be/1Glf8eyO6HE Mia Martini (1947-1995) was a fantastic artist, her voice was of an immense range, emotional intensity and quality. She sang well in so many genres from jazz to folk, pop and rock. Martini's career took her all around the world, she sang very well in many different languages, including French and English. With a…

Italian Song Challenge Day 9: Malika Ayane

https://youtu.be/c9d2GAck6bA Malika Ayane grew up in a multi-ethnic suburb of Milan, with a Moroccan father and Italian mother. She is a classically trained singer and musician. In 1995 she joined the White Voices Choir at the Teatro La Scala where she sang for seven years. She also studied cello at the Giuseppe Verdi music conservatory…

Italian Song Challenge Day 5: Ligabue

https://youtu.be/IUWtAUKYmAQ Luciano Ligabue born in Emilia Romagna fell into the music business after trying various odd jobs until he formed an amateur band writing his own songs. After being in a couple of other groups, he was introduced to fellow singer-songwriter Pierangelo Bertoli, who included one of Ligabue’s songs in his new album. After twenty…

Italian Song Challenge Day 3: Jovanotti

https://youtu.be/uvngBmhlI1o Italian singer-songwriter and rapper Jovanotti (real name Lorenzo Cherubini) has been a part of the Italian music scene since the late 1980s. His early music was a mixture of hip hop, rap and disco which was immensely popular. After sixteen studio and remix albums, his style has evolved and embodies elements of funk, world…