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…

Saint Leo’s Festival day at Sinagra

Today Sinagra celebrates its Patron Saint Leone Bishop of Catania, born at Ravenna during medieval times. He was famous for his compassion and works of charity for the poor. But above all St Leo was a conqueror of false religions and idolatry. In his sermon at Sinagra today, the Catholic Bishop of Patti Guglielmo Giombanco…

For the love of Sicilian markets

It’s no secret I’m a fan of open-air markets. I love trawling through every stand exploring what I can find. My blog is filled with photos of African wood carvings, crafty jewellery and fun discoveries, endless market randomness and textures. I enjoy the colours and the unexpected. A Sicilian market contains everything from fresh produce,…

Springtime postcards from Sicily

I've been spending my Easter break here in Sicily with friends and family trying to find a spark of energy to keep me going after a particularly devastating start to the year. I'm slowly getting back into things, trying to find a new routine. Easter for me was about day trips to the Nebrodi Mountains…

Secluded Sicily: Longi

Longi is a tiny mountain village perched literally on a precipice with one road in and one road out in between the two other rugged mountain towns of Galati Mamertino and Frazzano' Every time I visit I am amazed at how Sicilian’s were able to build a town in such an unwelcoming part of the…

The Giudei of San Fratello: part 1

San Fratello is perched high up in the rambling Sicilian highlands, nesting itself in the crown of the Nebrodi Mountains, which run along the Tyrrhenian coast towards Palermo. The road on the way to the town negotiates its way through the mountains like an elaborate obstacle course; every car is climbing up navigates hairpin curves…