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…

10 things to keep in mind while planning a trip to Italy

1) Don’t come in August I’ve said this many times, you can visit throughout the year so don’t come in the most overcrowded, hot and humid part of the year when most Italians are on summer holidays it will be uncomfortable and you will never have an authentic experience. September will be just as beautiful,…

Sicilian Splendors: discovering the secret places that speak to the heart

  I discovered the work of John Keahey by accident a few years ago when his first book about Sicily (Seeking Sicily: a cultural journey through myth and reality in the heart of the Mediterranean) randomly popped up on my Amazon search for books on my usual trawl through the internet for inspiration. After a…

Yuletide Sicily

The festive season is always a beautiful time of the year to visit Sicily as it is filled with the colours, tastes and sensations of a traditional Sicilian Christmas. A Yuletide Sicily offers visitors a unique way of experiencing the island which is inhabited by fewer tourists and is ultimately a more authentically Italian celebration.…

Rebuilding Messina

  The most powerful recorded earthquake to hit Europe struck Messina at about 5:20 AM local time. Its epicentre was under the Strait of Messina, which separates the island of Sicily from the province of Calabria, the “toe” of Italy’s geographical “boot.” The main shock lasted for more than 20 seconds, and its magnitude reached 7.5 on the Richter scale. Ten minutes…

The Normans in Messina

The Chiesa di San Tommaso Apostolo il Vecchio is a precious artefact of the Norman period of Sicily. It dates back between 1061 and 1109 under the reign of Count Roger the first, a French Catholic ruler whose crusading knights left for the Middle East from the port of Messina. For many years it was…