A Sicilian wedding baptism

It's wedding season in Sicily, which means the usual array of pretty spring brides and grooms. Many people finally get married after postponing their weddings for two years of Covid. While others, funnily enough, have decided to make Covid babies and then celebrate a wedding and baptism together. I'm sure my dear Sicilian grandparents would…

Mata and Grifone

  Sicily is famous for its ceramics, designed in the classic Maiolica glazed style with delicate baroque patterns. The most original pieces and those who stimulate the most interest from visitors are the Moorish head designs, which consist of pairs of pots, cups or jars which depict a fair-skinned woman and a man with distinctly…

AC Milan madness

  I don't follow sports or sports clubs, but since moving and living in Italy, I have been exposed to the culture of Italian soccer. Here the sport of soccer is a way of life. Who you follow on the soccer field will determine who your friends are, and you will form connections and alliances…

Italian coffee culture shock

  The last time I was home in Australia I became a victim to reverse culture shock. It’s a very strange affliction for an ex-pat living in Italy as usually every day you are battling tiny little moments of friction between yourself and your new home, but slowly you begin to adjust and don’t think…

First and lasting impressions of Palermo: Louis Vuitton

Sicily is such a beautifully textured place; many layers of history have been placed, one on top of the other. Each period of history leaves spaces and gaps where you can see the remnants of many different stories. These fragments are intriguing as they lead you towards many histories, stories, and endless possibilities. Each place…

Colours and tales from Sicily

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…

Seraphim

I 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…

Exploring small Sicilian towns

When people come to Sicily, they tend to go along the well-followed tourist road, sticking to the main cities like Palermo or Catania or visit coastal resort towns like Taormina or Cefalù, which are all beautiful and worthwhile. Still, the island offers many more unique experiences.I always advise people to go and explore smaller towns,…

Italy’s cheating heart

An emailI recently got an email from one of my readers with an interesting question. After reading a book by British historian and aristocrat John Julius Norwich, she thought that she might have to worry about the Mafia. My reader is thinking about buying a house in Sicily, and a flippant throwaway line from Norwich…

Flamboyant Italians: Vittorio Sgarbi

Sometimes, living in Italy is like being inside an awful soap opera; it's a vibrant, quirky, melodramatic place filled with controversies, corruption, and paradoxes. Italy is a place of great beauty, creativity and unique experiences, overshadowed by equally abhorrent ugliness, criminality and hypocrisy. The Italian people themselves manifest these conflicting traits. I have come across…

Earning a nickname

There are no skeletons in the closet in small-town Sicily, as the broader population identifies every individual member with distinct soprannome or nicknames. These simple and often coarse caricatures have existed for generations and can pinpoint members of a particular family, or are earned after a significant event, distinctive physical feature or personality trait. A…

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…

A tasteful introduction to Sicilian cuisine

Italy is a foodies paradise, and each town has its own particular specialities. From region to region and city to city, each place has its form and interpretation of pasta, typical seasonal ingredients, wines, cheeses, and desserts. It would take months to work your way around the boot and taste everything. Without the luxury of…

Cinepanettone: A comedic celebration

It's the end of another shaky year for the world as many countries are stepping back into restrictions after various surges of Corona cases; with vaccines and boosters all around the globe and new mutations in the news, it's still a difficult moment in history. This year seems to be a little more hopeful than…

To panettone or not to panettone…

I fondly remember growing up in Western Australia: every year, my Sicilian Grandmother would proudly pull out and slice some sweet panettone bread after Christmas lunch. For Nonna, the fluffy mushroom-shaped loaf was a fine treat filled with candied orange, citron, lemon zest and raisins. As a fussy teenager, I hated it. I was usually…