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 Sicilian wish list for the summertime

   Daphne’s house: Giardini Naxos, Castelmola and Taormina Taormina is a beautiful town to explore but it is terribly touristy and there are many other things to see in the vicinity. Be sure to visit Casa Cuseni an historic house which became like a real character in one of the best books around about Sicily…

Postcards from Sicily: at the bar

  There is something about Sicilian's and their local bar. I too am addicted to my morning espresso. There is nothing like swaggering into your local cafe and ordering the 'black gold' even though you are usually surrounded by strange men. I need caffeine stimulation.  

Sicilian’s flare for uttering profanities

When I was a child I had an Uncle who was terribly capricious, a real joker (he still is until this day) and he took great pleasure in teaching my brother and I all the colourful Italian swear words possible.  My Uncle thought it was all terribly funny and hoped we’d use them in front…

Postcards from Sicily: A glimpse of spring

  I managed to get a glimpse of the metaphorical 'Primavera' while jostling in the crowd at the Medieval parade as part of the Infiorata festival at Noto, Syracuse but I'm afraid I've seen very little of her since. I wonder where she has gone?

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…

Why Italy will never be ‘normal’

Living in Italy for many years has made me fluent in many things. I negotiate the nuances of the Italian language, roll my ‘r’s’ with the best of them, I navigate my way around the kitchen with a respectable repertoire of Mediterranean dishes, I can steer my way through the traffic of any chaotic city,…

Picking up a Sicilian vocabulary

Lately I’ve noticed a new development with my language skills. I think I’m going native. Many missionaries from past centuries wrote of how after years of living with a foreign culture and language they have felt like a constant outsider until the day when they realise their tongue has somehow assimilate elements of the local…

Ten ways to tell you’ve been living in Sicily too long

1. I unashamedly buy my underwear at the markets. I used to be embarrassed at the prospect of buying undies and bras from market stalls, the idea of everyone observing me was once crippling. Now I don’t blink an eye and happily rummage around the lingerie stand. I also occasionally buy fruit and vegetables from…

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…

Literary Islands: Federico De Roberto

Frederico De Roberto’s I Vicere’ or The Viceroy’s was another accidental discovery for me, thanks to the Italian’s flare for rich television series period drama. I fell in love with De Roberto’s characters thanks to the screen adaptation I watched a few years ago on the RAI television network in Italy (2007). I was so…

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…

A coffee temptation

I’ve always been a coffee drinker. I started off with instant stuff, then graduated to frothy cappuccino, milky latte and now I live in Italy it’s one hundred percent hardcore espresso. I briefly flirted with tea drinking in my youth, in the anglo saxon tradition of taking afternoon tea, so common in England loving Australia…