Messina’s Madonna

Messina has a special connection to its Parton the Virgin Mary. Not only does she welcome the ships into the port with her giant golden statue at the entrance of the naturally formed inlet. She has many churched dedicated to her, and her image is at the centre of the city’s immense faith and religious…

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 North…

Poetry inspired by Sicily: A place of elephants, lions and bears

My grandparent's gardens are gone like so many poetic laments about lost paradises nothing of their cultivated land where father, son, mother and daughter lived the flowering trees are a memory recalled by a dying generation no more sustenance or song only the shadows of a once fertile island Ancient olive groves gradually enveloped by…

Carciofi affumicati e arrostiti

La primavera Siciliana è triste perchè il tempo passa da giorni piovosi a giorni di forte sole. Il vento di Scirocco nasce dal deserto Africano e soffia a lungo durante tutte le stagioni. I fiori bianchi sugli alberi da frutto si mescolano con il grigio della passata stagione. La primavera è come un  armistizio che…

The truth behind Sicilian ceramic Moorish heads

Sicily is famous for its ceramics, designed in the classic Maiolica glazed style with delicate baroque patterns. One of the most characteristic pieces of Sicilian ceramics 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…

A Sicilian female trinity

The cult of the Patron Saint was developed by the early church which used the established pagan desire for multiple gods to lead people towards the Roman Catholic  religion. Reinforced by the Spanish domination of eighteenth century Sicily, the Italian peninsular still finds itself celebrating endless saintly patrons during the year, a tradition also widely…

Bones and fruit of the dead

My son has recently begun the school year in Sicily, which is proving to be quite an experience for both of us. I like how school life in a small town is wonderfully protective and comforting for young boys and girls who are literally smothered by the community. While at the same time I am…

The city of giants

Of all the major cities in Sicily, Messina is the one with which I am most familiar, simply because it is physically closer to where I live. Palermo can be too decrepit and full of crime, Catania is just plain dirty and dangerous and the others are simply too complicated to travel to for me.…

Caronte & Circe

July in Sicily is pleasant, the heat is more persistent and less of a novelty, in fact, people begin to take summer for granted after spending June lying on a warm rock soaking up vitamin D, like a scaly lizard who has just hatched out of its winter shell. The wind is fluctuating bringing bursts…

Conversations with Elio Vittorini and his critics

Elio Vittorini’s Conversations in Sicily has been on my reading list for a while and I was delighted to find the original english translation in the Amazon Kindle store compete with an introduction from Ernest Hemingway so I immediately snapped it up. However for some unknown reason it was never delivered and after several emails…