What is happening above our heads?

The terrifying sound of a jet roaring over our heads is becoming a regular occurrence. It is a military exercise but I imagine the terror of it speeding towards a real mission. The nightmare of hearing a fleet of such monsters heading towards you announcing death in life’s final moments, a chilling thought which haunts…

Don’t quite move to Sicily, yet …

I recently got an email from a woman who was contemplating moving to Sicily from the US as she desired a change in her life and felt connected to her Sicilian heritage. She was looking for some advice and here is what I said to her: Thanks so much for your email, I feel privileged…

Postcards from Sicily: Swooning and pouting

I snapped this shot at the Piazza Armerina markets. This particularly bored girl waiting for her father holding on to various riding paraphernalia. It is an image which summarises my summer’s day near Enna the heat, dust and rustic surrounds were enough to make anyone swoon and pout.

Postcards from Sicily: Cirneco dell’Etna

It was at Piazza Armerina that I met this fellow the Cirneco dell'Etna an ancient breed of Sicilian dog which has woven its way through the hardened lava deposits near Etna for centuries, helping hunters to weasel out rabbits from their warrens. This fine example was mesmerized by the sight of a caged rabbit, as…

Postcards from Sicily: Piazza Armerina market stalls

  Piazza Armerina in the province of Enna deep in the bellybutton of Sicily is still filled with traditions which are slowly disappearing in other parts of Sicily. Visiting the agricultural markets (or fairs) used to give you the opportunity to see animals and products from all around the islands, however this market no longer…

Towns cradled by Etna

I’ve been asked several times about the dangers of the Mount Etna volcano in Sicily. Over the past decade Etna has been relatively active opening several new openings in spectacular lava flowing fountains and fire works, but the province of Messina is distant enough to hear the stories and watch the news without being directly…

Hope you had a good summer …

I think I may have inadvertently led people to believe I had a wonderful summer lazing around the beach and traveling around Sicily. In reality I had a terrible summer, every time I tried to go to the beach it was friggin freezing and in August my mother in law spent the month in hospital…

Fall in Sicily

The beginning of Autumn in Sicily can be abrupt. The gradual changes from one season to the next are now a thing of the past, there are no more slightly shortening days or time for the leaves to go from greens, yellows, warm rusty reds or browns, now the fall begins with heavy rains and…

Five things never to do in August in Sicily

There are five things I would never do in August in Sicily!   1) Don’t get any heavy dental work done, as you will be suffering a toothache until your dentist gets back from his cruise on the islands.   2) If you are a woman don’t go into labor as you will be delivering…

Flamboyant Italians: Vittorio Sgarbi

Living in Italy is like being inside a terrible soap opera, it’s an emotive, quirky and spectacular place filled with controversies, corruption and paradoxes.Italy is a place of great beauty, creativity and unique experiences which can be overshadowed by equally abhorrent ugliness, criminality and hypocrisy. The Italian people themselves manifest these different traits.I have come across many…

Postcards from Sicily: the spirit of things

    There are literally hundreds of water fountains all over Italy gushing with water, Baroque details and sculpture. Often we are mesmerized by the immense works of art without seeing the cute little details. This grumpy little water god got my attention when he blew in my ear as I walked by the old…

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…

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…