The one time I went to Etnaland

Every year a group from my small Sicilian town of Sinagra organises a pilgrimage to the Etnaland amusement park at Belpasso outside of Catania. In the summer months, the waterpark is open until the early evening, and the connected theme park rides are put into motion as the locals spend their evenings spinning, dipping and…

Reflections on a summer garden

I am probably the worst gardener in the world, name a plant, and I've probably killed it usually by forgetting to water it. Strangely enough, both my parents and grandparents were (and still are) fantastic green thumbs. Our family always had terrific vegetable gardens. In the summer we never needed to buy tomatoes, basil, eggplants…

The extravagant Tabacchere

  One of the most sumptuous fruits of the Sicilian summer has to be the Tabacchere, a strange little squashed furry peach packed with enormous flavour. I first saw these seemingly insignificant mini fruit at the fruit and vegetable stalls at the open air markets and took them as an inferior version of regular peaches.…

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…

Smoky roasted Artichokes

The Sicilian spring is moody as the weather fluctuates between rain and days of glorious sun. The Sciroccio wind whips itself up from the African desert and pushes the seasons along. White blossoms in the fruit trees blend with shadowy greys. The spring is an armistice which allows the winter to gradually surrender itself and…

Springtime Asparagus

As the weather begins to warm the first fruits of spring literally ‘spring’ up from the new foliage. A favourite has to be wild asparagus which grows randomly and abundant throughout Italy. Asparagus is a member of the Lily family and is sought after for its tender, succulent, edible shoots. This plant has been cultivated for…

This is Sinagra

I often get asked about whereabouts I am in Sicily, I generally say I'm in the province of Messina as most small towns are rather insignificant, in the sense that they tend to be generic, small and therefore not many people know their exact location unless they are famous for some reason or another. My…

How history shapes Sicily’s character

  The weight of Sicily’s history makes it an inherently sad place, like all places with long human histories she laments her past glories which in turn give her a unique melancholy. Yes, Sicilia is defiantly as feminine as her beating heart, Etna. Sicily’s infinite stories shape her own sorrowful character which are absorbed into…

Sicilian Patron Saints

  Sicilian people have a unique rapport with religion and superstition which binds the two seemingly conflicting doctrines together. The connection between the two can be traced back to the struggle the early Catholic Church in Sicily had against pagan religions. The Roman Catholic Church always had a tremendous amount of power over Sicilian’s spiritual, cultural…

Drawn to Sicily

All Sicilians have this blinding obsessive love of there Sicilia which exists beyond any hardships, lack of education, lack of economic betterment or even famines which have occurred on the island, everyone holds onto their beloved Sicily despite everything. Of course until they were pushed away from their homeland when things on the island became…

Exploring Taormina in five photos: Enjoying the view

As much as I love Taormina I never get the chance to experience it is as I wish. We are always in a rush visiting with guests, walking up and down the main streets and doing souvenir shopping as that’s what all tourists want to do. If you have time you should be doing things…

Exploring Taormina in five photos: Hiding from tourists

Even if you hide from the tourists they seem to pop out from everywhere at Taormina. It’s great to close your eyes, block them out and imagine no one is around. Wouldn’t it be lovely to have the place to yourself, enjoy that Picasso exhibition at the suggestive Palazzo Corvaja in calm and serenity.

Exploring Taormina in five photos: Duomo

It is impossible to take photo’s during the day at Taormina, someone is always in your shot no matter what perspective you take it from. There is nothing you can do about it, you need to live with random people in your shot. Such is the curse of living in such a popular tourist destination,…

Exploring Taormina in five photos: Bar Etna

I always look out for locals in Taormina, whether they are the shop-keepers, delivery guys, chefs and waiters taking five minutes to smoke a cigarette and occasionally sitting down for a coffee. My husband thinks I snapped two foreigners here at the suggestive Bar Etna, but they were speaking Italian and were distinctly un-rushed and…

Exploring Taormina in five photos: Santa Caterina

Thanks to Pip from Sustainability Soapbox for nominating me to do the five photos/five stories challenge. I’ll be sharing five images from Sicily with particular stories attached to them. This summer I found myself visiting Taormina twice after having two different groups of guests to visit who both expressed a desire to see this famous…