How to explore Sicilian towns

When people come to Sicily they tend to go along the well followed tourist road, sticking to places like Palermo or Catania or visit coastal resort towns like Taormina or Cefalù which are all beautiful and worthwhile but the island can offer so many more unique experiences. I always advise people to go and visit…

Dividing Sicily into bitesize pieces

There are many ways of exploring Sicily, from visiting the bigger cities and tourist centres, food and winery tours or seeing the major historical sites from Greek temples to endless museums. Logistically moving around Sicily is difficult simply because of the mountainous landscape, bad infrastructure, lack of reliable public transport and really confusing or absent…

The Madonna of Tindari

Sicilian poet and Nobel Prize winner Salvatore Quasimodo immortalised the ancient town of Tindari in his poem titled: The wind at Tindari, which sketches out the timeless nature of the religious sanctuary high in the mountains of the Tyrrhenian coast in the north-eastern province of Messina. Quasimodo’s poem is as relevant today as it was in the…

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.…

An early Easter in Sicily

  By far the most spectacular time of year to visit Sicily has to be in the springtime, as it is filled with sunshine, freshness and the pageantry of Easter adds a distinctive colour and theatricality to the island. Easter in Italy certainly isn't all chocolate eggs and bunnies (even though they have them here…

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…

Visit Secret Sicily with Oriana

One of my favorite new blogs about this complex isle I live on is Secret Sicily written by a fab virtual friend of mine named Oriana. I love meeting new people through their blogs and I think good blogging is about bringing out your own personality, passions and interests. It was great to have a…

Postcards from Sicily: the end of Carnevale

The Sicilian Carnival is beginning to taper off at the end of February, the costumes, dancing and revelry officially comes to an end on the first Wednesday of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday the beginning of a period of sombre preparation for Easter. In these ever secular times some celebrations are extended to make the…