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…

Asparagi di primavera

Quando il tempo comincia a scaldare la terra i primi frutti di primavera letteralmente saltano su dal nuovo fogliame. Fra i più pregati c’è l’asparago selvatico che cresce spontaneo e abbondante in tutta Italia. L’asparago è un membro della famiglia delle giglio ed è ricercato per i suoi teneri, succulenti e commestibili germogli. Gli asparagi…

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…

The humble Sicilian olive harvest

There is something humbling about participating in a traditional olive harvest. Every couple of years I get to help out my husband and his family gather olives to make oil for our own family. Everyone loves the taste of good high quality oil and simply refuse to do without it. The harvest is only a…

Novembrando in Sicily

It’s already November in Sicily but this doesn’t mean things have slowed down on the island there are always many events and festivals going on in every province throughout the year. I thought I’d share some of the most colourful for visitors to experience this month.  The events mentioned here are annual events, times and…

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…

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…

Under the feet of Mongibello

Randazzo squats under Mount Etna, sprawling out along the massive volcano’s base in the fertile valley of Alcantara. Etna has a tyrannical hold over the landscape and is constantly hovering over this place born out of the volcano’s colossal menace. The broad lava streets of the city are filled with a rustic opulence, as if…

Visiting Sicily with Carmelina

Recently Sicily Inside and Out spoke to Carmelina Ricciardello, the founder of Sicilian Experience who offers personalized guided tours of the island, she gave us a wonderful list of things to see and do in Sicily. Carmelina is a charming lady, a lover of Sicily and a true Sicilian who is dedicated to promoting her…

Seeking Sicily an interview with John Keahey

Sicily’s rich history, culture and literature are filled with endless stories, and so one writer or interpreter visiting here will never come up with a definitive interpretation, each experience will remain unique. Sicily has many faces and reflections, depending on where and when you visit and who you meet, it is impossible ever to finish…

Without winter there wouldn’t be a summer

November in Sicily People often avoid the island of the sun in the winter months, preferring to bathe themselves in the sunshine and sea during the warmer months. But delving into Sicily in autumn/winter is a more authentic and rich experience. The first of November begins with All souls day, a celebration dotted with colourful…

Sicilian Impressions: History

Wherever you find yourself in Sicily, history haunts you and comes alive in a visceral sense. This slumbering knight in the Duomo at Noto, Syracuse tells us his story with effortlessness as if he is about to sit up on his crib and talk to us.

Sicilian Impressions: Maschere

Carnival time in Italy is filled with endless fried desserts, parades, tricks and masquerade. The masks can be beautiful like the ones at Venice’s world famous Carnevale or terribly ugly like these. When you see one do not be afraid, they are harmless they only want to be offered a glass of wine or mime…

Sicilian Impressions: Art

Sicily is filled with delicate pieces of art always where you least expect them. You will find intricate statues in dusty churches, decaying statuettes in the nooks of decrepit Palazzi. Fine art is always a surprise even if it is so terribly neglected by a country which is overburdened by an aesthetic abundance, sadly without…

Sicilian Impressions: Belvedere

Stopping at a 'belvedere' or lookout on the side of a Sicilian mountain road will give you a spectacular surprise and a sense of the expansive nature of Sicily. On a clear day you will feel like you are in the heavens looking out onto a new world. The closest belvedere to me looks out…