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.…

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…

Sicily’s most intriguing museums

There are literally hundreds of museums in Sicily as humanity has made its home here since prehistoric times. You can get lost in amongst the limitless exhibitions of ancient Greek artefacts, fossils and ceramics and risk museum burnout. The best way to avoid exorbitant museum visitation is to select a few which spark a particular…

In love with Sicilian Castles

Possibly one of the most fascinating relics left behind by Sicily’s many conquerors must be the impressive array of fortresses and castles. These majestic fabrications are not for the faint hearted as they are often located in strategic places high up in the mountains or dotted around the harsh coastal escarpments all around the island. It…

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…

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…

Vintage Messina

  I love all things Vintage so I was so happy when I came across this vintage souvenir from Messina.     In the series of postcards the landscape of the city, the port and the mountains on the other side of the strait at Calabria are always the same yet the infrastructure is ever-changing.…

Postcards from Sicily: The art of hunting

    The sport of hunting is widely diffused all over Sicily and Italy. The Greenie in me is terribly uncomfortable about living side by side with this sport. However I can understand the cultural value of this tradition as it has connections to the proud agricultural world, the community and families from the past.…

Postcards from Sicily: ancient crafts

  I'm a bit of a postcard addict, always on the lookout for original or vintage images from wherever I am visiting. I recently found this great series of cards depicting ancient arts from Sicily. Work that is no longer needed or has simply disappeared as the world has become 'modern'. It saddens me to…

Postcards from Sicily: playing cards

  Sicilian playing cards are works of art. There are many versions around, these ones are Neapolitan and I picked them up at my local Tabaccheria. This is the ace of spades a wonderfully baroque angel holding a cascade of flowers and an Arabic vector. I grew up playing Sicilian card games and love the…

A Sicilian Summer with Brian Johnston

I’ve always been a lover of the travel writing genre, ever since my mother gave me a paperback of Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither here nor there’ which took me backpacking through Europe before I left high school. Since then I have made my way through many travel writing classics from Paul Theroux to Bruce Chatwin. Many…

Secluded Sicily: Raccuja’s ghosts

I live a few minutes drive from the hometown of my maternal grandparents who migrated to Australia in the 1950’s. Visiting Raccuja is like seeing ghosts pass before my eyes, it’s a strange visceral experience. I grew up hearing my grandparents stories and it is emotional to find myself passing upon their footsteps. Even if…

Literary Islands: Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard (Il gattopardo) is my favorite Sicilian novel of all time. The sumptuous world of the Prince of Salina is a precious link to Sicily’s baroque aristocracy. It also inspired one of the best international cinematic productions with the classic 1963 film adaptation directed by Luchino Visconti starring Burt Lancaster as…

E viva San Leone … E musica

This year I was fortunate enough to get to San Leone’s ‘festa’ at Longi (20th Feb) which I find is generally more traditional and particular then the one celebrated at Sinagra (even if I love them both!) I liked the solemn religiosity and playfulness of Longi’s interpretation of this Saint’s celebration. Not only does the…

Literary Islands: Federico De Roberto

Frederico De Roberto’s I Vicere’ or The Viceroy’s was another accidental discovery for me, thanks to the Italian’s flare for rich television series period drama. I fell in love with De Roberto’s characters thanks to the screen adaptation I watched a few years ago on the RAI television network in Italy (2007). I was so…