Postcards from Sicily: Pupi

My son loves knights and dragons. He keeps begging me to buy him one of these marionette puppets, he would be drooling if he saw this big guy. I love the Pupi Siciliani as a form of Sicilian theatre that originated in the 18th Century and retold epic battles and tales of old. It nearly…

Political intrigue in small town Sicily

Small town life is always insidious, the reality in Sicily is ever more so. Not only do you find everyone knows about everyone else’s business but they have been sticking in their noses for generations and so if you are a newcomer you will be a target for gossip. I’ve been living here for a…

Literary Islands: Vitaliano Brancati

I stumbled upon Vitaliano Brancati quite by accident in a bookstore at Messina. I was attracted by the title of one his books, I discovered after he was quite a prolific novelist and later his most famous novel Il Bel Antonio was developed into a movie staring Marcello Mastroianni, which became a classic of Italian…

Secluded Sicily: San Marco d’Alunzio

This curious itsy-bitsy place attracted my attention when I first saw it from a train heading from Palermo to Messina. I blinked my eyes in amazement to witness a town literally camped up on the top of a mountain. San Marco d’Alunzio seems tightly compacted up there on Monte Castro some five hundred and forty…

Literary Islands: Giovanni Verga

  Most language students who study Italian at university level are familiar with Giovanni Verga as his short stories in the simple realist style are a perfect introduction to Italian Literature as they are easy for first year students to follow. Verga’s short tale Cavalleria Rusticana was made into an opera libretto which together with…

Literary Islands: Salvatore Quasimodo

If I could take only one emblematic book with me from Sicily, I’d defiantly choose Salvatore Quasimodo’s complete poetical works. One of Sicily’s Primo Nobel’s in Literature, Quasimodo illustrates all the colours of his native island. His lifetime’s work, themes and forms span from: sparse expressive poetry, experimental pieces, poems inspired by mythology, politically charged…

I morticini Halloween in Sicily

According to the Roman Catholic traditions in Sicily the first two days of November are known as ‘All Saints day' and 'All Souls day' (respectively dedicated to  the churches’ canonized Saints and the deceased). As with most traditions they have become colourfully interpreted by popular culture and anticipated by the thirty first of October, good…

Secluded Sicily: San Piero Patti

I have many distinct memories from my childhood of visiting cousins of my grandfather who lived up in the hills outside of Perth, WA (Lesmurdie to be precise). I remember feeling as if we were going on an adventure, out into the middle of no where. I can still see those generous, vivacious people who…

Festa time at Capo D’orlando, Messina.

It’s become a tradition at this time of year to attend a series of Festa’s or celebrations dedicated to patron saints that are common to most towns here in Sicily, not out of any particular religious desire but simply to have a day out, rummage through the endless stalls and perhaps start buying those pesky…

Run, cinghiale, run!

   I’m surrounded by people who love the sport of hunting. What’s a poor passive greenie like me supposed to do? There’s nothing much I can do, other than hoping whatever game is being pursued gets away and everyone comes home empty handed. This year it seems everything is going well for the animals and I’m…

A funeral, a wedding and a baptism in Sicily

This September has been a sombre month, the end of summer and the prelude to winter it is a transitional period in the cycle of life with the promise of new beginnings. The month began with the funeral of a friend's great grandmother who was the matriarch of the family. Carmela was elderly and she…

Postcards from Sicily: Welcome to Messina

Since a picture is worth a thousand words I thought I'd share some random picture from my holidays, when I get a moment. Here is the warm welcome Messina gives to it visitors arriving on the ferry, an open armed statue of the Virgin Mary greeting and blessing every visitor as they pass into the…

Secluded Sicily: Patti

The coastal city of Patti isn’t exactly a typical sleepy little Sicilian town, in the summer it is a buzzing tourist centre and is secured of its importance thanks to the many government offices and organizations that are located there. Patti’s vicinity to other big cities makes it a significant point in the map of…

10 books to read instead of visiting Sicily

I’m big on reading and the journey books can create in your life. If you can’t travel a book can give you an authentic experience without leaving your armchair. Sometimes travelling isn't always possible but this is no reason not to experience a place through its literature. Sicily has inspired many locals and foreigners with…