Sicilian saying of the day: gossiping

A pirnici canta tri voti io iornu e sempri a danno so The partridge sings three times a day and always to his own disadvantage. Another beautiful natural image, this time of a wild bird widely hunted throughout Sicily and seen as a metaphor for the unattractive habit of malicious human gossip. Any suggestions for…

Postcards from Sicily: the spirit of things

    There are literally hundreds of water fountains all over Italy gushing with water, Baroque details and sculpture. Often we are mesmerized by the immense works of art without seeing the cute little details. This grumpy little water god got my attention when he blew in my ear as I walked by the old…

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…

Sicilian saying of the day: the humble jackass

  U sceccu porta sempri u barduni A donkey always carries the load. Yet another folk saying to do with the humble donkey, a symbol of hard work and stubbornness. Simply put, a jackass will always be an ass. Hummmm, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, simply doesn’t have the same directness does it!?!? For…

Insights into Ferragosto

Italy has an abundant amount of public holidays, ranging from the usual stuff like New Year’s day and padded out with things like Liberation Day (25th April), International workers day (1st May) and Republic Day (2nd June). Not to mention a fine cavalcade of religious celebrations including the Epiphany (6th January), All Saint’s Day (1st…

Window shopping in Sicily

Italy is a place where fashion comes alive. Italians have a real flare for it whether it be elderly ladies dressed in colorful silk tops and high heels, or the latest shop window display from Dolce and Gabanna there is an astounding level of creative expression happening deep within the Italian psyche which is inspiring.…

Sicilian saying of the day: Bad habits

  U sceccu chi si mancia a fichera u viziu si lu lava quannu mori. The donkey who eats figs is only rid of the habit when he dies. The humble donkey used to be the work animal of choice in Sicily, able to carry heavy loads and negotiate the mountain terrain common on the…

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.…

Sicilian saying of the day: Learning

  U lignu si torci quannu e’ virdi   Literally the wood is moulded when it is green. Sicilian wisdom is practical, true and often uses metaphors from the natural world. This phrase is symbolic of the islands basic ‘folk wisdom.’ In fact habits and character are best moulded in youth.    

Quirky questions about life in Italy

Today I want to tackle your questions about living in Italy full-time. To be honest I haven’t been asked many questions so I got my virtual and real Facebook friends to send me some random ones, which I’ll answer below.   Maryann asks: How is the plumbing and the water? Well, the average Italian bathroom…

Sicilian word of the day: Scirocco

    The scirocco is an infernal African air current from the desert who whips up the heat in the Mediterranean to unbearable levels during the summer . If this hot wind is still the day is pleasant but if it is on the prowl it makes the air too hot to breathe. Someone who…

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…

A journey to the Volcano with Venero Armanno

    Venero Armanno's trio of Sicilian themed novels is a significant accomplishment, written masterfully by the son of Sicilian migrants with a powerful dedication to Sicily. The volcano is a novel of emotion, passion and fire set in the shadowlands around Etna and tells us of the epic journey of Emilio Aquila. The book…

Postcards from Sicily: at the bar

  There is something about Sicilian's and their local bar. I too am addicted to my morning espresso. There is nothing like swaggering into your local cafe and ordering the 'black gold' even though you are usually surrounded by strange men. I need caffeine stimulation.