Italian festivals and theaters for opera lovers

Apart from the history, architecture and historical sights to see in Italy there are endless opportunities to experience the products of its thriving culture. So many people travel to Italy and simply tick off the main tourist sites off the bucket list. Colosseum, check, Ponte Vecchio, Check, Leaning tower of Pisa, Check, Instead of being…

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…

Postcards from Sicily: Discovery

  Even if I dislike shopping around touristy type shops I am often surprised to find stunningly original items in amongst the tacky kitsch. Working my through I heart Sicily post cards, every possibly shaped lava sculpture, bamboo flutes and knickknacks I saw these little babies. A series of handcrafted tools used to pick those…

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…

The clockwork marvel at Messina

A few weeks ago I shared a photo of the impressive bell tower near the Duomo of Messina and was surprised by the level of interest in this landmark, hence this post. I’ve been taking people to visit the bell tower ever since moving to Sicily. The mechanical aspects of the tower are a little…

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 Sicilian wish list for the summertime

   Daphne’s house: Giardini Naxos, Castelmola and Taormina Taormina is a beautiful town to explore but it is terribly touristy and there are many other things to see in the vicinity. Be sure to visit Casa Cuseni an historic house which became like a real character in one of the best books around about Sicily…

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.  

Sicilian’s flare for uttering profanities

When I was a child I had an Uncle who was terribly capricious, a real joker (he still is until this day) and he took great pleasure in teaching my brother and I all the colourful Italian swear words possible.  My Uncle thought it was all terribly funny and hoped we’d use them in front…

Postcards from Sicily: A glimpse of spring

  I managed to get a glimpse of the metaphorical 'Primavera' while jostling in the crowd at the Medieval parade as part of the Infiorata festival at Noto, Syracuse but I'm afraid I've seen very little of her since. I wonder where she has gone?

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…

Why Italy will never be ‘normal’

Living in Italy for many years has made me fluent in many things. I negotiate the nuances of the Italian language, roll my ‘r’s’ with the best of them, I navigate my way around the kitchen with a respectable repertoire of Mediterranean dishes, I can steer my way through the traffic of any chaotic city,…