Sicilian details: signs

I love taking photos of walls and signage; they have the same quality as an old postcard, like a memory of an ancient time. I took a photo of a fragment from a poem on a wall at Monreale. I liked the dirty paint, the lettering seemed like something from the Fascist period, and I…

Sicilian Details from Catania

While accompanying my husband on his work trips to Catania, I noticed how many little water pools dotted the harsh lava landscape. Since I spent most of my time standing out in the sun to help by holding up one of those measuring poles you see surveyors using on the roads, I didn't get much…

Sicilian details: Taormina

Walking around Taormina, one of my favourite places to visit in Sicily, I came across an impressive lawyer's office. It was a few hundred meters down the road from the Anfiteatro; the ancient greek open-air theatre still used today for summer concerts. I imagined the lawyer closing his office late one summer night and strolling…

The story is always in the details

I use my camera like I'd use a notebook. I record little details and notes, things I've noticed or want to remember for later. I photograph small things that catch my eye, a particular design or pattern which seems unusual. It could be a texture that catches my eye or how the sunlight hits a…

Marsala

The city of Marsala is the home and namesake of one of Sicily's most ancient and famous wines. The town's unique location on the western coast and its dry environment is part of the reason behind the deep flavour of Marsala. The coastal city's sea breeze and pleasant weather throughout the year assure the health…

Leonforte

Goethe once said to have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy, for Sicily is the clue to everything. But to understand Sicily, you need to go to its geographical centre because the key to the island's identity is there. The province of Enna is known as the belly button…

Sicilian Provinces

Each province in Sicily has its unique landscape, dialect and cuisine. They are all quite diverse to experience. Palermo Palermo is one of the greatest cities of art and history in Europe. In the Victorian period, royal families would choose to holiday in Palermo. The city is filled with endless churches, historical neighbourhoods, palaces, and…

Seraphim

I was working on revising a poem I’d written many years ago, which reflects on the nature of human nature and language. The poem titled A Babel of words uses the biblical story of the tower of babel from Genesis as a metaphor for the over-reaching ambitious nature of humanity.   I’ve been obsessed with…

Bitesize pieces of Sicily

There are many ways of exploring Sicily, from visiting the bigger cities and tourist centres, food and winery tours or seeing the major historical sites, from Greek temples to endless museums.  Logistically moving around Sicily is difficult simply because of the mountainous landscape, poor infrastructure, lack of reliable public transport and confusing or absent signage.…

Impressions of Palermo: Mafia

  Palermo is a place that has always created many different pictures in my imagination. Palermo is the city of the Mafia, a word I've never really understood until I came to live here. The Mafia is not a Hollywood stereotype; it is a tangible form of organised crime that has grown and developed together…

Life in the classical underworld

I sometimes feel as if I am a modern Persephone, abducted by my husband to live in the underworld. An underworld in the classical sense, the ancient Greeks' afterlife, the place where Hades, the ruler of the spirit realm, abides and where mythology finds its home. I wasn't kidnapped but somewhat constrained by my love…

The end of summer

Sicily at the end of August is a fiery ball of heat, humidity, mosquitoes and desert winds whipping up from Africa. We arrive in Sicily in the final month of Summer; my husband decides to take a couple more weeks off work; to rest and get over jet lag. Italy shuts down at this time…

Sicilian Status Quo

In my search to understand the character of Sicily, I discover the work of the Sicilian writer Giuseppe di Lampedusa. His novel, The Leopard, is set in the period of the Risorgimento when Italy violently transformed itself from a collection of principalities into a unified country. This masterpiece is filled with insightful observations on the…

Making friends with death

Since coming to Sicily, I’ve become more acquainted with death. In Sicily, mortality isn’t hidden in funeral homes or polite obituaries printed in newspapers. The end of life is part of every day, and the rites associated with mortality become tinged with a mixture of superstition and religion. The ceremony of death in Sicily makes…