Slow paced but dangerous

Life at the in-laws is slow-paced but pleasant. Their house is a few kilometres out of Sinagra, following the river inland. Taking a left turn up from the road parallel to the seasonal river bed brings you to a steep climb where the road turns left again abruptly on a terrifying hairpin curve. The steering…

Flamboyant Italians: Vittorio Sgarbi

Sometimes, living in Italy is like being inside an awful soap opera; it's a vibrant, quirky, melodramatic place filled with controversies, corruption, and paradoxes. Italy is a place of great beauty, creativity and unique experiences, overshadowed by equally abhorrent ugliness, criminality and hypocrisy. The Italian people themselves manifest these conflicting traits. I have come across…

Earning a nickname

There are no skeletons in the closet in small-town Sicily, as the broader population identifies every individual member with distinct soprannome or nicknames. These simple and often coarse caricatures have existed for generations and can pinpoint members of a particular family, or are earned after a significant event, distinctive physical feature or personality trait. A…

The good volcano

Etna is an absolute monster, a living, breathing part of the Sicilian landscape. Its sixty by forty-kilometre base is the heart of the island. The three thousand three hundred meters tall shadow has given birth to the fertile Sicilian land, rich in mythology. The volcano is different things to different people. For the ancient Greeks,…

Wintertime

During my first winter in Sicily, I visited La Pillera, an idyllic place near Montalbano, buried in the depths of the forests of the never-ending Nebrodi mountains. It is a place where time stops, and the outside world is forgotten. Here, amongst the hazelnut trees, a decomposing villa camouflaged in the folds of the sprawling…

A Baron’s dominion

Deep in the kingdom of the hazelnuts, the Baron of Salleo’s family had wealthy agricultural patronage with many hectares of hazelnuts, olive trees, wheat fields, together with country properties, a residence at the centre of Sinagra and another in the nearby hamlet of Baronia, most probably named in honour of the Baron himself. The Salleo…

Slipping in from the window

Sitting at my kitchen table at my Sinagra home, I open the window on the balcony from the kitchen, which peers out onto a dirty grey wall. The wall is of another house which I can see directly in front of my window. There is another balcony jetting out of the smaller place, basically three…

The Art of asking

A couple of years ago, I read Amanda Palmer’s fascinating memoir titled the Art of asking. I’ve been a fan of her music since the Dresden Dolls burst onto the alternative music scene in the early 2000s. Apart from being a memoir, The Art of asking explores creativity and how to make it a career.…

Sicilian DNA

Poetry is and will always be my first love. My poems come from my dreams, imagination and emotions. They appear in my mind unexpectedly. An idea comes in a phrase or an image that keeps repeating itself. Something will pester me to the point I cannot ignore. I write it down and it leaves my…

Words from Sicily: 100 Sicilies

Gesualdo Bufalino wrote about Sicily’s many different faces. He was fascinated by the multifacited nature of the island, filled with many paradoxes and contrasting elements that often exist side by side. The complexity and instability of the island’s cultural history has created an engimantic place which is difficult to define. Bufalino says how there are…

Words from Sicily: a slice of life

I’ve been going through a bit of a creative lull lately. It usually happens at this time of year in Sicily; the summers on the island are generally so torrid and filled with humidity that my concentration is permanently shot. I typically go on holiday and forget about getting my productivity back. I try to…

Sicily in the time of Coronavirus

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash In March of 2020 things changed rather quickly in Sicily and overnight as Coronavirus began spreading in Northern Italy. Children went from celebrating the final day of the Carnival in the usual fancy dress party atmosphere with their classmates, into a complete home lockdown. Big cities and little towns…

Advice about moving to Sicily

The world of blogging is fascinating, you meet many people who have the same interests as you, your ego gets a boost with every new subscriber and like and after a few years you begin to be viewed as an expert in your particular niche. While I always enjoy hearing from my readers, answering questions…

The inspiration of Sicily

Sicily is a perfect place for lovers of historical novels, it is such an evocative place, bursting with the energy of a palpable history which seeps into everything on the island. In fact, Sicily has inspired many English authors to write beautiful fiction. The Sicilian migrant diaspora is also one of the most creative spawning…

Carciofi affumicati e arrostiti

La primavera Siciliana è triste perchè il tempo passa da giorni piovosi a giorni di forte sole. Il vento di Scirocco nasce dal deserto Africano e soffia a lungo durante tutte le stagioni. I fiori bianchi sugli alberi da frutto si mescolano con il grigio della passata stagione. La primavera è come un  armistizio che…