Inside the Palazzo Salleo

My vision takes a moment to adjust to the dimness inside as I’ve just stepped through a doorway. After a few moments, I take in the shape and scale of a grand staircase crowned by an ornamental gateway. The ostentatious gate is embellished with intricate archways. A row of sculptured wrought iron flowers crowns the…

Sicilian Sayings: Giuseppe Pitrè

I've always loved the folk wisdom of Sicily. I grew up hearing snippets of sayings from my Sicilian grandparents. When I was younger, I used to find them a little annoying, rudimentary and often with annoying sing-song rhymes. But reflecting on what they said, I realised the wisdom they contained was valuable. The rhymes helped…

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…

Sicilian detto of the day: Fools

This week’s Sicilian saying is the quintessential mixture of astute observation, wisdom and crudeness. Symbolic of the Sicilian erudite, down to earth no-nonsense approach to life. And I love it. So the saying says: Lu minchiuni ‘un si conusci quannu nasci; si conusci quannu cresci. To break it down a little, my literal translation is:…

Soundscapes

  The soundscape of Sinagra effortlessly comes inside my home through the window. Since my house, like most others here, has precious little space between it and the street or even the neighbours homes. Each house leans up against the next; the front door opens onto the road, which is now too narrow to accommodate…

Another world

Trinacria is a world away from the rest of Italy. In a geographical, industrial or political sense and through its distinct culture and lifestyle. Sicilians retain elements of traditions in their everyday lives, which have been inherited from past generations. Sicily has been bombarded by a mixture of invading cultures throughout its history, and Sicilians…

First Days living in Sicily

During my first days living at Sinagra, I noticed people had a strange way of treating me. It is as if I’m a novelty. I am a new plaything, a foreigner whom people regard with curiosity. I quickly became the subject of local gossip. Walking out into the main square in town with my husband,…

About Trinacria Poems

Photo by Victor on Pexels.com I’ve always loved poetry. From old song lyrics to Shakespeare, Pushkin, the Beats and everything in between. My ideas come to me in fleeting images, emotions and shapes on the page. They come from dreams, nightmares and memories. Sometimes they are too personal to share, more often I like how…

The stories behind A Sicilian Mosaic

Last week I announced the launch of my first self published Zine dedicated to photography, titled A Sicilian Mosaic. The idea to make a zine came about last summer after watching a tutorial on Youtube, where a talented photographer showed me and everyone else on the internet how easy it is to compile his photos…

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.…

Arriving in Sicily

The arrival (Catania, August 2002) Arriving at Catania airport, my husband and I are hit by the blistering heat of August in Sicily. We are two sweaty zombies after an eighteen-hour flight from Perth, Western Australia to Rome, followed by another hour from Rome to Catania. It is hotter than hell. Our clothes are wet…

Moving towards Sicily

The Sicily of today is very different from the one my grandparents left behind; it has gone through a tremendous economic boom which saw it move from an agricultural-based economy to one based on industry, all in one generation. People in contemporary Sicily live as well as anyone else and barely recall the hardships of…

Immigration in their blood

My Grandparent’s generation in the 1950s wasn’t the first to have left the island; the inhabitants of this region have immigration in their blood. Sicily’s ancestry comprises generations of colonising Greeks, from conquering Romans, to tyrannical Normans, cosmopolitan Arabs and imperial Bourbons. Sicily’s timeline is made up of a long succession of dominations, thirteen different…

My Grandmother’s eyes

In the mirror there I can’t see myself.  I see my grandmother’ eyes looking back at me  and remember how I made them cry. She is the strongest person I know  and in one mad moment, thinking of myself  I made her weep. I was distracted worrying about overweight baggage  and departure times  I forgot…