Messina: the city of mythology

Even though Messina battles the usual problems of a big city in Sicily, it is much more cosmopolitan and laid back than the other provincial capitals. What attracts me most to Messina is the unusual mixture of mythology and legend, which intertwines with the city's history to create an intoxicating and alluring tapestry. As is…

Randazzo: at the feet of Mongibello

Randazzo sits under the feet of Mount Etna; a gigantic menacing shadow is constantly over the city. It is a place born out of the volcano and at its mercy. The wide lava streets of Randazzo create a sense of ancientness, the shades of grey sketching out the city in the deep depressing tones of…

The eternally misunderstood melanzana

Melanzana, eggplant, aubergine or whatever you call it is the quintessential Mediterranean vegetable. Exotic, sumptuous, voluptuous and irresistible if cooked properly. Many people don't understand melanzana, they find it strange and hate the taste, but if prepared well, it can become the crowning glory of any dish. The Melanzana is a precious fruit of the…

The trials of raising a bilingual child in small-town Italy

I'm raising my child to speak English in Italy, not just anywhere in Italy but precisely in a small town in Sicily. Unlike the major cities on the peninsula like Rome, Milan, or even Palermo, with large ex-pat communities and English international schools, I'm the only English speaker in my local community. This is great…

10 irksome culture shocks in Italy

It's been a while since my last rant about the irksome parts of culture shock in Italy. I've learnt to adapt to most of the stuff I used to find bothersome; after all, you cannot pretend that an entire culture will change to fit your convenience. I take culture shock with a smile and try…

10 Feste Patronale in Sicilia

Every town and city in Italy has its own Saintly patron or protector which has its own dedicated festa or celebration during the year with associated religious processions and events. In Sicily alone, there are three hundred and ninety town halls which means many different variations in Saint day celebrations.   Apart from the religious…

10 of my favourite Italian-themed books

People are always asking me for Italian book recommendations and after I recently posted my favourite movies I knew I will have to also write a list of book recommendations. I've tried to avoid huge commercial successes and clichè building monsters as I want to give everyone something different and challenging to read. So excuse…

Hunting near Capizzi

Capizzi is clumsily spilt on a high hill; its stone houses have been plucked out of the Middle Ages. The streets are made of tightly paved stones and tiny dwellings like huts huddled together to create a mosaic in different shades of charcoal.  The road snakes up the hill to Capizzi reaching a peak at the head of…

Creativity and mental health

The last two years have been tough on everyone. Our lives were disrupted, and we were forced to scale down our lives. Many people lost friends and family. Others are still suffering from stress, anxiety and depression. I don't want to harp on the negativity, but I, too, have been struggling. I have had problems…

10 of my favourite Italian movies to watch

People are always asking me for Italian-themed movie recommendations. So I'm going to post ten of my favourite movies. A totally random list of films I've come across in my journey through Italy. I've tried to avoid huge commercial successes and clichè building monsters as I'm a bit of a hipster and want to give…

Fashionable English

Sometimes, well, Italy is an awkward fit for me. Actually most times, which is ok, as I am generally self-conscious in everyday life. It is strange to think that someone genetically 100%  Italian would find life in Italy to be uncomfortable. I would be a sought-after show pony if there were a pedigree for Italian-ness.…

A Sicilian wedding baptism

It's wedding season in Sicily, which means the usual array of pretty spring brides and grooms. Many people finally get married after postponing their weddings for two years of Covid. While others, funnily enough, have decided to make Covid babies and then celebrate a wedding and baptism together. I'm sure my dear Sicilian grandparents would…