How to peel a fico d’india

The exotic prickly pear (fico d’india) is a delicacy in Sicily and thrives around the entire island. Known also as the Barbary fig (opuntia ficus-indica) it is a species of cactus cultivated throughout the world in arid and semiarid areas and is thought to be native to Mexico. It is best to taste them after…

The toilet situation in Italy

***Warning this post contains images of Italian toilets, bad double entendre and Australian slang*** I have never understood the reason behind the lack of public toilets in major Italian cities as you would think it is a common courtesy to keep lovely, clean toilets for tourists and visitors. So what should anyone visiting do to…

Insights into Ferragosto

Italy has an abundant amount of public holidays, ranging from the usual stuff like New Year’s day and padded out with things like Liberation Day (25th April), International workers day (1st May) and Republic Day (2nd June). Not to mention a fine cavalcade of religious celebrations including the Epiphany (6th January), All Saint’s Day (1st…

Blogging around the world: Mozzarella Mamma

  One of the most inspiring expat blogs I’ve come across in Italy must be Mozzarella Mamma which is the creation of Trisha, an American journalist who has been living and working in Rome for the past two decades. She’s an inspiration simply because she has managed to juggle being a professional, bringing up three…

Blogging Around the world: Surviving in Italy

This week on Blogging Around the World, we are back in ‘Bella Italia’ to be specific Florence and a sassy American gal called Misty and the struggles she describes on her blog  Surviving in Italy. Now there is plenty of blog action happening out of Florence but you aren’t going to find anything quite like…

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…

Tongue tied in Italy

It is always a challenge for non native speakers of any language to learn and assimilate into a new country but Italy has its own particular surprises reserved for struggling expats.    Before moving to Italy permanently I thought I was quite savvy with my Italian. After all I had almost majored in Italian, lived…

So you’re married to a foreigner … an Italian perspective

What’s it like for a Sicilian to be married to a foreigner? Living in the south of Italy is very much like living in a Middle Eastern country, Sicily isn’t the south of the Italian peninsula but rather a northern state of Africa. Sicilian’s are very traditional and proud of their culture. An islander is…

Sicily, how rude!

   This past week I’ve had several reminders why I’m such an unwilling expat. Random encounters with rude and ignorant people who in their defensiveness are hurtful.  Living in small town Sicily every time I open my mouth it is painfully obvious that I am a foreigner ( here they don’t say, what a lovely accent, it’s…

Why do Sicilians fear Air conditioning?

I recently met a lovely Canadian lady who was complaining about the lack of air conditioning in Sicily. I had totally forgotten why Sicilian’s and Italian’s in general are so anti artificial cooling systems in the summer. I have passed through so many humid summers it must have fried my memory when it comes to…

Secluded Sicily: Patti

The coastal city of Patti isn’t exactly a typical sleepy little Sicilian town, in the summer it is a buzzing tourist centre and is secured of its importance thanks to the many government offices and organizations that are located there. Patti’s vicinity to other big cities makes it a significant point in the map of…

Secluded Sicily: Sinagra

My journey into sleepy Sicilian places began with my current home, Sinagra. It is the town that my husband and his family adopted as they gradually moved towards the coast away from the once agriculturally rich mountain regions whose decline began after the post world war two period. Sinagra is one of those ancient towns…

What do you mean Balotelli isn’t Italian?

I’ve always been surprised at the average Italians innate racism, sexism and homophobia. I’m certain there are plenty of enlightened Italians out there but the majority I’ve met are more of the red neck kind. An example is the debate during the recent European soccer championships about whether or not the Italian Mario Balotelli could…

Bad mannered Italian’s

It’s official Italian kids are the most bad mannered while overseas. Thanks to a recent report from ANSA Italy (on ansa.it) Italian children on vacation are the least civilised in Europe, according to a survey conducted in 500 European hotels.   According to the report the worst offenders were children from Milan and Rome followed…