On the road to Noto

The golden moment of the early Sicilian early morning overwhelms me, church steeples from the cramped towns hanging off the Nebrodi Mountains for dear life are lit up with a distinctly auburn glow. I rolled out of bed this morning at four am for a day trip by bus to Noto, Syracuse for the annual…

Yuletide Sicily

The festive season is always a beautiful time of the year to visit Sicily as it is filled with the colours, tastes and sensations of a traditional Sicilian Christmas. A Yuletide Sicily offers visitors a unique way of experiencing the island which is inhabited by fewer tourists and is ultimately a more authentically Italian celebration.…

Poetry inspired by Sicily: A place of elephants, lions and bears

My grandparent's gardens are gone like so many poetic laments about lost paradises nothing of their cultivated land where father, son, mother and daughter lived the flowering trees are a memory recalled by a dying generation no more sustenance or song only the shadows of a once fertile island Ancient olive groves gradually enveloped by…

Smoky roasted Artichokes

The Sicilian spring is moody as the weather fluctuates between rain and days of glorious sun. The Sciroccio wind whips itself up from the African desert and pushes the seasons along. White blossoms in the fruit trees blend with shadowy greys. The spring is an armistice which allows the winter to gradually surrender itself and…

Under the feet of Mongibello

Randazzo squats under Mount Etna, sprawling out along the massive volcano’s base in the fertile valley of Alcantara. Etna has a tyrannical hold over the landscape and is constantly hovering over this place born out of the volcano’s colossal menace. The broad lava streets of the city are filled with a rustic opulence, as if…

Seeking Sicily an interview with John Keahey

Sicily’s rich history, culture and literature are filled with endless stories, and so one writer or interpreter visiting here will never come up with a definitive interpretation, each experience will remain unique. Sicily has many faces and reflections, depending on where and when you visit and who you meet, it is impossible ever to finish…

How history shapes Sicily’s character

  The weight of Sicily’s history makes it an inherently sad place, like all places with long human histories she laments her past glories which in turn give her a unique melancholy. Yes, Sicilia is defiantly as feminine as her beating heart, Etna. Sicily’s infinite stories shape her own sorrowful character which are absorbed into…

Sicilian Patron Saints

  Sicilian people have a unique rapport with religion and superstition which binds the two seemingly conflicting doctrines together. The connection between the two can be traced back to the struggle the early Catholic Church in Sicily had against pagan religions. The Roman Catholic Church always had a tremendous amount of power over Sicilian’s spiritual, cultural…

Coming back to Sicily: contrasting reflections

People love Italy, they fantasies about it, they want to live here but never realise how broken a place it is. It is slow in mentality, stubborn to change and frustrating for someone who is used to living in a younger faster moving, more efficient country. One day when the rest of the world is…

The complexity of Italy’s cheating heart

  I often exchange stories with other expats about the Italians who have lied and cheated us with an ease and nonchalance which is both infuriating and puzzling. Not to say other countries don’t have problems with corruption as the world is rife, but in most Anglo-Saxon countries a politician or public servant or any…

Things to do in Sicily

I am constantly sitting down and planning out trips to do through Sicily. Often I don’t do everything on my list as I run out of money but I am generally happy if I do one of the trips every year as they are based on my experiences living here on the island. Sicily is…

5 easy steps to becoming a good tourist in Italy

  1) Don’t complain too much So it really doesn’t matter if you can’t track down your favorite candy bar or if they do things differently here. Italy is an old country so things are kinda slow, it will be dusty and a little dirty but that’s to be expected. Nothing is going to be…

Postcards from Sicily: the end of Carnevale

The Sicilian Carnival is beginning to taper off at the end of February, the costumes, dancing and revelry officially comes to an end on the first Wednesday of Lent, known as Ash Wednesday the beginning of a period of sombre preparation for Easter. In these ever secular times some celebrations are extended to make the…

Searching for San Valentino

A skeptic Valentine As for me I think I am in serious danger of falling flat on my face here, you see I’ve never been the romantic type. I’m the one who encouraged my brother and his former girlfriend many years ago on Valentine’s day to fake a wedding proposal to get a free meal…

Sicilian Impressions: Mountains

As a stranger to the mountains I have been challenged by Sicily’s predominate rocky landscape over the years. It is fascinating to observe the Sicilian peaks, their changing faces which recall stark Irish hills or Scottish highlands. In his now historical travelogue 'Sea and Sardinia,' D.H Lawrence complained of Sicily’s ‘peaky confinement’ preferring the wider…