Secluded Sicily: Longi

Longi is a tiny mountain village perched literally on a precipice with one road in and one road out in between the two other rugged mountain towns of Galati Mamertino and Frazzano' Every time I visit I am amazed at how Sicilian’s were able to build a town in such an unwelcoming part of the…

A walk to the fig tree

In the summer Sicilian’s become like frugivorous animals living off the fruits produced by their gardens. So my husband, son and I are obliged to take a walk to the fig tree to gather up its bounty. The only problem is the tree is hidden deep below a steep precipice behind overgrown bushes and prickly…

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…

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…

Sicilian Impressions: History

Wherever you find yourself in Sicily, history haunts you and comes alive in a visceral sense. This slumbering knight in the Duomo at Noto, Syracuse tells us his story with effortlessness as if he is about to sit up on his crib and talk to us.

Sicilian Impressions: Maschere

Carnival time in Italy is filled with endless fried desserts, parades, tricks and masquerade. The masks can be beautiful like the ones at Venice’s world famous Carnevale or terribly ugly like these. When you see one do not be afraid, they are harmless they only want to be offered a glass of wine or mime…

Sicilian Impressions: Art

Sicily is filled with delicate pieces of art always where you least expect them. You will find intricate statues in dusty churches, decaying statuettes in the nooks of decrepit Palazzi. Fine art is always a surprise even if it is so terribly neglected by a country which is overburdened by an aesthetic abundance, sadly without…

Sicilian Impressions: Belvedere

Stopping at a 'belvedere' or lookout on the side of a Sicilian mountain road will give you a spectacular surprise and a sense of the expansive nature of Sicily. On a clear day you will feel like you are in the heavens looking out onto a new world. The closest belvedere to me looks out…

Sicilian Impressions: Naso

Naso, is one of those feisty Sicilian towns, perched high up on a seemingly precarious peak, it looks down the valley at Sinagra and hauntingly peers down at the cars driving down the mountains towards the coast. Literally  Naso is 'nose' in Italian and it would be more aptly named 'head,' but it is surely…

Sicilian Impressions: Landscape

Sicilians are at one with their landscape, their towns and houses peek out from behind the vegetation like large boulders which seem to have always been there.

Sicilian Impressions: By road

I cannot reiterate enough the joys of exploring Sicily by car, it is easy to zig zag the island through mountains and valleys, weaving your way through endless small towns. Sicily by road means effortlessly experiencing the ins and outs of the islands landscape and stopping at a local roadside Trattoria or family run restaurant…

Sicilian Impressions: Winter

I used to think visiting Sicily in the winter is a sad and cold way of experiencing the island but I have changed my mind. I love the feeling of having the place to myself. The lava filled countryside near Etna is infernal in the summer and so the wintry months offer the perfect time…

Sicilian Impressions: Etna

Mount Etna is the most active volcano in Europe and is my current fascination. Sicilian writers have the burning heart of Mongibello deep within their hearts, so much so they barely acknowledge it in their words. For someone new to the island like this once Unwilling Expat, the mountain offers endless images over the ever…

Sicilian Impressions: Castello Nelson

One of the most fascinating historical sites I have discovered in Sicily is the Castello di Maniace (also known as the Castello Nelson) outside the small agricultural town of Maniace in the extensive plain between Bronte and Randazzo a city literally at the feet of Mount Etna. Admiral Horatio Nelson was given the estate of…

Sicilian Impressions: Ficarra

Sicilian villages are amazingly steadfast and stoic. I am constantly impressed by the way they have been constructed a top the mountains in the most unlikely places as if they have always been a part of the landscape. This is Ficarra in the province of Messina which casually lounges on the Nebrodi mountains looking out to…