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…

Postcards from Sicily: Icy blessing

From New Years to February my little part of Sicily has been blessed by snow. For me it is a blessing as I am Australian who had never seen snow until I moved to Italy in 2002, for those used to icy Northern Hemisphere winters I'm sure it's all like 'get over it will you.'…

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…

Sicilian Impressions: Wind turbines

Flamboyant Italian art critic, politician and intellectual Vittorio Sgarbi has criticized the use of wind turbines in some of the most picturesque mountains in southern Italy. Sgarbi says they have ruined the natural beauty and wasted millions of Euro without producing much energy, going as far as to suggest links with organized crime. I tend…

Sicilian Impressions: Beaches

In the middle of the winter I always get nostalgic about summer and the beach. I have always had a difficult time with Sicilian beaches and their rocky nature, I miss sandy Australian beaches. I like the sparse rustic nature of the coastline which gives me the sense the beach belongs to me. I also have…

Sicilian Impressions: Taormina

Today Taormina is a major tourist Mecca in Sicily but it was once a place of decadence attracting many artists, writers and bohemians alike, inspired by its isolation, beauty and ancient quality. In amongst the gaudy tourist stores there are many small artist studios and speciality stores which reflect the creativity and artistry of Sicilians,…