Sicilian rooftops

Sicilian Rooftops

 

When you visit Italy and you settle into your accommodation whether it be a five-star hotel or small bed and breakfast I suggest the first thing you do is open your windows or go high up on to a terrace and discover the rooftops around you.

There is something magical about the irregular shape of Italian towns which give them an amazing texture even if it is only a mixture of roof tiles and antennas or a far off view of a castle or Duomo.

Even the tangled mix of washing hanging out to dry and rusty balconies is a view you will only find here in Italy.

Noto, Syracuse

 

In Sicily the views are created by the colours of the stones, the mountains and the light of the particular season.

 

Small town Sicily and their rooftops

 

Even staying in a small insignificant town there will always be those mountains which play tricks on the perspective, layering the houses up and down the valleys.

Orologio Sinagra, Messina

If you look carefully you can always find a crumbling little clock tower which still chimes out the passing hours.

 

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Fall in Sicily

Autumn in Sicily

The beginning of Autumn in Sicily can be abrupt. The gradual changes from one season to the next are now a thing of the past, there are no more slightly shortening days or time for the leaves to go from greens, yellows, warm rusty reds or browns, now the fall begins with heavy rains and cool nights, whenever the gods decide.

One day you are sunbathing on the beach and the next you are pulling on your cardigan and sheltering under an umbrella. The first rains are capricious, sometimes drizzling, then pelting, blurring the mountains and threatening with ash coloured clouds and distant thunder drones, initially succumbing to the afternoon sun and the Scirocco.

The heavy breath of the Scirocco is a lethargic exhale held in cupped hands, a stifling African wind which saps energy, tickling the skin without any relief or pleasure.

This corrupted zephyr, fed by ancient Aeolus the keeper of the winds, ravages the land and utters its curse without any mercy. In the summer it whips up the thermometer, in September it teases as it ushers in the rains, in the winter it tries to deceive people into shedding their skins too soon. First, there is the flotsam and jetsam of the winds and then the storm begins.

 

Autumn

October in Sicily means many things to the Sicilian’s table from fruits like fichi d’india, hazelnuts, mushrooms and grapes. Late ripening in this years season also means a tardy gathering of tomatoes, eggplants (aubergines), capsicums, chilli peppers and other summer fairs.

The insanity of August is easily washed away as Sicily gets back into its daily routine, children go back to school, freshly bronzed public servants are well and truly lazing in their offices and the everyday grind begins.

A new season is always a new beginning, it changes the sensations and assures as we are moving forward despite our want to stand still.

Autumn is like sipping a fine Nero d’Avola, smooth and deeply satisfying with a warm and fruity aftertaste that makes you wish more.

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A journey to the Volcano with Venero Armanno

 

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Venero Armanno’s trio of Sicilian themed novels written by the son of Sicilian migrants is a powerful dedication to Sicily.
The volcano is a novel of emotion, passion and fire set in the shadowlands around Etna and tells us of the epic journey of Emilio Aquila. The book takes us back and forth from Sicily to Brisbane Australia through Emilio’s own precise and vivid memories.
Firehead is a wonderfully sensual, passionate story about Sicilian migrants to Australia and a young man’s obsession over the disappearance of his neighbour, the read headed Firehead of the title.
While The Black Mountain tells the story of a boy sold into slavery to work in the sulphur mines of 1940’s Caltanissetta, deep in the rugged almost savage centre of the island.
These Sicilian themed novels by Venero Armanno, are a homage to the Sicily of post world war two and a generation of migrants who dispersed themselves all around the world.
In the words of Armanno himself, each of these books are, in their own way, about family and love, the effects of the migrant experience on first and second generation migrants and the search for the self.
I was lucky to speak to Venero Armanno about his work and creative process.

 

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How would you describe your writing style and novels to someone who has never read your work?

Trying to describe my work is one of the hardest things to answer—I’m glad some critics will do it for me.

It would be far easier if I worked in something easily identifiable, such as genre fiction: “I’m a crime writer, and my books investigate the dark psyche of people in the underbelly of Chicago.” I’ve often wished I could say something as straightforward as that.

In reality, my books are probably a blend of literary and commercial fiction; they tend to be page-turners while having a fair amount of depth (one hopes). People say the books are sensual and emotional. I’ve written a lot about the migrant experience, however, that’s far from my only main theme. Mostly I’m interested in ideas of what it is to be alive, what it is to love, what it is to hope for better things…

 

Do you have a certain method when you are working on a novel? Is it mostly research and then creativity? For example, how did something like the Volcano come about?

This varies from novel to novel, so there’s no one set answer, though my overall answer would be my method is to write without thinking too much… grasp an idea and run with it, wherever it leads. Over-thinking stifles just about everything. You can’t be over-thinking very much if you force yourself to write 1000 words a day or so. In the end, you just have to let it all flow out.

With The Volcano, I had a basic idea, but it started out as a screenplay, which grew into a three-part epic. When I really looked at that roughly 600 pages of screenplay, about twenty pages were good. So I started again from scratch. Mostly I researched as I wrote. – that is, when I came to places where I needed more information, I went and found it. That research led to other things that could go into the book… there were multiple drafting, believe me.

Do you mind being labelled as an Italo-Australian writer? What does it actually mean to you and for your writing to be classified as such?

I don’t mind and I don’t think it makes any difference one way or the other. I doubt my readership is primarily Italo-Australian, or even particularly ethnic. I think more was made of this in the first part of my career… Around the early 1990s, I remember some newspaper articles equating my writing to Paul Keating’s view of a much more multi-cultural Australia, but that was a long time ago.

You also work in the screenplay genre, how does this fit in with being a novelist, does it influence your style?

No, they feel like two completely different worlds, to be honest. “A screenplay is a blueprint for a work of art that doesn’t yet exist.” – one of my favourite quotes about the form. A book is in itself the work of art (or whatever).  I really dislike the spare type of fiction prose that seems to emulate the form of screenwriting; my writing is a little more lush and sensual. People say I write like a European/Italian/Latino – and that’s how I like it. With screenplays we’re always thinking more visually and externally; with fiction, what I love is the ability to play with, and live in the interior world. So I don’t much see the two types of genres intersecting… at least not for me.

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What advice would you give to an unpublished novelist?

“If you aren’t writing, you’re not serious. What would you say to a kid who wants to play guitar in a band and be a rock star, but never bothers to pick up a guitar and learn/play?”

Then, ask yourself why you want to do this. If it’s for money and fame, go do something else. If it’s because you genuinely love books and have been a reader all your life, then fantastic – try to be the best writer you can. That means to write a lot, every day, damn the consequences and try not to be a people-pleaser. Aim for the middle to long-term, not the short-term. Even if you solely concentrate on short stories, be aware that the road is long and that positive vibes are few and far between. Can you go several years without someone giving you some affirmation that what you’re doing is worthwhile? Can you deal with failure after failure? Because that’s what it will be like. So you have to do this for yourself, and for the sheer joy of writing. The rest is totally secondary, or irrelevant.

 

Black Mountain Venero Armanno

Give us a blurb about your most recent publication?

Okay, this is the official one:

‘Black Mountain is an eerie and compelling read … Like the best of fiction, it remains with you long after you have finished.’ Christos Tsiolkas

Beginning in the sulphur mines of Sicily over a century ago, Black Mountain takes you on a journey through time and back again.

When a boy sold into slavery finds the courage to escape his brutal life, he is saved by a mysterious stranger, who raises the boy as his own. Renamed Cesare Montenero after Sicily’s own ‘black mountain’, Mount Etna, the boy grows up to discover that his rescue was no accident, that his physical strength is unnatural, and that he has more in common with his saviour than he could have imagined. And when he meets the enigmatic Celeste, he suspects for the first time that he may not be alone.

Based on factual events and ranging through Italy, Paris and the rural fringes of coastal Australia, Black Mountain is a haunting exploration of what it means to be human.

 

What are you working on at this moment?

I’ve been redrafting a new book called CRYSTAL GIRL, and that work’s done for now (I think), so it’s off with publishers and agents. I’ve been working on something very different since then, a very large novel called WOLF HOUSE. Let’s just say it involves a girl with powers she doesn’t quite understand, a haunted house, Sicilian witches and, well, some very wolfish feelings… I am absolutely loving writing this book. In fact, right now it has gone off for a long run on its own; I feel like I’m just there for the ride.

 

How are you connected to Sicily? Do you visit Sicily often?

My family went back to live in Sicily for six months when I was at a very impressionable age (nine), so I’ve always felt very connected to the place. My parents, in Australia, lived a very Sicilian lifestyle too, if I can put it that way. So that increased the connection.  I don’t have a lot of families left there so I haven’t been back in a while, but I’m very keen to take my young family.

 

Tell us about your other ‘Sicilian’ themed books …

These would be The Lonely Hunter and its sequel Romeo of the Underworld, Firehead, and The Volcano.

Each of these, in their own way, is about family and love, the effects of the migrant experience on first and second generation migrants, and the search for the self.

 

Black Mountain is your most recently published novel, tell us more about this, how did you discover this amazing setting and story?

I first came across the history of small boys forced to work in the Sicilian sulphur mines, in unthinkable conditions, during my research into The Volcano. It was such a powerful history that I felt I should use it for a book on its own, and not in some other work. I also wanted a little more time to read and talk to anyone who might have had first or second-hand experience with this slavery. I’m glad I waited quite a few years before attempting Black Mountain – I have to say, I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

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Do you have a favourite Sicilian author/work?

I like the old stuff. Just recently I finished rereading some wonderful books: Conversations in Sicily by Elio Vittorini; Little Novels of Sicily by Giovanni Verga; The Day of the Owl by Leonardo Sciascia; Night’s Eyes by Gesualdo Bufalino. Of course, you can’t go past Il Gattopardo! I also love Cesare Pavese, even though he’s not Sicilian. And my wife gave me a new, first-time novelist’s book On Earth As It Is In Heaven, by Davide Ennia (he’s from Palermo). It looks great.

But right now I’ve started reading a lot of Japanese literature…

Are you a blog reader at all? I know you have one but I get the impression you aren’t a fan.

Yeah, it’s a funny thing. Writers like being locked away in a room, then they’re expected to be public in some way. I like my privacy and I don’t need people to know what I think on an hour by hour basis! Or day by day, month by month, year by year…

My publishers encouraged me to develop my own blog site and Facebook page, so finally, I did. I think in three years I have managed to write two and a half blogs – honestly, I couldn’t care less. My energy should go into novels anyway. I’ve since updated my blog site so it just gives a bit of information for any reader that might be curious about my work. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, or even distant… I’m just not the type who needs to express blog-style thoughts. I have full novels to do that, after all.

I don’t follow blogs by people whose work I enjoy, either. There’s more fun in mystery. I come from that generation where you didn’t have access to artists and writers, and so (maybe) their work spoke more acutely.

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A million thanks to Venero Armanno for finding the time to answer my questions.

Armanno’s writing style is sensuous, lyric and heart-achingly beautiful to read. He has written numerous novels and is a respected and experienced academic.

Some of his other beautifully sensitive, sensual and evocative stories set in Australia with their heart well and truly in Sicily include My beautiful friend, Romeo of the Underworld and The lonely hunter.

His latest book Burning Down is a thrilling journey into the world of boxing and organised crime in Brisbane is also available through the Book Depository and has been nominated for the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards. Read more about this book on Armanno’s blog here

The Volcano  is available as an ebook on Amazon while The Black Mountain can be ordered from the Book Depository.

I reviewed Venero Armanno’s book the Volcano in detail for the Times of Sicily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secluded Sicily: Raccuja’s ghosts

Raccuja
Raccuja, Messina Copyright Rochelle Del Borrello 2014

I live a few minutes drive from the hometown of my maternal grandparents who migrated to Australia in the 1950’s. Visiting Raccuja is like seeing ghosts pass before my eyes, it’s a strange visceral experience. I grew up hearing my grandparents stories and it is emotional to find myself passing upon their footsteps. Even if they lived and worked out in the countryside, Raccuja was were they did their everyday business.

My great grandmother Catena Scaffidi would leave her six young girls home to do the chores while she put on her one good pair of shoes to go to the ‘paese’ for church services every Sunday. The church of the Madonna is where my grandparents and great Aunts celebrated baptisms, communions, confirmations, funerals and marriages.

I would have loved to see the local Carnevale parades filled with masquerade, music, wine and fun. My grandfather once recalled how he and his friends dressed up as particularly ugly looking women, all in the name of Carnival fun.

Raccuja's main church
Raccuja’s Chiesa madre Copyright Rochelle Del Borrello 2014

Raccuja was founded during the Norman domination of Sicily by Count Roger d’Altavilla at the end of the eleventh century and was ruled by a succession of feudal nobel families including the Alagonas,Orioles, Valdinas and Brancifortes it was under the jurisdiction of this final family that Raccuja became an independent town in fifteen fifty two. The name of the town is derived from the Arab words Rahl (farmhouse) and Kuddia (hill), literally the farmhouse on the hill.

Count Roger d’Altavilla led his army in a bloody battle nearby Raccuja against the invading Saracens during the period of the Crusades which left behind many heroic tales and stories of deep dark Saracen tunnels secretly constructed by these mysterious nomadic people in the surrounding mountains.

Today Raccuja is suffering from the decay which is evident in most of secluded Sicily. This tiny mountain village used to be an important agricultural producer, with the wealth of hazelnuts, oranges, lemons, olives, wheat and other once precious crops. With the gradual decline of agriculture Raccuja’s bank has closed, the post office has moved away and many other precious services no longer exist. The local primary school is barely holding on and the parish priest does his best to inject some life into the local square, uniting the younger parishioners for regular celebrations.

Over the past decade the Raccujese have kept their town alive with great love and inventiveness. Their annual festa’s dedicated to the Madonna (21st September) and Saint Cosimo and Damiano (October) still attract small crowds.

Raccuja's Medieval church
Raccuja’s historical centre Copyright Rochelle Del Borrello 2014

However the real crowd pleaser is the annual Sagra of Maceroni. The local businesses, church groups and other volunteers offer a selection of local products together with a small concert one night in August where visitors can eat a flavorsome plate of freshly made maceroni pasta and a drink of your choice for a few Euro.

Last summer I went to Raccuja’s Sagra with some cousins of mine who were visiting from Australia and we had a good time tasting cannoli, eating Nutella covered crepes and sipping hazelnut liquor. People were being ferried in and out of Raccuja well after midnight on courtesy buses. There were many people visiting from places like Germany, Australia, Argentina, northern Italy and local areas.

Some visitors to Sicily (and in fact most of Italy) plan out their vacations moving around from Sagra to Sagra, particularly in the summer. The humble Sagra is a guaranteed cheap meal and you can taste typical products produced in the local area. Some famous Sagra festivals include the Pistachio’s at Bronte (CT), Cous Cous festival San Vito del Capo,  Sagra of the Blood Oranges at Centuripe (EN). There are Sagras dedicated to hazelnuts, salami, cheese, roasted pork, oranges, lemons, it depends where you find yourself in Sicily.

I am contented at Raccuja’s inventiveness and smile at Sicilian’s natural shrewdness, an instinctive trait which helps them to survive. I think my grandparents would be proud of their beloved paese.

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For more information on Sicily’s Sagras see: Feste e Sagre di Sicilia and Food and wine Festivals from Think Sicily

And to see more about Raccuja be sure to check out the Comune di Raccuja’s web page.

 

E viva San Leone … E musica

San Leone inspired ceramic designs at Longi. Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello
San Leone inspired ceramic designs at Longi.
Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello

This year I was fortunate enough to get to San Leone’s ‘festa’ at Longi (20th Feb) which I find is generally more traditional and particular then the one celebrated at Sinagra (even if I love them both!)

I liked the solemn religiosity and playfulness of Longi’s interpretation of this Saint’s celebration. Not only does the procession take the Saint’s statue around the town, it has him dancing to the time of the local brass band. Leone doesn’t move without musical accompaniment, here the catchphrase is ‘Viva Santu Leo … E musica!’

Traditional procession of San Leone, 2014. Photo by: Rochelle Del Borrello
Traditional procession of San Leone, 2014.
Photo by: Rochelle Del Borrello

The face of San Leone is always the same yet the elaborate decoration gives Longi’s festa a more traditional feel, here he is decorated in flowers, monetary offerings, bells chiming, threaded wheat shafts, golden vestments and the local children adore him too. The procession lasts nearly the whole day from after the late morning church service until four o’clock in the afternoon when he is placed down in the square before the parish church to receive final offerings and salutes from the devout.

Religious procession. Photo by: Rochelle Del Borrello
Religious procession.
Photo by: Rochelle Del Borrello

During the procession the warmth the locals have to their patron is palpable and it quite frankly gave me goosebumps. A saint’s day in a small town is a particularly special occasion everyone puts on their best face and there is a real sense of pride and religiosity through out the day, it is an exceptional Sicilian tradition.

San Leone of Longi in all of his baroque glory. Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello
San Leone of Longi in all of his baroque glory.
Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello
Children and people casually milling around San Leone. Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello
Children and people casually milling around San Leone.
Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello
A proudly displayed religious relic of San Leone. Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello.
A proudly displayed religious relic of San Leone.
Photo by Rochelle Del Borrello.

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For more details on San Leone and other Sicilian saints see my article on Times of Sicily.

Secluded Sicily: San Piero Patti

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I have many distinct memories from my childhood of visiting cousins of my grandfather who lived up in the hills outside of Perth, WA (Lesmurdie to be precise). I remember feeling as if we were going on an adventure, out into the middle of no where. I can still see those generous, vivacious people who spoke with a peculiar accent, if I close my eyes I can hear their laughter and energy.

My Nonno’s cousins spoke the dialect from their native San Piero Patti and even their children who were born and raised in Australia spoke with the same distinct accent. It’s difficult to explain, my uncle can do a hilarious imitation, it sounds as if they are talking with their mouths filled with marbles. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t sound garbled or ugly but they are doing something funky with their tongue to give them an added force still. As compared to the usual double emphasis on the consonants so common here in Sicily, I think at San Piero Patti it’s more like a triple emphasis and they roll their ‘r’s’ well back into their throats. It’s all quite operatic, emphatic and dramatic at the same time.

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I was so thrilled to make a pilgrimage to this tiny town deep in the Nebrodi mountains in honor of my Nonno and his cousins a few years ago together with my mother. It’s quite a difficult place to get to, it’s hidden away between the folds of the mountains.

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Like most small secluded Sicilian towns it was filled with casual encounters which made my jaw drop.

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The main square seemed untouched by time with the usual group of elderly men sitting around talking, smoking and sipping endless espresso coffees.

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On the other side of the ‘piazza’ was the parish church which seemed unassuming but ambling up to the front stairs and into one of those tiny mouse hole openings cut into a larger front entrance door I found one of the most elaborate churches I’d ever seen.

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Everything was covered in rich rose coloured San Marco marble and every inch was smothered either in elaborate marble decoration, gold details or sculpture. The magnificent centerpiece was a massive crucifix complete with a life size Madonna statue mourning the death of Christ. What stuck me the most is how the ‘Madonna Addolorata’ as she is known in Sicily was my height and all dressed in black. The church is the Chiesa di S. Maria and dates back to 1580.

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Shaking off my surprise out of the church we walked back into the piazza and ambled towards the main road where we had parked our car when we literally bumped into an elaborate stone work fountain which seemed like something from the middle ages.

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Later I discover the fountain is dedicated to Saint Vito who was a christian saint originally from Sicily.

Known as St Vitus in english he is the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and epileptics. San Vito protects against lightning strikes, animal attacks and oversleeping. He is the patron saint of Rijeka in Croatia; Ciminna in Sicily, Forio on the Island of Ischia, in Campania, Italy, the town of Winschoten, Netherlands and St. Vith in Belgium.

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Secluded Sicily: Longi

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Longi, Messina nested in the mountains.
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

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 establish a place in such an unwelcoming part of the terrain, it makes my head spin to climb up along the road to Longi.

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Detail of Longi
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

I would have never discovered this treasure of a place if not for a dear friend and Compare of my husbands who is from this adorable little town. Sicilian’s often use the word Compare (you may recognize the term from the Godfather movies) to describe a close family friend, or someone who has baptized your child or been a best man at your wedding, they are considered great honors which make a Compare or the feminine equivalent Comare part of the immediate family.

Our Compare from Longi has known my husband since high school and my husband was his best man. It is thanks to him and his family that we often make trips up into the mountains to admire the contrasts in the landscape from the lush grazing lands in the tablelands in between the old forests from the highest town site in Sicily, Floresta down to the outskirts of Longi where everything becomes harsh and rocky.

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Longi’s San Leone procession
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

Over the years we have discovered Longi’s version of St Leone (yes Longi has chosen the same patron as Sinagra), walked through this timeless piazza and tasted wonderful locally made products from ice cream, to porcini mushrooms, to goats cheese and attended baptisms and other religious celebrations associated with the children of our compare in the equally ancient parish church.

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Viva San Leone at Longi
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

This spring we have even discovered the joys of a new adventure park established by the by the wonderful entrepreneurial spirit of the Longesi, together with a surprising array of bed and breakfasts and rustic Trattoria restaurants.

Even if Longi’s hold on the mountains appears precarious it is relatively close to the coast and is a mecca for those who love to pass time in the mountains trekking and escaping the chaos of the overcrowded seaside resorts.

Longi is yet another tenacious Sicilian village who is firmly gripping onto it’s place on the map of Sicily.

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Secluded Sicily: Patti

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Patti, ME © Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

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 north western Sicily.

Patti is symbolic of secluded Sicily in it’s ancientness. I keep coming back to this place thanks to a wonderful literary reference that has given Patti a special place in my heart.

Apart from being the location of a major hospital, law courts, the treasury and land tax office, two major high schools, a university campus and the forestry department amongst others things Patti is also an arch diocese in the Roman Catholic Church.

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Saint Bartholomew Patti, ME © Rochelle Del Borrello

It is this religious element that makes Patti so important. You see, the Basilica of Patti has been around for centuries. The Basilica of Saint Bartholomew is the burial place of Sicilian royalty and nobility dating from the middle ages.

While reading Goethe’s Italian Journey I was left aghast to discover he passed through Patti in the 1786 and was a welcomed guest at the famous monastery.

It surprised me that such an unassuming place could have so much undisclosed history behind it. All it took was a little background reading to discover such an important connection to possibly the most famous travel log of all time.

Patti reminds me never to underestimate any place in Sicily. No matter how dull it may seem, it is always worth taking that exit off the Autostrada to visit Patti and her hidden Mausoleums.

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Secluded Sicily: Sinagra

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Secluded Sinagra (ME)
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

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 who staunchly survives as it is close enough to the coast to be considered a cheap alternative for summer vacation and is an important connecting node in the transport system for trips towards Catania and the interior regions such as Randazzo and Enna.

Like so many other little villages Sinagra is small but steadfast. It’s three thousand inhabitants are tenacious and hold onto their little town as faithfully as they do their patron Saint Leone. Even the many Sinagrese who I have met in Australia never fail to have picture of good old Leone in their house or some other memorabilia dedicated to their birthplace.

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Sinagra in the summer sun
© Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

The main feast day of San Leone at Sinagra is on the eight of May, where a procession of the Saint’s statue is paraded through the town and nearby countryside to herald the beginning of spring. His promenades aren’t limited to May, Leone also makes a sprint over the towns main bridge on Easter Sunday amongst a suggestive pyrotechnic display and has been known to make excursions out to his wintertime home in the country church with his same name where he resides from early November until Easter.

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Santo Leo at the festa on the 8th of May
©Rochelle Del Borrello 2013

Those mad keen Saint lovers of the past used to run San Leone over the rocks of the river that cuts through Sinagra, bare foot and in the middle of the night, where it has been said not a single pilgrim was ever hurt. The Saint seems to have given his blessing to little Sinagra, he helps keep the place alive despite the decay of small townships in Sicily.

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