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I want to Spend a Summer in Sicily

Updated on November 26, 2014

I want to walk around the Island of Sicily

Before I kick the bucket, I will spend a summer in Sicily. A Sicilian summer, of course, which corresponds to my winter.

The weather in Sicily is very much like my own, I won't freeze to death or swelter in impossibly high temperatures, it may just be cooler and balmier than my own summers.

Whatever the weather, I must see, I will see, this jewel of an island.


Schooldays and children of Sicily

Shortly after World War 11, Australia welcomed migrants from Italy, mainly from the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Their welcome was in stark contrast to the treatment of Australians of Italian descent during the war years.

In primary school, one memorable year, my classroom alone swelled with a round dozen of dark-eyed. olive-skinned Sicilian children. I remember clearly my awe at their beauty, so different from my pale-skinned, freckled contemporaries and the lovely lilt of their language sang in my ears.

Their homes fascinated me. The strange food aromas, the exotic vegetables I had never tasted before, the grape vines crawling up the fences, the quick excited chatter. And, in more than one home, the beautiful image of the Black Madonna of Tindari.

I knew then, at age seven, I had to go to Sicily myself. One day I will.

The Black Madonna of Tindari

Nigra Sum Sed Formosa (I'm black, but beautiful)

Tyndaris was a Greek city, a settlement of the Messenian exiles, driven there by the Spartans after the close of the Peloponnesian War in 404 BCE.

Pliny told of a great calamity which the city sustained, when half of it was 'swallowed up by the sea', probably from an earthquake.

I want to walk around the considerable ruins of the ancient city, and pay my respects to the Black Madonna.

I want to walk in the ancient places

There are just so many elements in Sicily.

The Phoenicians founded Palermo; the ancient Greeks are still present in the temples at Agrigento; the Romans left a legacy of beauty in the exquisite villa at Piazza Armeria; the Normans built cathedrals; the Swabians built castles; the Spanish built palazzi.

Everyone left something wonderful to see in Sicily.

Views of Sicily

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Mangiamo, Beviamo and Cantiamo!

The exhortation to eat, drink and celebrate is a common enough Australian sentence these days, but I'm especially drawn to the foods of Sicily.

Like the architecture, and the Sicilian language itself, the foods show an eclectic combination from the history of the island.

After being invaded and conquered by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Hapsburgs and Bourbons, you can expect a style of cooking different from other regions of Italy. But the key to Sicilian food is the rich volcanic soil which produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

I spend a lot of my time trying to learn Sicilian style cooking, with its emphasis on fresh vegetables, the mint, raisin and pine nuts of the Arabs and the fish, olives and broad beans of the Greeks. I'm helped by the fictional character Montalbano.

Watching Montalbano makes me more determined

Just look at this stunning place!

Easy to Cook Authentic Recipes

A rich exploration of Sicilian cuisine and its influences, with recipes from real Sicilian people! This book is a treasure for everyone who likes good food, with 75 recipes that cover the Sicilian culinary heritage.

St Joseph's Table

Tavola di San Giuseppe

Sicily's most important saint is Giuseppe, whose day is celebrated on March 19 with an ancient tradition called St Joseph's Table

Legend tells us that, sometime during the Middle Ages, there was an exceptionally severe drought in Sicily. No rain fell for an extended period of time, no crops would grow, and countless people died of famine. The people prayed to God for rain, and they also prayed to St. Joseph to intercede with God on their behalf.

They promised that if God caused it to rain, they would have a special feast honouring God and St. Joseph.

The rains came and the crops were bountiful. With the harvest, the people prepared a feast of foods which has become known as the Tavola di San Giuseppe.

Through the centuries, people who have prayed for a favour and been granted the favour, use this festival to show their thanks

Stunning Sicily!

I could stare at these photos for hours, waiting until I get to see them myself.

Mt Etna

Mount Etna, at almost 11,000 feet, dominates the Sicilian skyline, and must surely be a constant threat every day on the eastern coast.

Etna is the most active volcano in the world. Since 1500 BCE, the volcano has erupted around 200 times, the last in 2001, with lava flows almost reaching Nicolosi.

Mythological Mount Etna

The children of the nymph Aetna, were.fathered by Zeus. They are the Palikoi, the Gods of thermal geysers. There's also a giant buried beneath the bulk of Aetna, and his restless turnings cause earthquakes and fiery lava-flows.

Haephestus, the Smith of the Gods, has his forge under Mt Etna. It's here that he makes the mighty thumderbolts for Zeus

Siracusa City of Legend
To the ancient Greeks, Sicily was a land for Gods and Heroes. Persephone returned to the world here, and Spring continues to arrive earlier than anywhere e...

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