Arts & Culture

Who Lives in a House Like This?

Who Lives in a House Like This?

Just WHO lives in a house like this? Is it a prison? Is it paradise? Is it the home of the eternal fires of hell? Daft questions? Not if you believe the myths and legends. In a genre obviously prone to hyperbole and bombast, where else but Mount Etna could boast connections with a king, […]

Palermo Promises: Never Again

Palermo Promises: Never Again

On a recent spring-like January day in Palermo about 1,000 Palermitani forewent hanging out at Politeama or Foro Italico and instead spent the entire afternoon in Palermo’s city archives building. They came from all religious (and even non-religious) backgrounds to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic 1493 expulsion of all Jews from Sicily—driven out either […]

The Flashing Eyes of the Dancing Satyr

The Flashing Eyes of the Dancing Satyr

The Enigmatic and Fascinating 25 Century-Old Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo (Trapani) “Atruvammu ‘a statua, attruvammu ‘a statua” (“We found the statue, we found the statue!”) cried the fishermen, breaking the quietness of the night on the high-sea. This happened the night between the 4th and 5th of March, 1998, when the crew of […]

Sicily on the Couch

Sicily on the Couch

It would no doubt be interesting if one could put an entire region or country on the couch, in psychiatric terms, in order to examine its neuroses and foibles, to highlight where it might be going right or wrong.  In the perpetually dysfunctional world in which we all seem to live, the results would be […]

An Interview with Anna Maria Sciascia

An Interview with Anna Maria Sciascia

Anna Maria Sciascia, daughter of the great Sicilian writer, Leonardo Sciascia (1921 – 1989) and Maria Andronico, harbours a great many memories of her father, whom she saw write one after another, summer on summer, books that already form part of the History of Literature, such as The Day of the Owl, Equal Danger, Todo Modo, Una storia semplice, The […]

Reading the Feminine: Women Writers in Sicily

Reading the Feminine: Women Writers in Sicily

In the course of researching the works of authors concerned with matters Sicilian, be they foreigners or native-born and bred, we are constantly dismayed at the ratio between men and women. Readers will not need telling in whose favour that ratio falls. As we’re not only talking about islanders, but the literary world as a […]

A Bank Vault full of Priceless Treasure in Siracusa

A Bank Vault full of Priceless Treasure in Siracusa

I first visited Siracusa two summers ago. The highlight of my trip was visiting the Medagliere (numismatics treasury) in the Archaeological Museum and getting to know its charming curator, Rosalba Riccioli. Blonde and vivacious, Rosalba’s passion for the 2,500-year-old gold coins and jewellery in her care – and the intriguing stories behind them – is […]

Sulphur, Sicilians, and the Exodus to the USA

Sulphur, Sicilians, and the Exodus to the USA

There is not one manufacturing industry in the world that can work without sulphur. When the industrial revolution took place in the 19th century, 90% of all the sulphur in the world came from Sicily. These are Sicilian sulphur miners: Why are they working naked? It was 40 degrees centigrade above ground and down in […]