So, in a few weeks my cousin is coming to visit and of course has been asking about where to go when she’s here. Now, Sicily is a lot larger than most people imagine and oftentimes people think they can visit places from one side to the other with no problem at all. It’s here that I’ll let you in on an essential piece of information: It takes about 4 hours to travel from Trapani, on the Western-most tip of Sicily, to Catania, the centre of the Eastern side of Sicily. That’s not an insignificant drive. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re only going to stay the other side one night. Speaking from experience you’ll want two nights. And providing your flights are in and out of the same airport then you’re going to waste one day of the holiday purely driving, 4 hours there and 4 hours back.
There’s really no need to spend all that time travelling. There is plenty to see on each side of the island. This is even true for Western Sicily, the less popular side of Sicily.
I confess, the first time I went to Agrigento I wasn’t very impressed. I’m not talking about the Valley of the Temples, that is amazing— Ancient Greek Temples, what’s not to like? But the first time I ventured into Agrigento I was a little underwhelmed. Not so this time when I went to see their spectacular Festival of the Mandorlo in Fiore (Almond Tree in Bloom). This time I found it charming, and full of unexpected gems! Continue reading “The Festival of the Mandorlo in Fiore”
Today is Shrove Tuesday, in Italian Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), and it is the day which signals the end of carnival and the beginning of lent. It is therefore the last day of carnival celebrations across Italy excepting those which follow the Ambrosian rite.
So, when my mother-in-law heard I was going to write about Chiacchiere her immediate response was…
Let’s make some together, I’ll teach you how.
Now, it’s here that I should point out that my mother-in-law in some kind of culinary genius. She is an authentic Sicilian housewife of the old mould. She whips up all kinds of amazing things without a written recipe to be seen anywhere. So, whenever she offers to teach me things I’m not one to say no (after all this woman is the reason my husband is prone to say “that’s not how my mum makes it”).
If you’ve been thinking since my last post- I’m not going to be in Italy around carnival so I won’t be able to try chiacchiere- then you’re wrong.
This year marks a momentous occasion, as this year it will have been a whole decade (I can barely believe it) since I first moved to Sicily. In that time I have done more things than I anticipated, seen more beauty than I thought possible, and stayed a hell of lot longer than I EVER intended.
You see, I moved to Sicily fresh out of university and attaining my TEFL certificate. I came here on a temporary 8 month contract with no intention of staying any longer.
My twenty-two year-old self was going to teach English here for eight months and then head off somewhere else. It was entirely by chance that I ended up in Sicily anyway; I wanted to go to Padua, where I spent a year of my degree studying, but somehow (and to this day I’m really not at all sure how, seeing as the job I applied for was in Padua) I was offered a job in Sicily. Anyway, I figured I could last anywhere for 8 months. So I packed up my suitcase and arrived all alone on a flight. A taxi service met me at the airport to take me to my destination, and it was there that my whirlwind delivery into Sicilian life began. Continue reading “7 Things You Never Knew You Could See In Sicily…”