Daily Life in a Sicilian Fishing Village

The fishermen in my village usually go out in these boats.     Each village along the coastline has its own particular colour scheme. Our village uses orange, white and blue, but there are some fishermen who originally came from another village along the coast where they use green instead of blue.     I always…

Into which orifice do I stick this?

In the UK, where I come from, medicine is something you swallow. In Italy, you cannot leave the doctor’s surgery with a prescription in your hand before asking the immortal question, “Into which orifice do I stick this?” Seriously, it could be any one of them. Over the years I have been prescribed things to…

The Three Ancient Super-Powers: Part 2, The Greeks

On Wednesday I told you about the Phoenicians, the first Super-power of the ancient world and Sicily’s first colonists. Today, let’s see what the Greeks did for Sicily. The ancient Greeks: the second superpower The Greeks copied the Phoenicians by founding coastal colonies all over the Mediterranean from the 8th century B.C. onwards. We call…

The Three Ancient Super-Powers: Part 1, The Phoenicians

It may be hard to imagine, these days, that Sicily was once the cradle of European civilisation. Three super-powers battled for supremacy and Sicily was the centre of it all. Today, I’ll tell you about the Phoenicians, the earliest super-power and Sicily’s first colonists. Carthaginians and Phoenicians: the first empire The Phoenicians were the first…

9 May – Ode to Peppino Impastato

This is a tribute to the first Sicilian who stood up, shouted against the Mafia, and dared to make them objects of ridicule instead of fearful reverence. ***** 9 May is a day most Sicilians remember. On 9 May 1978 Peppino Impastato, a political activist who opposed the Mafia, was brutally killed. He was my age….

Loafing around in Sicily’s Gingerbread Village

The people of San Biagio Platano, a village in south-western Sicily, have celebrated Easter every year since the 1700’s by decorating their streets with arches and towers made of bread. The entire community spends three months turning the place into a gingerbread village… yet Hansel and Gretel never come!   For this Archi di Pane…

Schools and Bridges Collapsing in Sicily: Thanks Mafia!

Here’s a photo of a road in Sicily which collapsed just ten days after it was built. It’s near Mezzojuso, 25 miles from Palermo. It cost more than Euros 200 million – at least, that’s what the taxpayer forked out for it. The actual materials and work, no doubt, cost far less. I don’t know if…

Is Sicily the Most Geological Place on Earth?

I took my son to a special exhibition of minerals owned by a private collector recently. He said this one looked just like Superman’s home, so it must be kryptonite: I was inclined to agree, but actually the label said it’s a kind of quartz. Sicily has a stunningly amazing range of mineral deposits. It…

How to Queue-hop in front of a Sicilian

If queue-hopping were an Olympic sport, the Sicilians would win gold every time. Yet recently I beat them at their own game. My son has a massive amount of blood tests. We always go to the same clinic, as the people who work there are my friends. One of the men looks exactly like Johnny…

How authentic an Italian are you?

Originally posted on Englishman in Italy:
I asked Mrs Sensible if I could pass for an Italian, not a chance she said, you don’t dress like an Italian, you don’t think like an Italian and even the Italian words you know, sound funny when you use them. To prove her wrong I have put together…

The Kind of Blogs that Make Money

Since I’m skint, and my part of Sicily has 49% unemployment, I’ve been researching how to make money from blogging. If this doesn’t work, my only option will be to work in one of Sicily’s 1,456,998 Chinese shops selling tiny polyester clothes which smell of mothballs. I’ve found out there are three types of blogs…

A Scandalous Story about the Mafia, Extortion and Cake

Sicily’s Anti-Extortion spokesman is Arrested while Extorting 100k Euros In one of the most delicious news items ever reported since I’ve been living in Sicily, it turns out that one of the main men in charge of combating extortion in Sicily has just been arrested… for extortion. It was “Aggravated extortion,” in fact, which means…

How to Annoy a Sicilian

Despite their reputation for having a volcanic temperament, Sicilians are actually a phlegmatic bunch. I’m endlessly amazed by what they’ll put up with. But, if you must, here are the Seven Secret ways to irritate a Sicilian from here to next Sunday. On Monday, make fun of his white vest. I once tried this on Hubby,…

Chivalrous Knights and Cloaked Assassins: Italy’s Five Martial Arts

When you say “Martial Arts,” most people think of Karate chops, Judo throws and the other unarmed combat techniques of the Far East. Yet it’s actually Italy and Greece which have the oldest martial arts traditions in the world. All they need is someone as cool as Bruce Lee to make them world famous! Here’s my…

Celtic Hair

My sister spent a year in Italy getting her hair persistently cut into a mullet. She went to a different salon every time and begged them for a “Little crash helmet” (caschetto), which is what Italians call a bob cut all one length. But apparently every hairstylist in Milan had signed a secret pact to…

Francu, King of the Watermelons

A watermelon stall in Bagheria. That yellow sign, written hilariously in Sicilian, says: “Only one person in Bagheria sells watermelons which are red and sweet. They call him Francu, King of the watermelons.”    

Mazel Tov! The Sicilian Housewife goes to Israel!

Not really. I went to a “meeting” in the local council building to “discuss” the “promotion” of “tourism” in our town last night. All these “”””””” “”” ” ” “””  have a purpose and I promise to explain. Being an astute housewife, I realised very quickly that I had been lured there under false pretences…

Single Woman in Italy? The Sicilian Housewife’s Guide to Italian Men

I spent years travelling alone among the men of Italy. I wish I had known all these insider tips, which I’ve now learnt from my own Italian Hubby! Boundaries Italian men will do things that overstep “boundaries” in your culture. Their boundaries are different. One thing they will do, relentlessly, is chat you up in…

The Best and Worst of Sicily

Originally posted on secret sicily:
Veronica is the brain and pen behind Sicilian Godmother, where she writes about her life in Sicily as an English expat. When I asked her to write a guest post about things she loves and hates about Sicily, I didn’t expect to open such a big can of worms! Her initial draft was way…

Happy New Year 2015!

May 2015 be full of bounce and fun! Happy New Year from a Sicilian Housewife and all her family.

The Tentacles of Doom

Foreigners think English food is awful, and I know why. It’s because they don’t know how to eat it. I served a roast dinner to my outlaws at Christmas a few years ago. They took some potatoes, which sat all lonely and solitary in the middle of their plates. After eating them in dry, disappointed…

A Nativity Play that Fills a Town

I think Sicily produces the only nativity play in the world which features live belly dancers. It happens in the town of Termini Imerese, on Sicily’s north coast, which produces a nativity play each year which fills the entire town. The historic town centre is closed off and becomes the stage for a dramatic production…

Snails for dinner, anyone?

The other day we stopped at the greengrocers – which is normally a roadside stall in Sicily – and my son started making a big fuss over this cage of snails. Most eight-year-olds would either want to play with them or, if particularly sensitive types, perhaps want to liberate them. Not my son. He wanted…

Fancy some nuts?

I photographed these traditional Sicilian market stalls during the village festival this summer. They sell all kinds of nuts, and a few typical sweets as well. The vendors travel around Sicily from village festival to village festival – there’s always one going on somewhere – livening the streets up and selling their healthy snacks. The…

How Macho Fantastico Cured the Flu in One Day

Hubby offered to hang up the laundry a few days ago, since I’ve had a nasty virus. I don’t know how, but he turned all my Brazilian style knickers into thongs that would fit an elephant. Did he secure them firmly to the washing line then bungy jump down to the car parked below? Use…

2014: Dolce and Gabbana’s year of Siracusa!

Sicilian fashion duo Dolce & Gababana have been taking their inspiration from Sicily for several years. I usually try to report on it as soon as the collection comes out, despite the fact that I am about as likely to end up owning a real D&G outfit of clothes as I am to hire Brad…

Why I Hate Parquet Flooring

This post is in honour of Global Have-a-Moan Day (which I just made up). Audience participation is encouraged! Parquet flooring is the new impractical interior decor trend in Sicily. They like it because it is ridiculously expensive and regarded as exotic. Having parquet floors is a way to show off. I used to quite like…

Siracusa, The Ancient Greek jewel in Sicily’s Crown

We had a holiday in Siracusa this summer, over on the south eastern corner of the island. That side of Sicily has a lot of Baroque architecture. Sicilian baroque is a distinctive style developed under Spanish and Bourbon rule (17th century). Here’s Siracusa cathedral: The Museum of Archaeology in Siracusa is wonderful. Since my degree…

5 Top Tips: How to Park like a Sicilian

Can’t find a parking space? Sicilians can. Take a leaf out of their book. Parking Idea # 1 – The Forty-Fiver So-named because you park at 45 degrees to the pavement, this technique is ideal if the available space is not actually big enough for your car, if you know you’ll need to make a…

The Sicilian fishing village of St. Elia

St. Elia is a small fishing village on the north coast of Sicily, a short drive from my home. Their fishing boats, made entirely of wood, are blue, white and orange. Each village along this coast paints its boats a specific color scheme. The fishermen sometimes row silently, but sometimes plonk outboard motors on the…