Yes, this package of white powder is mine

Last week I received a summons from the local post office, informing me I must present myself at their offices within an appointed deadline. The card had rubber stamps and a signature and even a RED rubber stamp, which in Italy is downright scary. Our main post office is in the western wing of the…

Top Ten things to do in Sicily in Winter

Sicily isn’t usually the first place people think of going for holidays in winter, but my German friends pointed out to me it is actually a great choice. This isn’t just because you can often get winter sunshine, but also because there is lots going on, you can see the sights without the crowds, and…

The Italian Festival of Sicilyshire

What happens to Italians when they live in England? I became deeply worried about my husband and son this summer, after they had been living in the Stoke-on-Trent area for six months. When one has married an Italian, one simply doesn’t expect to be putting up with this type of thing:   When I intercepted…

Buying a House in Stoke-on-Trent: the Italian point of view

We are looking for a house here in England. My Sicilian Hubby is, shall we say, going up a learning curve. He is learning to speak English. Learning to speak English from estate agents is probably not something most people would advise. They speak in a code which even English people have to learn to…

Buying a House in Italy: Where have the original features gone?

Now that we are looking for a house to buy in England, Hubby is getting a lot of surprises about how English people do it. “Are you SURE they’ll leave the kitchen behind?” he asked me in the first house we viewed. “Yep, the whole lot,” I reassured him, “even the kitchen sink.” We went…

Do you only eat fruit in season, or forced in greenhouses?

Whilst scoffing mango and strawberries with my nephew the other day, I found myself thinking of my friends in Sicily with pity. This is the season when they have pretty much no fruit, you see. Oranges fizzle out in February, and then there’s basically nothing till May. Fruit and veg in season The idea of only…

The Sadness of Sicilians in England

There’s often something forlorn about Italians in England, isn’t there? An air of pathos hangs around them, especially in summer when they are gradually realising that it really, truly isn’t going to stop raining, not today, not before the end of their holiday, not ever. They look tragi-comically out of place, what with their glowing…

Mount Etna, Europe’s Biggest Volcano

Imagine my shock and embarrassment when I suddenly realised, after 11 years in Sicily, I had never blogged about Mount Etna! Now I have finished clutching my pearls in horror, I am rectifying this oversight forthwith. Mount Etna is Europe’s largest volcano, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is not only the biggest, but the…

Castelbuono, the Foodies’ Paradise in Sicily

I have blogged about Castelbuono before, but not recently, so I am doing it again! We took an English friend there last summer, and she took all these lovely photos. Thank you Adrienne! Castelbuono has a medieval castle with a very long ramp at the entrance and several arches to negotiate before you get there:…

How to have a Happy Easter Sicilian Style! Buona Pasqua!

Look at this lovely gift which arrived in the post today. It came from Hubby’s ex colleagues.   It is the classic Sicilian Easter gift: a flock of Easter Lambs, all made from marzipan. Sicilians traditionally make marzipan (which is called martorana in Sicily) twice a year. Marzipan Easter Lambs They make it into lambs…

Shopping in Palermo

Palermo is a fun place to go shopping, and you can find some real bargains if you know where to go. If you don’t, you can find a truly amazing amount of tiny weeny Chinese clothing, that you would not have fitted into by the time you were 12. Never fear! Follow my advice, and…

Why are these refugees coming to Europe anyway?

I recently moved back to England, partly because I found my dream job, my life’s calling; and equally so that my son could go to school in peace after his school in Sicily fell down. Now that I am back in England I am realising that the level of pity and sympathy for refugees is…

Found in Translation

One of the various jobs I did in Sicily was technical translations. I specialised in translating and co-authoring medical textbooks and research papers, and legal documents. You may think this sounds dull but, trust me, they are far more entertaining than regular translations. By doing this job, I learnt that Italian doctors are world leaders…

Dolce & Gabbana Summer 2016: The Carretto Siciliano!

I was happy to see that Sicilian fashion duo Dolce and Gabbana (well, one of them is Sicilian anyway) have turned back to Sicily to inspire their Summer 2016 collection. They must have heard I’ve moved back to England, because they included a matching umbrella in the collection this year. Thanks, guys!   This time they…

Where is the Sicilian Housewife?

Hello darlings! Sorry about my very long silence. It has provoked rumours of pregnancy (I am too old, mentally not biologically), lottery winning (I wish!) and falling down a large pot hole in one of Sicily’s main motorways (I just invented that one actually). None of this is true, but… Drumroll…. I am at last…

The Villa of the Fashionista: Villa Sant’Isidoro in Aspra

I have spent eleven years being irritated by an 18th century villa near my house, because it blocks the middle of what could be a perfect road running right behind Casa Nostra into the nearest town. Despite its fancy gates, Villa Sant’Isidoro looked like a derelict building from the outside. I assumed it would fall down…

The Jewish Ghosts of Palermo

There was a Jewish presence in Sicily for centuries, possibly from before the birth of Jesus. The Jews were the only outsiders who made their homes in Sicily and became part of her population without invading. They simply turned up, fitted in and made themselves indispensable.   The Jews were the literate and educated members…

San Nicola l’Arena, a fancy Sicilian village!

San Nicola is a village in Trabia, a little way along the Sicilian coast from the one where I live, but a world apart. Where we have fish heads and peeling wooden boats, they have posh promenades and yachts in a marina.   We went there recently on a strange day which was so overcast…

The Vucciria Market in Palermo

I was bewildered recently to find an article online, published by Italy Magazine, purporting to be about the Vucciria Market in Palermo. It described the Vucciria as a flourishing food market full of exciting fruits, vegetables and meat and fish. It said visiting the Vucciria is one of the most exciting things to do in…

Who Cleans up after the Flower Festivals in Sicily?

Ever been to one of those Mediterranean Fiorata festivals and wondered who cleans up afterwards? The locals spend the night putting millions of flower petals, seeds, beans and nuts out all along the road to make lovely pictures and the have processions alongside them for people to admire the ephemeral art. Then the next day,…

A Time to Die – the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily

The history books about Sicily have little to say about the time of the Spanish rule. I find this strange, because the Spanish changed Sicily more than any other conqueror. The way they wanted this island is the way it still is: the Sicilians just cannot seem to shake them off.   Some history books…

What are these Africans doing in Sicily?

What effect are all the African migrants having on Sicily these days? Three documentary makers and a great many blog readers have asked me about African immigrants in Sicily, and about “cultural fusion”. Until now I had seen literally no sign of any impact at all; it was as if they were all invisible. One…

Sicilian Housewife gives her Husband two Black Eyes

Hubby and I had just flopped blissfully into bed from parenting-induced exhaustion. When our kiddo has a cold, he makes sure the suffering is dished out fairly and evenly among all persons present. I believe some people can finish running a marathon with more energy than we had after a day of making lemon and honey,…

The Garden of the Kolymbetra, Agrigento

Many people visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily and completely miss the luscious botanical garden called the Kolymbetra.   Originally, the Kolymbetra was an exquisite artificial lake, full of freshwater fish which were bred to eat, and a colony of swans. It was surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers, reflected in its…

Why were Ten Percent of Sicilian Babies Abandoned?

I was excited last month to get a pressie from one of the leading experts in Sicilian genealogy. A novella, set in olden-days Sicily. The author, Angelo Coniglio, usually helps people people in America trace their Sicilian roots, and turn up a thousand or so relatives who all want to feed them more than their…

The Valley of the temples, Agrigento, Sicily

I have made a slideshow of the excavated ancient Greek City of Akragas in the Province of Agrigento, Sicily. Nowadays it is called the Valley of the Temples, even though it is not in a valley. Founded as a Greek colony in the 7th century B.C., Agrigento became one of the leading cities in the Mediterranean…

Are you suffering from Tanorexia?

I recently found out there’s an illness called “tanorexia.” I thought I might suffer from it, being so unable to get a suntan. I went to the beach yesterday and everyone asked me “Is this the first time you’ve been to the beach this year?” Sicilians ask me that every time I go to the…

I Married a Pastafarian

I used to think Italians were Catholics but, since living here, I have found out they are devout Pastafarians.   If I make my Hubby go without eating pasta for an entire 24-hour period, he thinks he will die. He has been brainwashed since early childhood, you see. Forget vegetables! Italians are told that eating…

A Priceless Hoard of Sicilian Treasure

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…

Camping like Tarzan

You may have noticed I’ve fallen quiet lately. This was partly because I hoped you’d miss my witty tales of derring do around Sicily so much you would decide to buy my hilarious novel to fill the void. It was mainly because the electricity keeps getting cut off. The electricity has been cut off 42…

Book Review: The Dangerously Truthful Diary of A Sicilian Housewife

Originally posted on Sicily Inside & Out:
I have been following Veronica Di Grigoli’s blog for a few years now, laughing along at the Sicilian Housewife’s  struggles and humorous confusion associated with day-to-day life in Sicily as an expat. Now the blog has become a wonderfully polished and hilarious laugh-out-loud-belly-laughing-thigh-slapping book and I cannot resist expressing…