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…

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…

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…

Saint Benedict: Black Celebrity Healer, Chef and possibly Lion Tamer

Saint Benedict, known as Benedetto il Moro or Benedict the Moor, was born to two black African slaves in Messina, Sicily in 1524. He was also variously called niger, which means black, and ethiops, which means Sub-Saharan African. If I know the Sicilians, they probably called him “Chinese” half the time, too – they’re pretty vague…

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…

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…

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…

Knickers and Pants

I have discovered that my new-ish digital camera has much more memory than my vintage, steam-powered computer. This means I cannot upload all my lovely photos of Siracusa until I get a new one, because plugging the camera into the USB port made the computer have a kind of epileptic siezure. Since this situation is…

The Do-Good Brothers

I had to have a little operation recently. It was preceded by some blood tests in the nearest hospital, called Ospedale Buccheri La Ferla Fatebene Fratelli. The Sicilians are good at coming up with catchy names that way. Buccheri and La Ferla are the names of the founders. The Fatebene Fratelli translates as “The Do Good…

A Narrow escape from the Fashion Police

In Italy, it is against the law to emerge in public with bad hair. Italians remain housebound on bad hair days. In the summer, having white skin is also considered a serious fashion gaffe. There is simply no excuse. Strangers repeatedly threaten to report phosphorescent Celtic people like me to the fashion police. Sometimes gangs…

Seven Top Tips: How to cook pasta like a real Sicilian Godmother

When I got married, I was given a 35 person dinner service which had belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Not just a 35 person dinner service, but a nine-course 35 person dinner service. “I’m sorry a couple of items have got broken over the years,” my mother-in-law, The Godmother, apologised. A couple of pieces missing? Did…

31 Mafiosi Arrested in my Town Yesterday

They arrested 31 mafiosi in my little town yesterday, and two of them were neighbours of mine. The newspapers are saying that this has practically demolished the Mafia in this town. Personally I am not so sure. Fighting the Mafia is like trying to eliminate cockroaches. You can stamp on a couple but there are…

Sicily v. England

Today’s fabulous guest post is from one of my favourite bloggers, Pecora Nera  (which means Black Sheep). I think of him as my male counterpart, as he is an Englishman married to a Sicilian lady, known only as Mrs. Sensible. I sometimes wonder which of us is more bonkers. ***** I received an e mail…

Sicilian Enigmas part 1: Road Signs

Sicilians often complain that their road signs are ridiculous, hopelessly misleading or simply wrong.  They are probably just using this as an excuse for their wild driving. Or are they? This one got me so confused I even swerved onto the wrong side of the road.  Is there an underground cinema? A tiny weeny cinema…

A sing-song at Segesta

Today, dear readers, I proudly offer you a guest post written by an actual, professional journalist!  His own blog, DorsetDaze, features his witty writing and gorgeous photographs. Here, he describes his trip to the ancient Greek temple at Segesta.  His day involved the classic Sicilian blend of sublime and ridiculous, in equal measure. ***** ACCORDING…

Ten ways to tell you’ve been living in Sicily too long

1. You wear an anorak when it is 25 degrees centigrade and you don’t even feel hot. 2. You sometimes give your child an octopus to eat for dinner. 3. Whenever you get in a draught you just KNOW you will have a cervicale the next day. This is an exclusively Italian type of headache…

Blessed by a Pregnant Nun at Sciacca Carnival

The Carnival of Sciacca in Sicily may not be as famous as the Venice or Rio carnivals, but it is just as much fun. The day started with such heavy rain there was even talk of calling it all off, but in the end the rain stopped and the festivities started. All the children were…

The Ten Commandments of Sicilian Driving

1. Thou shalt not double park if thou can find somewhere to triple park instead. 2. Thou shalt not, never, ever stop to let anyone out of a side road in front of thee, unless thou fancy them a lot. 3. Thou shalt always leave rosary beads dangling distractingly off thine rear view mirror to…

Happy Valentine’s Day with some Kinky Chocolate

Sicilians are a romantic lot and they love St. Valentine’s Day. Rather than give their girlfriend sweets or champagne, most Sicilian men are more likely to take her out for a delicious organic Italian ice-cream. What better way to wish all my readers Happy Valentine’s Day than by sharing this marvellous advertisement I saw in our local…

Does your child know more than you do?

Mine does. He’s eight. People often comment on how much he knows about animals and their evolution. A few days ago I was watching a film with him in which this bizarre little animal appeared: “That’s a honey badger,” he told me immediately. “They love eating honey but they sometimes attack lions to steal their…

Christmas in Sicily with Santa’s Smallest Elf

We celebrated Christmas this year with roughly forty people. I could not count accurately as they were Sicilian, therefore unable to keep still. There were four different pasta courses. One was spaghetti with olive oil, lemon zest and cheese, served in a bowl carved out of a whole Parmesan cheese. Another pasta course was with…

Dancing in the Street with a Homeless Nigerian

I ended up dancing in the street with a Nigerian tramp yesterday. (Tramp means “homeless person”, in case you’re American.) How does a Sicilian Housewife end up acting so weird? Well, it started with some Christmas shopping. I find this activity traumatic, for three reasons. 1. Almost all toys in Sicily are made in China…

The Signs of Maturity

Today I was waiting at the traffic lights and a truly gorgeous dark-eyed hunk of a young man stopped half way across the road, bent down to look at me through the windscreen, and gave me a very friendly wave and a dazzling smile. Then off he dashed, his golden-brown biceps clenching in the autumn…

The Hanging Gardens of Bagheria

The legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. They were supposedly created by the Emperor Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon, for his Persian wife, Queen Amytis. We have a hanging garden in my home town in Sicily, too, and this post has photos of it. The…

The Sicilian Art of Arranging Yourself

Have you ever wondered how you’d cope if you were stranded in the wilderness with nothing useful at all? Tom Hanks in “Castaway” lived on a desert island for several years, using an ice-skate as a multi-purpose cutting tool, part of a heinously tasteless party dress as a fishing net, and a football with a face…

Water water everywhere… and all in the wrong place

Sicily sits on the edges of two completely different weather systems. The edges overlap. What this means in practise is that Sicily gets way more weather than other places. This weekend, for example, Africa blew the Scirocco wind at us. This starts in the Sahara desert, builds up to 150 degrees centigrade (I never exaggerate)…