My other car’s a Fiat Punto

What do Sicilians drive when they’re not driving their Fiat Puntos? This. It’s called a Carro Siciliano (Sicilian carriage) and dates back to… oh, goodness knows how long ago. Each successive invading culture added some extra detail and decoration to it: at a glance you can easily estimate how many times Sicily has been invaded!…

A bird’s eye view of Piazza San Domenico, Palermo

I took this photo from the rooftop café of La Rinascente, a swanky department store in central Palermo. This is PIAZZA SAN DOMENICO. On top of the giant column stands the virgin Mary. The piazza takes its name from the Chiesa San Domenico, which is out of frame to the left. The street with red…

Sicilian Electrical Wiring and other Health and Safety Issues

I’ve been meaning to write about Sicilian electricians for a while. I needed to accumulate a good set of photos, though, as pictures speak louder than words. Sometimes, in fact, they scream while shuddering all over, with their hair standing up on end, fizzing with 240 volts. While I was taking this photo, the resident of…

Photographic talent? …Or maybe not?

In my previous post, I described our weekend visit to Tindari to see the Black Madonna. In compliance with my husband’s Great Economy Drive, a restaurant lunch was forbidden, so we had a picnic here: “This is so romantic!” declared my son, who is 6 years old. He took that photo of the sea (above), and…

The Arabic Cathedral of Monreale

Just outside Palermo, in the charming little town of Monreale, lies possibly the most beautiful – and certainly the most exotic – cathedral in Europe. Monreale Cathedral was built by King William II of Sicily in 1174. The architecture is Moorish Arabic, the interior is late Byzantine, and the layout is a fusion of Catholic…

The Villa of the Monsters in Bagheria

We have a very bizarre tourist attraction in our town. Villa Palagonia has been nicknamed the Villa of the Monsters locally for centuries. It is absolutely crammed with caricature stone sculptures of bizarre creatures, deformed little men, goblins, and ugly hybrid “manimals”. It was visited in the 18th century by multi-talented German writer, politician, lawyer and…