We were at My sister-in-law’s in Sciacca, on Sicily’s south coast, last summer when a friend turned up in swimming trunks, carrying a bucket. He had just come back from the beach with a ridiculously large quantity of sea urchins. Several bucketfulls, in fact. So he decided to give a bucket of them to us. … More Sicilian sea urchins
I wouldn’t normally share photos taken in a supermarket. In fact, I wouldn’t normally take photos in a supermarket. But Sicilian supermarkets are different. First I got distracted at the fish counter. Then I couldn’t decide which cheese to choose. Moving in closer didn’t help. By the time we got onto the salami I was … More A trip to Sicily and it’s Rather Fishy
I have just published a new book about living in Sicily. It includes all the usual adventures, among them the time we were in an earthquake, some thoughts on the Sicilian language and whether it will survive, and a debate on the fact that in Sicily you can buy really, I mean really really large … More A new book about Sicily, Earthquakes and Pasta for Dogs
I wrote a few days ago about Villa Niscemi, once home to Fulco Di Verdura, the Sicilian duke whose memoir so enchanted me. As an adult he moved to New York and became a jeweller. His dazzling artistic legacy has Sicily in every jewel. First let’s look at this elephant: He was inspired by the iconic … More Sicily in Jewels: The precious legacy of Duke Fulco Di Verdura
What kind of Christmas would it be for a Sicilian family without playing riotous card games amid a heap of pistachio nut shells? Join in the tradition this year with some bargain stocking-filler gifts. The bestselling pocket edition This book gives very clear instructions for twelve Sicilian card games, with photographic illustrations. It is the … More Christmas stocking filler: A simple guide to classic Sicilian card games
One day strolling through Palermo – OK, staggering in the heat – I chanced to notice a pair of gates which felt very familiar. I had never seen them before, yet I knew them so well. I knew there was going to be a false river inside them inhabited by expensive imported ducks. So we … More Villa Niscemi, Palermo – the most lavish palace in all Sicily
THE GODMOTHER THE SICILIAN HOUSEWIFE DIARIES Volume 1 The journal of an English woman handling parenthood, the Mafia and a Sicilian mother-in-law, all at once. (And yes, that is myself on the cover.) ‘The Godmother’, the first book in the series, introduces the formidable mother-in-law and godmother to seven children who dominates family life. To … More My new book out now – THE GODMOTHER
I dropped in on an old friend, Mr. Cake, in his place of work recently. He owns and runs a cafe bar with his brother, which is always mouth-wateringly stocked with seasonal Sicilian pastries and delicacies, mainly baked by their elderly dad. As you can imagine, I enjoy dropping in on them very much. Since … More Yes I speaking the English
Back in the summer we dashed to Sicily to empty out our beautiful house. I am heartbroken to say we can’t afford to keep it, now that we’re settled in England and paying for a home here. If anyone is interested in buying my house in Sicily have a look here, and contact … More Sicilian Ceramics in Palermo
I always leave Christmas shopping till the last minute. When I am in Sicily, it’s because the cafes subversively waft smells out to distract everyone into eating this lot: When I am in England, it’s because of this: In the end, I always resort to last-minute shopping online. So if you’re in the same boat, … More Last minute Christmas Shopping?
I was very excited when Sicilian American film director Mark Spano asked if he could interview me for a documentary he was making, called Reimagining Sicily. I was particularly impressed when he managed to book nearby 17th century Villa Palagonia to do the filming; for this gorgeous villa is owned by 32 different people, none … More Reimagining Sicily – a new documentary (featuring me!)
All the cathedrals across Europe were built in the space of about 200 years, at the height of the crusades. They look expensive, but they were actually money machines. Whilst there may have been an element of religious fervour to them, they were also a way of demonstrating power to potential enemies and the illiterate … More Cathedral Building… or was it Economy Building?
This post isn’t anything too amazing; it’s just a few photos of my favourite plants in my garden in Sicily. OK, actually it is fairly amazing that I never killed them! There are strelizia from our neighbour’s garden, roses, pink bougainvillea, money plants and lots of other succulents taken as cuttings from friends’ gardens, aloes, … More The Sicilian Garden
Every parish in Sicily has a festival once a year to celebrate the saint in whose honour the church is dedicated. We happened to be in Noto a good few years back during the festival at the Cathedral, which is dedicated to Saint Nicolas (Basilica Cattedrale di San Nicola). We began the day with the classic … More A Festival in Noto