Our Thing

It would be impossible for me to write about my travels in Sicily without a mention of their most famous export. Or perhaps as we shall see it also falls under the category of import. I'm talking about the Mafia of course and let me be clear from the outset that this a personal reflection; … Continue reading Our Thing

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Excursion to Vigàta

I've referred in earlier Italian posts to my enjoyment of Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen detective novels, which through locating the protagonist in a different city for each story combine whodunnit, travelogue and social commentary.  In Blood Rain, Zen is posted to Catania in Sicily, where the rivalries of different crime families and darker political forces combine to … Continue reading Excursion to Vigàta

Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

...was my favourite artistic experience of my recent trip to Rome, where a Hokusai exhibit was consigned to the basement gallery of the Ara Pacis museum.  Apologies if you've arrived here expecting some new insights into Japanese woodblock printing; I chose the title because I was constantly reminded of the collection as I drove around … Continue reading Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji

Son of Janus

In one of my Genovan posts I casually mentioned the city's name being derived from Janus.  This is far from certain as there are other theories about the origins of the name (including the Italian word for knee!), but the presence of the great statue in the Palazzo Bianco was enough to convince me of … Continue reading Son of Janus

Kephaloídion

Before I began my rudimentary Italian lessons online I'd never heard of Cefalù, yet it is one of the most popular holiday resorts in Sicily.  Perhaps my apathy towards beach holidays is at fault.  In any event when I arrived there in late March, the island was still at the mercy of "The Beast from … Continue reading Kephaloídion

Needles and Pins

I can't recall whether it was on University Challenge or some less august programme, but I recently heard the following question asked: Where in the world will you find the most Egyptian obelisks outside of Egypt? The answer came to me immediately (and not entirely because I've been playing Assassin's Creed Origins of late), but because I've … Continue reading Needles and Pins

My Name is Nobody (Enna IV)

And so as the two floats have been escorted to the cathedral with a funeral march and choral accompaniments at 7.00pm we are ready for the procession to begin. The robes for the oldest confraternity of SS Salvatore bear a red Maltese cross which suggests a link back to the crusades (this being the emblem … Continue reading My Name is Nobody (Enna IV)