450–500 grams of pasta, it can be either spaghetti or maccheroni (possibly Barilla or De Cecco brand)
Friday, 31 August 2007
450–500 grams of pasta, it can be either spaghetti or maccheroni (possibly Barilla or De Cecco brand)
double room: from euro 45 to max 70
single room : from euro 25 to max 35
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Sulphurous iodic bromine salt waters gush out at Acireale (at 22°C), at Alì Terme (at Marino at 39.5°C and at Granata Cassibile at 46.5°C), at Termini Imerese (at 43°C) and at Sciacca (at 55.4°C); alkaline at Calatafimi-Segesta (at 52°C); muddy alkaline phosphate salty at Castellamare del Golfo (at 44.1°C): therapeutic recommendations include treatment for diseases of the skin, locomotive and respiratory system. At Montevago, the magnesium calcium sulphate water (at 39°C) is recommended for diseases of the locomotive and respiratory system. At Terme Vigliatore, the water of the Source of Venus at 32.6°C is also recommended for diseases of the liver, biliary ducts and digestive system. The acid radioactive waters of Vulcano are also recommended to treat articular rheumatism and arthritis while the baths in Pantelleria have an extraordinary energising effect. All the hot spring facilities also offer other wellness and beauty cures and treatments (including cosmetic massages, kinesi and hydrokinesitherapy, fitness and anti-stress programmes), and are equipped with hot spring pools and playgrounds for children. At Acireale, the Santa Venera Hot Springs holds classical music and jazz concerts, theatre and dance shows in the summer.
Sunday, 26 August 2007
While words can make up almost everything, images cannot lie : There's nothing better than checking out your future Sicilian destination by browsing on our media session on your brand new YouTube channel Siciliamo2See.
You can also contribute to the growing of our Siciliamo2See media collection by sending your videos to : email@example.com
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Thursday, 16 August 2007
From the novel "Cane di terracotta" (The Terracotta Dog) by Andrea Camilleri
The tour continues towards the Botanical Gardens, passing near Palazzo Steri.
Line A - 10:00am to 1:00pm, every 60 minutes
Line B - 2:00pm to 5:00pm, every 60 minutes
April to October
Line A - 9:30am to 6:30pm, every 30 minutes
Line B - 1:00pm to 6:00pm, every 60 minutes
November to December
Line A - 10:00am to 1:00pm, every 30 minutes
Line B - 2:00pm to 5:00pm, every 60 minutes
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
17) Lick an ice cream in Sicily : So overrun are we by the choc-chip-fudge-crunch-style American ice creams that it is easy to forget what the real stuff tastes like. The ices at Corrado Costanzo in Noto, Sicily, are arguably the best you can find anywhere in the world. Mandarin, made with Sicilian oranges, is probably the most in-demand flavour at this ice-cream and pastry shop but try also mulberry and the jasmin sorbet that's made with flowers picked in the evening when they are at their most fragrant. Chunky Monkey eat your heart out. · Corrado Costanzo, Via Spaventa 7, Noto, Sicily (00 39 931 835 243)
Sunday, 12 August 2007
The fresh aroma of watermelon in this Isabella candle from Tocca hits you unexpectedly. Mysterious and intriguing, like a young Sicilian beauty, Isabella evokes legends of lost sailors in the Southern Mediterranean seas.
To celebrate the book's launch, Giorgio Armani is hosting an exhibition and cocktail party on June 26, during Milan Men's Fashion Week, right after Armani's Spring 2008 Fashion Show. The book will go on sale on June 27 at Armani stores. It looks like it will be a wonderful "coffee table book." A must-buy for every Sicily lover.
The designer, whom men turn to for that perfect suit, calls the current trend a "restored discipline of form" and looks to Sicily for inspiration.
"Sicily is part of a world I've always loved," Armani, who has a summer home on the island of Pantelleria, told reporters.
Armani highlights, in his collection presented Tuesday, Mediterranean mystery, from the salty sexiness of a fisherman to the genteel sophistication of Sicilian nobility. Symbols such as volcanoes, temples and mosaics were projected on a screen at the end of the runway.
Armani is also hosting an exhibit at his headquarters of photos from a coffee table book "Shot in Sicily" by Vanity Fair fashion director Michael Roberts, published in conjunction with the designer.
Jackets with a classic cut and a thin lapel are often paired with Armani's new shirt-vest, sleeveless but with a generous cowl collar. Most trousers have a casual cut. There were few shorts.
Many of the models sported tussled hair styles, like hair blown by the wind during a fishing expedition.
The only sharp note of the collection was the pointy-toed soft loafer in showy python leather. The same snakeskin was also used for traditional sneakers.
Until Armani's dip into that part of the Mediterranean, Dolce & Gabbana seemed to have the exclusive on Sicilian style, particularly with Domenico Dolce drawing inspiration from his years growing up as a child near Palermo.
This time round the designing duo set aside Sicilian lore to concentrate on prosaic heavy metal — as in nuts and bolts, bought in a hardware store and stitched on to bleached denim by the hundreds.
Far from hard feelings, Domenico welcomed Armani's fascination with his homeland. "Sicily belongs to everybody," Domenico said after the show.
If Armani stayed away from the tough guys, Frida Giannini for Gucci resurrected the Hollywood versions: John Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon and Italian favorite Marcello Mastroianni. Her Monday evening show spoke of a 1950's bad boy lover from his checkered suit to his sporty cap and super pointy-toed shoes.
As is usual with Giannini (who also does Gucci's womenswear) the core of the collection was a class act — couture-cut suits, with a close fitting jacket and slim trouser, and a series of luxurious tuxedo jackets with glittering embroidery. For those looking for something farther out, there were snakeskin bomber jackets and footwear dipped in silver.
Fendi, and its second-generation designer Sylvia Venturini Fendi, courted a latter-day dandy on Tuesday. This gent likes his wardrobe to fit with pajama-like softness in styles ranging from cotton Bermudas to a see-through nylon pullover or an embroidered leather jacket — all in pastel shades.
Wherever he goes the Fendi boy takes his new bag with him. Simply called "shopping bag" fashioned in leather, cotton or straw intertwined to create a myriad of Fendi logos, the bag is sure to be coveted by the ladies as well.
Later Tuesday, Calvin Klein, designed by Italian Italo Zucchelli, presented a collection based on sportswear, a department virtually ignored in this round of preview showings which have been bent on a return to dressing up.
The jumpsuit — sure to be a popular item next summer judging by the many versions presented this week — played heavily in this show geared to American style. While the work pants were raised to fashion heights in black leather or fancy pearl gray — the symbol of sophistication — the tuxedo was brought down to earth in plain old khaki cotton.
The male sandal, dubbed by some the 'mandal' is the favorite footwear for next summer. Thonged or strapped, in leather or metal, it showed up almost everywhere during the five-day preview showings which ended Wednesday.
As if summing it all up, Byblos on Wednesday morning offered up a sandal so complicated it should come with instructions. Made up of shin guards, leather straps, thongs and open toed knee socks it combines to look like footwear for a latter-day centurion.
At-home trattorias are not the insular tradition they used to be in Sicily. What began decades ago as lunch counters for blue-collar workers, usually started by their wives at home, are spreading to garages and empty houses — and they are becoming increasingly popular with young Sicilians and businessmen, who come for the laid-back atmosphere, low prices and arguably the best food in Sicily.
The amateur chefs are cautiously opening their doors to the public, and their menus are expanding, too, though not by much. They are still open only for lunch (about 12:30 to 2 p.m.), prices are remarkably cheap (pasta is usually under 3 euros, about $4 at $1.38 to the euro), and the recipes were handed down from the chef's grandmother. A click more relaxed than standard trattorias, these places have the air of an old-fashioned speakeasy — the proprietor might sleep in the back room, and the entrance is purposely hard to find, with unmarked doors, few signs and no advertising.
And because the places are not entirely legal, the would-be restaurateurs don't have to worry about things like workplace insurance, smoking laws, liquor licenses or even taxes. “Most of these places pay protection money to the Mafia,” Emanuele said. “They just want to serve good food to their regulars and keep their heads down.”
Well, that and watch soccer. A few days later, Emanuele and I walked into La Rosa Nero, or the Pink Black — a small, free-standing concrete hut in the middle of the quiet, dusty Piazzetta della Api. On a Saturday afternoon last January, the scene inside was another story. Two small rooms, painted pink and black, were crammed with flimsy plastic tables and crowded with groups of men hunched over bowls of steaming pasta, plates of fried calamari and small cups of red wine. Their eyes were fixed on the television — Palermo versus Lazio, and Palermo was losing. Shouts and jeers filled the small trattoria. There wasn't an empty seat in the house.
Mr. Balestreri added that this used to be a taverna — a hall where men drank grappa until sunrise. Then, one summer about 40 years ago, he rolled a barbecue grill onto the driveway and started cooking meat. Next thing he knew, he had a trattoria.
Despite the chilly weather, most patrons were sitting at plastic tables on the driveway, now a patio. We sat down and listened to the menu. Moments later, an antipasto of olives, sardines, tomatoes and capers, drizzled in olive oil and coarse grains of salt, arrived on a worn block of wood. For pasta, we had spaghetti with baby shrimp, mussels, rough-cut garlic and spicy red pepper flakes. We washed it down with chilled red wine and watched the lunch crowd ramble in — young suntanned couples, gray-haired men with callused hands, and teenage boys with greasy hair and baggy jeans.
Then Padre Aldo re-emerged, holding two swordfish steaks. He slapped them on the grill and started calling out the day's menu over the hiss of the barbecue. A few moments later, he brought us two plates of spada alla palermitana, or swordfish Palermo-style — lightly breaded with a few drops of olive oil and a fat lemon wedge.
The three courses and a bottle of wine came out to 20 euros. As we walked away, Aldo called out from the searing iron grill: “You never asked why they call me Padre Aldo. It's because they think I'm Jesus — my food is that good.”
Saturday, 11 August 2007
He writes ...
Throughout the centuries Stromboli has taken on connotations of evil, and has been likened by historic nautical correlations to a lighthouse. From the dawns of time it lit up the way for sailors of the Tyrrhenian Sea, including myself. Its charm survives despite a variety of events that in recent times have brought it under the spotlight again. The same fascination that it exuded in remote 1949, set off the “war of volcanoes”: a conflict of pure passion, one that had nothing to do with geological issues – only exquisitely human ones.
You see we weren't staying in five-star luxury in Taormina, Sicily's celebrity mecca, but in a simple agriturismo in the sleepy north-west. It was lovely, with stunning views across the bay, and fantastic food, but it wasn't glitzy or glamorous by any stretch.
Brad Pitt had stayed at the Agriturismo Tenute Plaia while filming Ocean's Twelve at the Tonnara di Scopello, a disused tuna fishery set in a ridiculously picturesque cove a mile or two up the road. The rest of the cast, including Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney, had dinner at the hotel, but only Brad had spent the night. Perhaps the lack of spa, butlers, helicopter pad and marble-clad interiors had put the other stars off. But we thought it was near perfect.
On our first night we had sat on the terrace working our way through dish after dish of anti-pasti - rissotto balls, octopus salad, slivers of rare beef and tiny squares of bread with melted mozzarella. Next came pasta with olive oil, pine nuts and mackerel, then grilled fish with lemon and garlic. Later Ignacio, our waiter, offered to drive us in to Scopello, a hillside village with a fountain and 13th-century walled square where we sat under a vast eucalyptus drinking grappa.
We were on the edge of the Zingaro Nature Reserve, which covers seven kilometres of spectacular coastline, so could walk off our dinner the next day. The path follows the coast, giving tantalising views of sandy coves and bays, the sea so clear you can make out individual rocks on the sea bed. Hot and sweaty after a three-hour walk, we tired of just looking at the beach and veered off the path to dip our feet in the deliciously cool water.
Scopello was just the starting point of our holiday, a brief taste of Sicily, before we moved on to Marettimo, the most remote and mountainous of the Egadi, a trio of islands an hour's boat ride from Trapani. Though the Egadi are just as beautiful as the north-west, they lack the necessary polish to attract Hollywood's elite. Favignana, the largest of the Egadi, has one chichi hotel (Albergo Egadi), but on Levanzo and Marettimo the choice is between fishermen's houses, pensiones or basic apartments.
But worrying about what to do is sort of missing the point. You don't come to Marettimo to race round the sights (there aren't any) or try a dozen different watersports, as there are none of those either, unless you count exploring the island's many caves by fishing boat or kayak. You come to enjoy breathtaking views of the craggy coastline, pine-covered peaks and to swim in crystal-clear sea. As we learned pretty quickly, the real joy of Marettimo is shifting down several gears and slipping into its gentle, soporific pace.
After breakfast among the olive and lavender trees at the Residence, we'd amble down to the harbour to see what the fishermen had brought in. Their cute blue and white boats looked like they'd been planted there to blend artfully with their blue and white houses, but they were working boats. One look at the catch in the morning told you what you'd be eating that night. Snapper, John Dory or calamari came grilled or fried and served with salad or, north African style, with cous cous, pine nuts, raisins and saffron. The fish that weren't sold straight from the boat were packed on to carts and wheeled round the village to cries of "pesce fresco".
In the afternoons we'd pack our beach bags and saunter down to the rocks near the Residence to soak up the sun and cool off in the sea. We nearly always had the beach to ourselves.
Come evening the empty village would start to fill up: women emerged from their homes to catch up on the day's gossip, kids raced round the shiny cobbled streets on bikes, and teenagers loitered outside La Scaletta eating brioche stuffed with ice-cream. After dinner we'd hit the bar in the romantic little square for an espresso or glass of Marsala. And then head back to the Residence under a starry sky, knowing that with no sights to see or activities to try, we'd be doing it all again tomorrow.
On other nights Fausto insisted on us joining him for dinner at the Residence. Our first al fresco meal was a giant pan of fish stew -a delicious feast of scarfolo, a spiny, red fish, cooked in onions, wine and tomatoes. Our host spoke no English but he'd roped in a friend to translate. As he guffawed at his own stories, his friend fussed around us grumbling that Fausto spoke too fast.
A few days into the holiday we decided we really ought to venture beyond the village. We had, after all, booked our trip through a walking specialist who had supplied us with a stack of idiot-proof maps. You can hike for hours across Marettimo but there's no need to feel guilty if you take a shorter route, as the views are just as spectacular. While other, older, guests at the Residence set off early for a full day's tramping, we took the easy - OK, lazy - option and followed the trail to El Castello, a ruined castle perched dramatically on a rock jutting out into the sea. On either side of the path were clumps of yellow and purple heather, so neat they looked like they'd been planted there by an expert gardener, and rosemary bushes that filled the warm air with their scent.
On another day we set out, accompanied by one of the village dogs, to Punta Campana, at 630m the second highest peak. In four hours we didn't see a soul. As we climbed, the path got narrower and rockier and at one point I was convinced we'd veered off it completely. Still, the dog knew exactly where he was going so we gave up on the map and followed him. On the way up, the air had been alive with the sounds of bees and birds, but up here there was silence. In the distance Favignano and Levanzo were swathed in mist, their peaks poking out of a blanket of white. The sea and sky were exactly the same shade of blue, making it impossible to find the horizon. We could just about make out the wash of the fishing boats. It was utterly peaceful.
The hydrofoil zips between Trapani on the main island and the Egadi trio four times a day, so it's easy to pop over to a neighbouring island. We passed a pleasant enough day on Levanzo on a tour to the Grotto del Genovese, reached by yet another stunning stretch of coast where seagull chicks were nesting among the wild flowers. Inside the grotto are drawings, thought to be around 10,000 years old, of bison and deer and men fishing for tuna.
The waters around the Egadi still teem with blue fin tuna , and the Mattanza, an ancient ritual where schools of tuna are rounded into increasingly smaller nets before being killed with spears, is still practised. It's a bloody spectacle and one we decided we could do without. We did eat tuna one night, though, when Fausto invited us back for dinner. Having taught himself how to prepare sushi, he was keen to show off his skill and served up melt-in-the-mouth tuna sushi, sashimi and sticky rice, all washed down with a hearty Sicilian red.
Fausto told us how long it had taken him to get used to life on Marettimo. After five years of running the Residence, he was only just beginning to be accepted into the community. I told him my Brad Pitt story, but he didn't seem very interested. I got the impression that, like the rest of the islanders, Fausto couldn't give a fig about celebrity gossip.
From the New York Times Gael Green writes :
My guy’s must-sees included the island’s usual wonders: Greek temples, Roman mosaics, Baroque cathedrals. I hungered to taste the mythic lemons, the capers of Pantelleria, the eggplant (in caponata and in spicy pasta alla Norma), the famous rolled-and-stuffed sardines a beccafico, Trapani’s seafood couscous, and, yes, I was primed to dare the spleen panini of Palermo.
It was an ideal moment to arrive: the week before Easter, when the country vibrates with pagan and religious rituals in every town and it’s still cool and green, fields wild with flowers before searing summer turns everything brown. Marzipan lambs grazed in every pasticceria window. By the time I’d tasted almond-paste goodies (an Arabic legacy) from every shop on Taormina’s main street, with a stop at the Greek theater, we’d had enough of the town’s tourist clots.
We headed toward Catania to meet friends at Sicilia in Bocca, hangout of actors and politicians, where at midnight on Palm Sunday a fisherman was just delivering a giant basslike spigola—still in rigor mortis, it was so fresh out of the sea. We ate crudi—raw gamberetti and neonata (baby anchovies)—and what the house does best, pasta, surprised to discover the Sicilian habit of grating pecorino on seafood pasta. (Toasted bread crumbs were the traditional and deliciously nutty sprinkle for our pasta con sarde—with sardines and wild fennel—in a region once too poor to even think of importing Parmigiano-Reggiano.) Next morning we lingered long enough to explore Catania’s rowdy fish market, stopping at Caffé Europa for a typical Sicilian breakfast: hazelnut gelato in a doughnutlike brioche.
Sicily is small, swiftly crisscrossed on the autostrada, letting you swing easily from the Greek-influenced eastern coast to the ancient ruins of Siracusa before settling into Palermo, as we did, using it as a home base for day trips and an occasional overnighter in our determination to feast and photograph.
Perhaps less-food-obsessed travelers would have skipped driving in torrential rain to the triangle of the towns Noto, Modica, and Ragusa. But then they would have missed Baroque architectural marvels built after the area was ravaged by earthquakes in 1693. And each town is also a food-lover’s imperative. Modica harbors Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, a chocolate shop dating from 1880 with a small museum. Easter celebrants had cleaned out the bakery, so we didn’t get to taste the eggplant-and-chocolate-filled half-moons (lucumie) or the beef-and-almond-paste-stuffed impanatigghe.
The daring and passion of Corrado Assenza at the surprisingly plain Caffé Sicilia made it worth a soaking mad-dash from the car park in nearby Noto. We sat for hours tasting cakes, puddings, flowery custards, candied fruits, Sichuan-pepper-spiked cookies, and exotic honeys (chocolate, basil, saffron). There was only time to sleep it off before hitting the road to the Ibla half of Ragusa and a tasting dinner, best of our stay, at Michelin-starred Il Duomo. Daring and obsessed as are all the best contemporary chefs, Ciccio Sultano plays with odd combinations of classic Sicilian ingredients in a tiny house with cherub sconces aimed at the vaulted ceiling, casting soft light on us below. A puddle of wild-apple purée comes with a warm tortino of the local cacciocavallo cheese. The stunning pungency of lemon salad cuts through the richness of lightly smoked pork from black pigs.
Settled into Palermo for a week, we spent mornings wandering through the legendary Vucciria market as well as our favorite, Ballaró, full of fussy shoppers. I bought peppered pecorino to take home for breakfast and stood in line at a cart for delicious innards stuffed into a crusty roll. When we’d walked enough to justify it, I’d buy a medium-size cup of bacia plus cioccolato under a drift of whipped cream at Stancampiano. At Antica Focacceria San Francesco, pani ca’ meusa, beef spleen stuffed into bread (plus an optional plop of ricotta), is dished up from a giant vat all day for local fans (I loved it, too). At Bye Bye Blues on a side street in nearby Mondello, we were surprised by the creativity in the kitchen and marveled at the delicious simplicity of raw fish with a ginger rice cake, layered anchovies and potato in caper sauce, and spaghetti with sea-urchin-and-fava purée.
From Palermo, it’s not far to the salt flats of Trapani to watch the spring tuna hunt (if you can take the gore) and to climb the medieval winding streets of Erice, a hilltop town overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. With so many tourists lined up to buy pastries from Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, a legend of Sicilian pastry, and a hokey donkey cart parked at the Norman castle above waiting to be photographed, it’s easy to dismiss Erice as slightly theme-park. So we were amazed at the good-natured welcome and smartly al dente ruffled ribbons of pasta in a meaty ragù at Ristorante Monte San Giuliano. Another evening, a new friend in Palermo, fourth generation of the Barbera olive-oil family, took us to Il Cortile, a small mom-and-pop trattoria in Custonaci near the sea, where we dined happily outdoors on the simplest, barely sauced pasta and boiled veal.
One morning we set out from Palermo for the 90-minute drive toward the middle of the island to sit in on the cooking class Anna Tasca Lanza gives in the charming tiled kitchen of the Casa Vecchie, overlooking her family’s sprawling Regaleali vineyard estate. A tireless champion of the island’s kitchen tradition in her many cookbooks, she shaped and fried arancine (rice balls), sautéed slivered artichoke for our pasta, and made creating individual cassatas look easy.
Tradition hits the fan at Il Mulinazzo, with its two Michelin stars, helmed by Nino Graziano, a veteran of several kitchens in France. It’s just south of Palermo in Villafrati, a quick drive for lunch. Even the tradizionale tasting menu shows off Sicilian cooking creatively rethought: elegant snapper tartare with oil and lemon on warm chickpea fritters, lasagnetta with sardines and wild fennel, almond couscous in a fish soup, rack of lamb with an asparagus zabaglione. Next day, I owed my guy a major Greek temple and an afternoon of mosaics.
With wide avenues lined with palm trees, stylish shops, restaurants and nightclub where everybody dresses up, Palermo transpires style from every angle.
Think of Palermo and its baroque, opulent fashion. People like Dolce & Gabbana, Marella Ferrera or Fulco di Verdura, who popularised the use of coloured stones in creations for clients like Greta Garbo and Coco Chanel.
Palermo is really "Cool". Not exactly in the Milanese way, but in that reflection of pomp and grandeur that is in the air and above all in the Palermitani themselves.
Still do not believe me?
Wander around Via Principe di Belmonte, a pedestrian area right in the commercial district. Or enjoy an aperitif at La Cuba inside Villa Sperlinga.
Tanned, graceful girls in stilettos and stylish handbags, men in dark colour suit with wide silky ties and sunglasses enjoys their aperitifs and coffee breaks at the pretty outdoor cafes.
These are not Mafiosi, they just love to dress well.
Fare bella figura, which roughly translates to "cutting a fine figure," endures as one of the highest Italian virtues, on a par with making a pilgrimage to the Pope. As the Sicilians say, L'onuri è fattu a li robbi, Honor is measured by your dress.
Yes folks, it is all about appearances here.
It wouldn't be fair to i Siciliani to say their obsession with clothing springs from narcissism. Elegance in Sicily shows civic altruism: you are prettifying the landscape for the delight of your fellow citizens. As the old Sicilian saying goes, Mancia a gustu tò, càusa e vesti a gustu d'àutru;
Eat to please yourself, but dress to please others....
Friday, 10 August 2007
Rule #8. What's a Stop Sign Between Friends?
This is a very important rule for you budding students of the art of true driving, so listen carefully and pay attention. Road signs in Sicily are better considered as "advisory". When in doubt, it is better to be polite and nice to your fellow drivers and let them pass regardless of what the road sign says. In fact, upon approaching an intersection where your opposing driver has a stop sign and needs to give way to you, rather than passing him by, allowing him to drive off when the road is safe and clear, isn't it far better to suddenly hit the brakes and stop for him? Not only will your confused opposing driver be appreciative and thankful, but you will also receive the thanks from the five other drivers behind you, who will no doubt be rushing to thank you personally, right after swapping their details with all the other cars they have just crashed into. This method is far more effective when used on the busier roads.
Rule 9#. Roundabout...what the!!!!
There are probably 5,000 roundabouts within the confines of greater Palermo, in fact you will most likely find them on every second or third road corner, but the amazing thing is that very few Palermitans have actually seen one, far less have driven one. This can be the only explanation upon witnessing a Palermo driver who approaches a roundabout as if it was something that landed from out of space. At first sight they immediately slam the brakes on, fearing that the roundabout was suddenly placed on the middle of the road where there was none before. Then as they enter the roundabout you see intense confusion and concentration on their face. "What the @$#% is happening here", you can see them mouth. "Do I drive faster, slower, how do I get out of here?". Often the best method as a student of Sicilian driving is to actually stop while in the roundabout. This is best because it gives you time to think about the way out and to just generally, take a break. When you feel a little more confident you can exit the roundabout, but please do so at either a very slow, snail-like pace, or driving like a man possessed (either extreme will suffice). Make sure you repeat this behaviour during every encounter with a roundabout.
Rule #10. Responsive Emergency Services.
The sound of the Italian language is often regarded by many as being like a song with its dulcet sweet tones and melodious rhythm. It is considered to be the language of love, of passion, of art and of everything beautiful. So to, the sound of the water and of the wind on the Sicilian island of Salina was famously recorded on a tape recorder by Massimo Troisi in the touching movie, Il Postino (The Postman), because it was the most beautiful and peaceful sound he had ever experienced. Beautiful and peaceful sounds are not to be found in the main cities of Palermo. But you will find noise. The only sound that has any rhythm or melody is the ambulance siren. There is an ambulance in full siren mode, passing every hour on any given road in Palermo. It is so frequent and regular (and indeed predictable) than whenever there is a car accident, no one feels the need to call an ambulance for the injured parties, as everyone knows that there is one "right around the corner". "Just as night follows day, and ambulance will pass this road in the next few minutes" - Old Sicilian Proverb
In fact many Sicilian families with very elderly grandparents living with them, often prefer to live as close to the main roads as possible in case their nonna or nonno needs emergency assistance. This is the practical side to Sicilians.
Street Food...Not Junk Food!
During Alice's first time in Sydney she asked me one night while we were out if we could go and buy some street food. While Sydney is a mecca for foodies it is not the first place that you would think of when experiencing a craving for street food. I think Alice realised that by the look on my face after she had asked me this. What I did not know at the time, but soon would upon my first trip to Sicily, is that Street Food in Sicily is another planet! Being halfway between Europe and Africa, and within sight of Asia, Sicily is the ultimate melting pot of culture and race.
The Cultural Melting Pot of Food
The Best of the Rest
There are other delights on offer too, Pane Penelle - bite sized snacks made from chickpea flour, Crocche - special fluffy potato filled puff balls, Pollanca - boiled corn (strictly speaking Pollanca is mainly sold on the beach which makes it beach food), Scaccio - very tasty tidbits made up of dried salted pumpkin seeds, chick peas and fresh pistacchios, Cedro (or Pipittuni in Sicilian) - oversized breed of lemon/limes with an edible, sweet skin combined with a slightly sour inside balanced with with a liberal dosage of Trapani Sea Salt for taste (again, mainly found on the beach), Panino con Salsiccia - you have heard of German sausage such at Bratwurst and so on...very tasty...but wait until you try the herbaceous Sicilian sausage, an exotic balance of gentle spice, aniseed with wild fennel flavour supported by a squeeze of fresh Sicilian lemon. Add this delight to a bread roll (a panino), and there you have it, a hot dog that tastes like no other hot dog you have ever tried.