Renaissance Under Way in the Valley of the Temples

An ancient terrain, rich in biodiversity and even richer in its cultural heritage. Agrigento, Girgenti in Sicilian, and Akragas to the Greeks, when it was a major city and colony of Magna Graecia, may have lost its former glory, but a renaissance is under way. The remains of the seven temples, with Concordia (440-430 BC)…

Slow Food Sicily

Slow Food Sicily has been growing steadily in recent years as an alternative to fast food and protecting ‘at risk’ unique food produce on the island. As part of the international Slow Food movement it promotes ‘good, clean and fair’ food. At Slow Food’s Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto at the end of October,…

A Sicilian Food Journey

Britain has long had a fascination with Italy. Arguably, this reached its peak in the expeditions of the Victorian and Edwardian travellers, writers and artists, among them John Ruskin, George Gissing, the Brownings, Norman Douglas and Edward Lear, as they set sail in pursuit of culture and civilisation. As John Pemble’s book The Mediterranean Passion…

Leonardo Sciascia (1921-1989)

  Leonardo Sciascia was one of Italy’s greatest writers, but he will probably be best remembered for what he brought to an understanding of Sicily, where he was born and lived most of his life. It is his articulation of Sicilian identity and the Sicilian predicament, including the impact of the mafia, through his novels…

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896-1957)

Everyone visiting Sicily for the first time should read Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), for what it says about Sicilian history and identity. The strength of Lampedusa’s novel, published only after his death, is the way in which wider themes are addressed in a beautifully crafted narrative. Set at the time of the Risorgimento, the pains…

Mimmo Pintacuda – The Real ‘Alfredo’*

Arriving in Bagheria, a small town 20 km from Palermo, later than expected, I set off in what I thought was the direction of my hotel, only to find that in pitch darkness I had completed a full circle. Exasperated, I inquired at a nearby petrol station where I was told by the attendant that…

Sicilian Films Premiered in London

The Riverside Studio, shortly to be closed for a three year refurbishment, hosted packed premieres for The Mafia Only Kills in the Summer and The Voice of Peppino Impastato at the end of 24 July; two films which, in different ways, reflect original, Sicilian resistance to the mafia. In contrast to the often romanticised dramatisations…