June 5, 2014
Have you seen the super-romantic Il Postino (The Postman)? This is where it was shot, 20 years ago.
The tiny port of Pollara on the islet of Salina, Aeolian Islands, Sicily
The film is fiction: it’s all about falling madly in love: a simple, shy Sicilian postman wins the heart of his voluptuous true love with a little help from Pablo Neruda and Neruda’s seductive poetry.
But reality is just as fine. In November 2005, Libby Lush, a Sydney native who was on holiday from her job as a physiotherapist was traveling sola on the island. (Sola–Did you catch that, ladies???)
In Libby’s words:
Getting off the hydrofoil alone, with nowhere to stay and no contacts, there was the strangest sensation of ‘returning home’. Something about the place felt so familiar and comfortable. Salina had a magical, mystical and romantic feel to it. A full moon added to the atmosphere. There seemed to be more stars in the sky here than I’d ever seen before… The island was peaceful, quiet, slow moving, yet definitely not boring. As if it belonged to another era but lacking nothing. The locals were warm, fun loving, generous, tolerant and hospitable. They seemed to have found the balance for a perfect life style with family life, social interaction, work and play all in harmony.
Libby was sitting at the bus stop one day when handsome Santino roared up and offered her a ride. How could she refuse? But that was the extent of her “holiday romance,” and when Libby left the island after 5 days, she thought her days there were over. However….
Libby and Santino with the village of Pollara in the background.
As fate would have it my next visit to Salina would be six months later, followed by another trip that Christmas. Destino! Santino and I were married on Salina in November 2007 on another mild mid- November day. A perfect day.
Libby has learned perfect Italian, and she’s exchanged a busy urban life for a slow rural one.
Everyday seems to bring a new surprise. Salina is a place that enters your heart and soul and never leaves. The mistake would have been not to board the hydrofoil on that mid-November day in 2005.
She now spends her days “cooking, sweeping, writing and living ‘la dolce vita’ on the island of Salina” with Santino.
There is a difference between existing in a place and living in a place. (Elizabeth Lush)
Thank you, Libby, for the inspiring story of your life.
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