November 20, 2009
A Sicilian couple I know—both with espresso-bean eyes and hair black as night—have a young daughter, Ottavia, with yellow curls and sky-blue eyes. “She just popped out Norman,” says her mom. “We were shocked.”
According to Vincenzo Salerno in Best of Sicily Magazine, medieval Normans—mainly knights and soldiers—came to Sicily between 1061 and 1160. Most married Sicilian women.
A thousand years later their blue-eyed genes still pop out like Cracker Jack surprises in the Sicilian population.
I spotted this signore in a hole-in-the-wall barbershop in Ibla. When his Norman eyes met mine, I half-swooned and half-expected to see a suit of armor hanging from the coat rack behind him.