Popping Out Norman

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.


4 comments to Popping Out Norman

  • Joanne Stinson

    Hi Jan,
    I am all Sicilian. All my grandparents came from the Aragona and Cannicatti (Agrigento) area. My mother’s father and my father’s mother both had blue eyes. Both had blondish hair.
    I enjoy your stories! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • Jann

      Hi Joanne–it’s great to hear from you. I love the Agrigento area (hope you’ve been able to visit!) Thanks so much for reading & commenting!

  • deborah

    Love this story–I have been trying to research a bit of the history of redheads in Sicily! My father is Sicilian–a”norman” blonde hair- blue eyed–and I have the golden red hair!

  • Great story! You can imagine how I felt when my son popped out with golden red hair! (but his zia and several other zia’s in the family do as well, so maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised!)

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