July 19, 2010
Sicilians love their mare in summer. There’s been a mass exodus from the inland baroque towns; everyone’s hit the beach. The odd thing is that when Sicilians “go on vacation,” they travel en bloc, with all their friends and neighbors. So Ragusani move 15 kilometers away to the summer village of Marina di Ragusa for July and August; Modicani move to Marina di Modica; people from Noto go to Marina di Noto—you get the picture.
“Why would you want to go on holiday to a place where you don’t know anybody?” asks a Ragusan friend when I express surprise at this herd behavior.
Those who can’t afford a second home in Marina pitch tents on the beach and mingle with extended families from sunup to sundown, gobbling up gelato and platefuls of pasta alla Norma. Just before the Festival of San Giovanni Battista on August 29, everyone migrates back to Ragusa, as if a mighty shepherd is herding them all back at once.