Sicilians Hit the Beach

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.

Sicilian Couple at Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Father and Son at Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Life Guards at Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Man at Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Men at Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

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9 comments to Sicilians Hit the Beach

  • oops typo! *wear

    LOL Yes, thankfully. I don’t know if I could walk around on the beach with a man at my side with a bikini bottom. Maybe it’s just me though because it’s not common hear. Some of my friends who are Russian used to wear speedos. One eventually dove on the diving team of the university I studied at. He and his friends always said, “Real men wear speedos!” LOL Too bad there isn’t one of those smiley faces with the rolling eyes.

  • My boyfriend is Italian, born and raised, and still lives there. He thankfully does not where a speedo. However, I can see why they might want to wear speedos…. Men need to have a nice tan too. 🙂 LOL

  • Dennis Berry

    Glad to see boxer trunks. My first trip to Cefalu in 1988 i was the only one wearing boxers on a beach of what seemed liked 1000’s. I bought a black speedo and became a real italian.

    • Jann

      Dennis, funny you should mention the boxer vs speedo thing. You’ve inspired me–along with a few emails I’ve gotten–to post something about Sicilians in Speedos in the near future.

  • To enjoy the beach life so close and yet another world away is hard to imagine in arid Santa Fe! I was struck by this sort of culture in New Zealand as well, where nearly every family owns a “bach” or beach house; sometimes, as you say, just a tent or trailer, and yet an integral part of summer holidays. You obviously went to take these fine photos…is day tripping to the beach a common occurrence in the culture?

    • Jann

      Aysha, I think I’m one of the few day trippers to the beach. Most settle in for 6-8 weeks, though some have to work and commute back and forth, but people sleep at their shore home, rather than at their inland home…

  • Lovely, Jann! As an immigrant Ragusani, what do you do?

    • Jann

      Anita, until this summer I stayed away from the beach scene in Sicily, but now I’ve found a quiet beach with a shack-like caffe just a few meters from the water. Love it, but cannot divulge its location!

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