Santina, Part 2

July 21, 2011

Santina and I had drunk our coffees in the kitchen and viewed the family altar in her bedroom. Then she led me into a third small room.

Every inch of wall space was hung with paintings. Unframed canvases were stacked high on a table. “They are mine,” she said, beaming.

Paintings by Sicilian Woman, copyright Jann  Huizenga
She pointed to an exuberant painting of a fishbowl full of roses and purple tulips.

Painting by Sicilian Woman, copyright Jann Huizenga

“One night my mother was suffering so much that I didn’t know what to do. So I painted this.”

She went back into the kitchen and left me looking and thinking. I picked up a portfolio. Its cardboard cover had been painted over with a bright-eyed young woman wearing a strand of pearls.

“Who is this, Signora?” I asked, carrying it back into the kitchen.

Sicilian Woman with Painting, copyright Jann Huizenga

“That is me,” she smiled.


Thanks to Haley at Fa l’Americana for this nice award.

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28 comments to Santina, Part 2

  • I think I want to be just like Santina when I grow up! And I want to be just as feisty so I can do a self portrait like hers! 🙂

  • Sometimes here in Italy I meet people who make me want to pull out a tape recorder and notepad, and just ask them to please recite their entire life story. Absolutely fascinating people.
    You should write her biography.
    I have an award sticker for you by the way. You can find it here on my blog:

  • Fantastic! What a marvelous character – a woman who inspires by her very strength of character and her joyful self-expression. Thank you for this gift to us all, and hugs to Santina!

  • cemal karahan

    It’s been one of the good examples of short short stories, Jann…! I love them. congratulations..!

  • catherine Billups

    I love the people you find.

  • The way you divided this story into 2 parts was very effective, and left me with 2 very different emotions. The first part, I was struck by the phrase “like a caged bird” and found Santina’s life and altar to be depressing as hell- but then you surprised us with Santina’s other side. And now that you have shown Santina and her art to the world, it’s as though you have freed the caged bird. Great!

  • Jan Walcott


    This story is why I look everyday for another post from Baroque Sicily. What a lovely story and such a lovely twist!

    Jan Walcott

  • Bud

    Dear Jann;

    Maybe you could introduce Santina to your red-capped cobbler. A match made in heaven for two amazing people.

    • Jann

      Great idea, Bud. But I manage to get myself into enough trouble in Sicily without being matchmaker!!!

  • Michelle

    Great story! It has warmed my heart! I will be in Ragusa in December—I would love to meet her! As well, I would love to write to her. Will there be a part 3? 🙂

    • Jann

      Michelle, not sure about a part 3 yet. We’ll see. I’ll email you her contact information. I’ll tell her she may get several foreign guests knocking upon her door!

  • Steve

    What a treat! Thanks for the stories about Santina.

  • kathy

    I too am enjoying reading about your visit with Santina, her paintings are beautiful. Please tell her hello from Seattle!

  • Ciao Jann, Absolutely wonderful story! What a fantastic thing to read first thing in the morning over coffee. This brightens my whole day! John and I would love to visit her when we are in Sicily this winter…..Thanks so much for the wonderful photos and story. We would love to write to her from Fiji…do you have an address?

    • Jann

      Ciao Diana–I’m going to visit her again soon, so I’ll tell her she’s made some new friends and I’m sure she’ll be delighted. (Will send you her contact information via email.) xxxBaci

  • We will be in Ragusa in August…..we would like to purchase a ‘Santina’ painting

    • Jann

      Hi Charmain, WOW! She’d be so happy. I’ll send you her info & let her know you might visit.

  • lucy

    Wow! I love her! I’d love to send her a postcard!
    It brought tears to my eyes. She seems like a strong woman however.
    Maybe she has many stories to tell. Her paintings are beautiful.
    I hope you have more stories about Santina! <3

    • Jann

      Lucy, I’ll send you her address to your email…. I’m sure she’d love a postcard from Canada!

  • Talk about a surprise twist in the story. Her artwork is amazing and so is your picture of her. Thank you for this mini-story and look forward to others.

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