A Sacred Spot in Sicily

November 12, 2012

This is the honeyed spot where my heart comes alive. I love it in my cells & my bones.

It’s here I drink my black wine, salute my fellow villagers, buy my daily bread, recharge my phone & my soul.

Sicilian Piazza















I cannot be there now. Family duty calls…

But when I close my eyes, I’m right here.

Do you have a sacred space? A place you love beyond all others?ย To paraphrase Raymond Carver, are you getting what you want from this life?

If not, set it all in motion now. Find that place where your heart comes alive: library nook, cafe window, mountain trail, room of your own.


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44 comments to A Sacred Spot in Sicily

  • Charlie

    I clearly remember that church and piazza. Then headed to the right side (if I remember) and down about a block for an expensive but well worth it lunch at Ristorante Duomo. Love your posts and pictures as they always bring back fond memories.

    What local wine are you drinking that is so black? I always had the house wines (i.e. I’m assuming local) during my week in Southeast Sicily, but I don’t recall them being so dark as to be near black.

    • Jann

      Charlie, thanks for you sweet comments. You’re exactly right about the location of Ristorante Duomo.
      The local “black” wine, Nero d’Avola (literally, Black from Avola) is not black black but more the color of a black-purple bruise. (So I’ve taken a bit of poetic license by calling it black.)

  • I love the picture especially – it really tells the story you wrote down! There is a similar corner, in Palermo, where I enjoy hiding away – even if it’s a big square it feels like hiding ๐Ÿ˜‰ -. It’s in the Kalsa district, the most ancient of the city, and I particularly enjoy watching the world going on while I’m having a delicious espresso and staring at the magnificent Santa Caterina church!

    • Jann

      Ciao Romano,
      “Hiding away” in your special place is such a fun thing to do! It sounds like you know Palermo well–I need to get back there and explore the Kalsa. I’ve been there, but I have not explored much. High time…

  • Jann, your special place is just lovely! I can see you sitting there, drinking your coffee, snapping shots of passerbyers. Sigh. Doesn’t it break your heart when you can’t be where you want to be? I’m hoping you will soon return! In the meantime, you have beautiful memories and captures! Hugs! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love your special place, Jann — thanks for sharing it and making me feel like I’m there, too!

  • I love the way you say your space comes with your dovunque sei Jann. I understand that feeling so well. I have times and spaces I conjure. More often the further I am away in space and time. I would so love to share un bicchiere di vini nero right alongside you and you could tell me about quella o quello and we would while away a beautiful afternoon! I hope you’re back there soon! xx

  • Hi Jann,
    My grandparents who lived in via Roma, Ragusa used to own a flour mill on the banks of a river in Ragusa Ibla. My mother, father and I lived in Trieste but we visited my grandparents each year for our summer vacation. As a child I loved the mill and it was my sacred place โ€“ this is where they grew their few vegetables, kept their dog Viola and enjoyed the aria fresca (cool air). It was my grandparentโ€™s refuge and it also became mine.

    • Jann

      Marisa, what a lovely story!!!! I think *maybe* I know the property you’re talking about along a stream sort of south of the village? It’s enchanting.

  • Jann what a wonderful spot to just stop for a while, I have many such favorite places all involve a good coffee, comfortable chairs, eclectic atmosphere and great company. x

  • Ron

    I love the fica d’India that grows in front of the shops down that street. All the spines are shaved off, and a sculpted work of art is alive.

    • Jann

      Hi Ron–thanks for your comment. Yes, those prickly pear plants are great. I’m in love with the palm trees, and I nearly had a heart attack when one of the six was cut down a few years ago–there’s a date palm disease going around, and I’m hoping against hope that the other 5 are spared.

  • Susane

    My family is from Castelbuono and Caccamo and Ali Terme, Sicily, and I would highly recommend visiting any of these places: people are warm, tranquil, and generous, and the love abounds in every street, whether you are asking directions (and they actually take you there!) or just shopping in a local store. I live in California, but my heart is with my cousins in Castelbuono. Visiting with them always makes me feel at home and i miss them all when i leave … everyone should have such a gorgeous place to visit and to love. Susane

    • Jann

      Susane–thank you for the names of these towns. I have not seen any of them, but I’m jotting down the names in case I get anywhere near. There are an endless supply of wonderful Sicilian towns to visit–it’s quite amazing, actually, that one island can be so rich.

  • Anitre

    I think I saw this location in a few episodes of Inspector Montalbano. Has anyone noticed that the streets are always empty on the programme? Lovely photo! My recharge spots are either in my garden in Sicily or in Seaford, East Sussex England when I’m in London.

    • Jann

      Anitre, I’ve been here on a few occasions when they’re shooting Montalbano, and it’s always a nuisance–they close off most of the piazza!

  • Terry Comparetta Wagner

    Ah! Another one photo post from you that says so very much! I someday may get to Sicily and find my spot there. But for now – there are two places for me in the States: St. Augustine Florida – the old quarter – walking along the cobblestones. Long Beach Island, Beach Have, NJ. My sacred spot is on a particular beach in Beach Haven – but I’m afraid it will never be the same – Hurricane Sandy has utterly destroyed our coastline and changed it forever. ๐Ÿ™

    • Jann

      Terry, I was once in St. Augustine, and thought it had such special magic. I’m so sorry about your spot in Beach Haven. I know how much the Jersey Shore means to folks on the East Coast. I hope the coastline comes back more beautiful than ever–and soon. There are so many people passionate about it & I’m sure it will happen.

  • Lorna

    SO many times it seems that you have me in mind….exactly.
    Thank you for your inspired view into Sicily. My grandparents were from Mistretta,
    and I dream of walking in their footsteps one day…and you help me to see that it may be possible.

    • Jann

      ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad, Lorna! Keep your dream alive, and it will happen! And how wonderful it will be to walk in their footsteps.

  • Sam

    You salute WHICH fellow villagers? Looks to me like they all fled the scene when you arrived with your camera!

  • —Dearest Jann,
    You know what I’d like?

    To be in this place w/ you to chat over black wine about life, love, & passion.

    Yes, I’d like that. Xxx Kisssssss

    ps. What is black wine? Haaaaa

  • What a lovely spot. And the black and cream cloth against the stones …

    Carver’s question is piercing. I’m going to contemplate it today. Ciao, Jann xx

  • I have a few places like this….the piazzetta in Ponte a Serraglio, walking across the bridge in Brisbane and sitting on the beach at Manin Beach where I grew up.

  • christine

    I’m right there with you—-just a little north and east in fact.
    I find myself doing the same thing….

  • In Rome – my spot is sitting in front of the Pantheon in the early morning. In Florida – a concrete bench in St. Augustine watching the sun rise. I find peace and quiet answers in both places. Yours awaits – both physically and with your eyes closed.

    • Jann

      Rosann–someone else in these comments also mentioned St. Augustine. Such a wonderful–and unexpected–place, in the US. And the early morning hours near the Pantheon–I’ve always loved that, too (especially in the off season).

  • My place is in the vines in the family vineyard. The world can be upside down and I walk down in the vines, take several deep breaths and suddenly….all is right with the world.

    • Jann

      Oh, Kay, I love the idea of your special spot in the vineyard. It sounds idyllic (and has such lovely symbolism).

  • Well, it would be hard to find a more sacred space than the one you’ve found in Ragusa. I visited Ragusa last year and indeed I took a coffee at that very bar, if memory serves. I have a few such spots in Rome, and I my choice on a given day often depends on whether it’s my soul or my phone that is in greater need of recharging at the moment.

    • Jann

      Hi Rick–thank you for dropping by, and for your comment. Well, if you had a coffee next to the cathedral in Ragusa Ibla, this must have been the place! Rome’s got its share of perfect spots, too. One of my faves is the little boho caffe just off the main piazza in Trastevere.

  • Ah, I feel the peace and warmth and love of a heart finding its home emanating from this photo. My sacred place is in a park by the sea on the opposite side of the continent from where I reside. But also in my secret, wild heart that comes forth in making art or dancing when no one’s looking.

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