Mother and Child, Sicily

July 5, 2014

They were strolling hand-in-hand down the street like extras in some Sicilian film. They stepped into the tabacchaio and when they emerged, I went in pursuit. How was it that I’d never seen them before, in this dinky place of 2500 people?

Sicilian Mom & Son, Copyright Jann Huizenga

Concetta handed me her card. Turns out she runs a restaurant called U Saracenu,  in the heart of Ragusa Ibla. I haven’t eaten there since those days when my house was a kitchen-less mess.  The place seemed then like a throwback to a much earlier era, and when I popped in today, nothing in the decor had changed. The previous owner, built like a fridge, used to tell me exactly what I wanted to eat.

“I’d love a big salad, please.”

“Oh no. This no weather for salad. You need hearty fare in this rain.”

And he’d lumber from the kitchen balancing a steamy bowl of minestrone, or ricotta ravioli doused in ragú.

But he has retired, and the chef (Concetta’s hubby) and Concetta are now the proud owners, serving the same old-style, no-nonsense, no-pretense Sicilian fare at prices you’ll like.


Inside U Saracenu, Ragusa Ibla, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

The front room is the lightest room and you sit next to an old feed trough; the restaurant is a former animal stall.








U Saracenu, Ragusa Ibla, copyright Jann Huizenga

Translated, the name means “At the Saracen’s Place”–referring to the Arabs or Moors who ruled Sicily for a couple hundred years.













Chef at U Saracenu, Ragusa Ibla, copyright Jann Huizenga

Chef Angelo Gelasio






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20 comments to Mother and Child, Sicily

  • what great portraits and moments captured. Lovely xx

  • Bob Evans

    Ciao Jann, I’m sorry I missed this post. Just saw it. Beautiful pic of gorgeous subjects. And how serendipitous that you had your camera with you. Always ready! Marisa got a pleasant surprise on Friday. Her second book has been translated into Dutch and her first book has sold out. Cheers

  • dennis

    comment to my inner chick: Yes the guy that took my wallet as I was helping my wife get on the train in Ventimiglia. Jann after all the years living in Italy and the many vacations. It took until 2013 almost 40 years for someone to get my wallet, out of my front pocket no less.I guess at 75 I am a much easier mark. Ho incontrato una brutta borseggiatore. Ti recordi 1989.

  • —-Lovely.
    Italian women are stunning, right?
    Is anybody unattractive in that country?! A N Y B O D Y ?
    Love flowing from Minnesota for you, gorgeous Jann. xx

  • I want to eat there! Now! See what you’ve done. I will have to console myself with a leftover pasta that I cooked last night.
    Fabulous portrait of mother and son. Mama must have been so pleased with it. Nice that you were re-introduced to the restaurant. It looks charming.

  • Liz

    Cannot wait to get back to Sicily…going to visit Ragusa Ibla for sure! Such a darling family. And when we are in Sicily or Italy, we always ask what is recommended to eat at the restaurants we visit. Have not been disappointed yet.

  • Don Caruso

    Sicily is such a magical place….

  • They look so serene and photo-ready just walking down the street. I love that about Italy, that sense that when you are out and about anything can happen…. and you’d better be dressed for the occasion!!! Well spotted as usual Jann!!! Buona domenica xx

  • Love this photo, Jann and the way she is crouching down to her son’s level. So full of love and pride xx

  • Gian Banchero

    Che bedda mammina e figghiu!!!

  • Toni

    One of my favorite memories if Siciliy – we got caught in a storm and ducked into a restaurant for a bite to eat. Everytime my husband tried to order something from the menu, the owner told him what he wanted to eat instead. It turned out to be our best meal on the trip!

  • Beautiful pictures (as usual) and beautiful family. I believe if I lived there I would never want to move again. I’ve moved 18 or more times in my life (dad was in Army & I just kept moving after I grew up). It is hard for me to stay still but there? Peace and unusual places to visit? I’m there!

  • Sam

    Yes, I think you should encourage the new people to carry on the former owner’s tradition of telling customers what they want. There’s a restaurant in San Antonio that does that.

  • Nancy

    If I ever get down to Ragusa I’d love to eat at this restaurant

  • Anitre

    What a sweet pair. How can a young child look so dapper? I hope to check out the restaurant. Yum!

  • Larry

    Added to my list of restaurants for September/October visit.

  • Lovely. Thanks for another tempting bite of Sicily.

  • Cathy

    What a handsome little lad! And proud Momma is looking pretty stylish! Sounds like a great place to eat too.

  • What a lovely mother-son photo! And this sounds like a must-see sort of place — I mean, where else can you find restaurant owners who TELL you what you want to eat (and I’ll bet you weren’t one bit disappointed in his choice, were you?!)

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