The Sicilian Heart

January 4, 2013

“In Sicily,” the locals always say, “You’ve got to have friends.”

So true.  Without amici, I would not know where to find wild asparagus, or how to dry tomatoes in the sun. I would not have heat in the winter, or olive oil in autumn. I would not have had books or lipstick during my hospital stay, or the best doctor in town. I would not have known how to get a codice fiscale, open a bank account, or buy a house.

I have learned a lot about the Sicilian heart in the process.

To FRIENDSHIP in the New Year!!!

Sicilian friends, copyright Jann Huizenga

Girlfriends in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Old Friends in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Friends in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Quantu va ‘n’amicu ‘n chiazza, ‘un ce va cent’unzi ‘n cascia, Sicilians say. A trusted friend is a real treasure.


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Siena, So Long Ago

February 9, 2012

He was sitting in the piazza in quaint little Monterosso Almo, Southeast Sicily, out in front of a bar.

I like your beret. Did you get that in France?

He pulled it off his head to study it, revealing a thick mop of hair the color of sheep’s wool.

No, no. It is from Siena.


Si. Siena, Siena, he muttered. Tanti anni fa. So long ago.

Ah!  (I could think of nothing better to say.)

The man got very quiet and a faraway look came into his eye.

I slipped into the bar for a coffee. When I came out, his eyes were still on the horizon and his cigarette unlit.

Sicilian Man in Beret, copyright Jann Huizenga


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Monterosso Almo (the lower part of town)


Faces of Sicily

May 26, 2011

Four Sicilians, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Couple, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Angel-Devil, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Man with Wine, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Women, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Man with Melon, copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian Women, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian Men in Coppole, copyright Jann HuizengaTwo Men in Acate, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga Two Sicilian Men in Suits, copyright Jann Huizenga




Thanks to Charles for this idea and title.

Do you have a favorite Sicilian face? Send me the photo and I’ll post it here. (Click on “Contact” and I’ll tell you how to get it to me.)

Lucy's favorite Sicilian face, her dad


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"Waiting for a Friend" by photographer Diana Ruff




Art class in Ortygia (Siracusa) by Michelle Reale






Sicilians in Speedos

August 6, 2010

Sicilian in Speedo on Beach in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

I got a little pile of emails and comments about proper beach attire for men a few blogs ago, so I decided to pursue  the topic.

“It seems weird,” said my Italian friend Roberta as we sipped iced tea with a scoop of lemon granita floating on top, “to see a guy on the beach not wearing a Speedo. What’s he trying to hide?”

Sicilian men of all shapes and ages seem perfectly at home in skimpy little Speedos, as opposed to their American counterparts, who turn up at the beach swathed in baggy shorts down to the kneecap, complete with inner lining. Why is this? If you have any insights into this cross-cultural diff, fammi sapere, lemme know!

Sicilians in Speedos 2, Copyright Jann HuizengaSicilians in Speedos 3, Copyright Jann Huizenga

Sicilian in Speedo on Sicilian Beach, copyright Jann HuizengaSicilian in Speedo on Sicilian Beach, copyright Jann Huizenga

A recent article in the Huffington Post called “Speedos are Back” shows lots of great styles on the Milan runways!


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Bella Figura: A Story of Coordinated Couples

April 21, 2010

All the street is a stage in Sicily.  Those who show up for a performance had better be decked out for the part.

Living here feels like walking through a gigantic theatrical production. Flamboyance and fantasia rule.

Couples herald their coupledom with coordinated outfits. My own husband will not agree to this. (He finds it a challenge to coordinate his socks.)

Some dress-alike couples are subtle.

Others not so much.

It wouldn’t be fair to i siciliani to say their obsession with clothing springs from narcissism. Elegance shows civic altruism: you are prettifying the landscape for the delight of your fellow citizens. As the old Sicilian saying goes, Mancia a gustu tò, càusa e vesti a gustu d’àutru; Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.

Click here to read Shoes Like Gondolas, the true tale of my failed attempt to become an Italian fashion goddess. I wrote it after my first long visit to Ragusa Ibla (Sicily) in 2002.

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