There is something special in Sicilian culture; there is always something you wouldn’t expect… in every street corner, in people attitude, while you are tasting Sicilian food: keep your eyes open, Sicily will get you. Sicily is a land full of charm and mistery and we want to unveil a few secrets about its ancient past and its name. Siculi and Sicani were the first inhabitants of Sicily, that was originally named Sicania. Although upon their arrival the Greeks called the island “Thrinakia” – meaning “island of the three capes” – because of its shape.
Once upon a time in Sicily “the old vinegar lady”, who was supposed to be a witch and a professional poisoner.
Her name was Giovanna Bonanno, she was born in 1713 and lived in Palermo during the reign of the Viceroy Domenico Caracciolo. We don’t know much about her life but one thing is sure: on 30th July 1789 she was executed by hanging because of sorcery.
Sicily is a treasure chest of incredible stories. Myths and legends have been for long time the way to explain the unpredictable and the unknown. Maybe this is why lots of Sicilian tales are focused on the sea and his mysteries. The myth of Colapesce tells about a fisherman’ son, Nicholas from Messina. He was known as Colapesce because of his love for the sea and his skills under the water: everytime he dove into the seabed he resurfaced from the waves, ready to tell the incredible discoveries from the under water world.
There are so many legends about our land. Sicily is a casket of incredibile stories and the myth of Aci and Galatea is a great example of Sicilian tradition. Galatea – which name means “milk-white” – was a sea nymph felt in love with the young shepherd Aci. Because of this love the Cyclops Polyphemus became jealous for the handsome shepherd and killed him throwing a huge rock against. Galatea transformed the blood of Aci in the sources of a river.
If you’ve been in Sicily at least once you must have noticed a white flower with a sweet-spicy scent inside Sicilian gardens or balconies? Well, that’s the Plumeria, also known as Frangipani or Pomelia, as they call it around here.
Sicilian women used to plant the Pomelia and give it to their daughters (or granddaughters) after the marriage to adorn their new home, and that’s why the flower acquired a deep meaning bound to a sense of familiar affection and heritage.
We want to tell you a story, a short one don’t worry. There is a tree that is considered the oldest and biggest in Europe. It’s located in Sicily, in Sant’Alfio, a lovely hamlet near the Eastern slope of the Mount Etna. Believed to be between 2.000 and 4.000 years old, the tree is known as the Hundred Horse Chestnut tree. Why? It is said that under its huge branches the Queen Joanna of Aragon and her company of one hundred knights found shelter during a severe thunderstorm.
“Babbaluci” is the Sicilian name standing for tiny snails. It probably comes from the Arabic babush which meant the women’s shoes with the tip pointing upwards. Other erudites think the name comes from the greek boubalàkion (buffalo) due to the horns of both animals.
Babbaluci are something typical in Sicilian culinary tradition, especially in Palermo. In the summer time you can find them in big wicker baskets from the grocery.
All over the world Sicily is known for its charming history, but what about the cuisine? Sicilian food is a big world to experience. Today we suggest you a dessert really able to feed your senses: the Sicilian cannolo.
It is the best-known Sicilian pastry and it has been brought by Arabs during the Emirate in Sicily. Its name probably comes from the Arabic Qanawat and it is also curious to know that in Sicilian dialect the term cannolu means “little tube”.
“Panormus conca aurea suos devorat alienos nutrit”: this inscription lies at the bottom of a statue at Palazzo Pretorio. It means “Palermo the golden dell, devours hers and feeds the foreigners”. An omen more than a motto, yet this words describe perfectly the very soul of the city and the citizens of tha capital of Sicily. The very symbol of the city is the statue itself…