Sicily’s puppets and the precious role of the storyteller

Sicilian puppeteer and storyteller Mimmo Cuticchio has seen the role of the island’s traditional puppet theatre change over the years, from a daily ritual for many, to an outmoded form of entertainment, to a re-emergent symbol of Sicily’s culture and heritage. Throughout all of these changes, the 69-year-old has remained dedicated to his art, unable … More Sicily’s puppets and the precious role of the storyteller

Palermo’s big night: the festival of Saint Rosalia

During an English lesson in Rome, a student of mine from Palermo was the first to tell me about the patron saint of his town: Saint Rosalia. He explained the story of the “Santuzza” or “Little Saint”, who went to live as a hermit in a cave on Mount Pellegrino, near to the Sicilian capital. … More Palermo’s big night: the festival of Saint Rosalia

Calabria in the footsteps of the poet Edward Lear: Stilo

I first read about Stilo in the English poet and landscape painter Edward Lear’s account of his journeys throughout Calabria in 1847, which brought him to this hilltop town. Lear, who is best known for his nonsense poems including “The Owl and the Pussycat” spent part of that year walking across this southern Italian region … More Calabria in the footsteps of the poet Edward Lear: Stilo

Scylletium and its manuscript collector son Cassiodorus

A trip to the ancient site of Scylletium on the eastern Calabrian coast, south of Catanzaro, is a journey back along the historical roots of the Italian peninsula. Its beginnings are unclear, but in classical times it was either believed to have been founded by an Athenian colony involved in the Trojan War or by … More Scylletium and its manuscript collector son Cassiodorus

Le Castella: a pearl in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea

Several of my Calabrian friends had told me about Le Castella, south of Crotone, long before I came to visit. I had looked at pictures of the castle here on its peninsula jutting out into the blue seas, an enticing sight that drew me to this place. But the photos did not compare to actually … More Le Castella: a pearl in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea

Finding the treasures of the goddess Hera at Capo Colonna

With modern life increasingly dominated by technology, holidays are becoming one of the rare chances to spend time immersed in nature, when we can try to look at the world around us rather than computer screens. Calabria, with its wild landscapes and panoramic views of the sea, is an ideal place to reestablish a connection … More Finding the treasures of the goddess Hera at Capo Colonna