How to find a husband in Sicily

how-to-find-husband-in-sicily

Yesterday was San Faustino Day in Italy, better known in the world as “The day after that disaster of Valentine’s Day“.
Yesterday was the Single Awareness Day.

For undismayed and committed singles, singles because of other people’s choice, singles who have forgotten why they are singles, singles that finally are singles and singles who hate all those who are not single because they think to be the only single.

And there are the spinsters.

A particular category of ladies who would wish a good guy, nice and hard worker, with which to raise a family, but, alas! , they are unlucky (ugly) and when you are unlucky the only thing to do is praying Saint Onofrio.

According to legend Onofrio was the Persian king Teodoro’s son but after his birth a devil said that he was a child of adultery of the queen. Since he emerged unscathed after the test of fire they believed the devil. Soon Onofrio decided to distance from humanity and become a hermit in the Egyptian desert, just wearing a loincloth of leaves and dedicating his life to prayer.

saint-onofrio-in-sicily

In Palermo San’Onofrio is a secondary patron and in 1568 a religious group dedicated a small church to him, in Via Panneria, litterally “the street of clothes” because in times past there were many clothes factories.
Obviously the church is very modest with some plasters and paintings, all dedicated to the saint. There are also a canvas painted by Giuseppe Salerno, named “The Clipped from Gangi” and a wooden sculpture created by “The Blind of Palermo“, both representing Saint Onofrio, named “Pilusu“, in sicilian dialect “Hairy“, because of the very very long beard.

This chuch seems a joke, I know, but Saint Onofrio is famous because has the power to find a husband for the spinsters! In ancient times (but maybe even now) there was a precise shamanic procedure to find this blessed soul mate in Sicily. Every evening for nine days, the ugl…ehm unlucky girl had to say a rhyme in sicilian dialect between a prayer and the other one to ask the grace to Saint Onofrio (who probably ruined when the first mad devotee found a husband indeed). During the recite she had to put a two-cent coin in the lock of any door. If the coin fell the request was satisfied!

Apparently Saint Onofrio is miraculous also if you lost something or for students who have to take an exam, because Onofrio helps to refresh the memory! 😀

Seriosly, even if in Sicily there are Facebook and Whatsapp, iPhone and PlayStation, for certain things Sicily is still an archaic place, lost in this disenchanted Western world, where you can still find who believe in magic.

This is part of the charm of this island and if it’s harmless it can’t become its condemn. I don’t believe in these things and even much more but when I listen the conversations of graduate and “normal” people, who talk about certain practices with tenderness and say that they work, without zealotry but with a blind confidence in these things, inscrutable for the reason, in this moments I don’t understand, with my reason, how two so different modus vivendi can coexist in a so fluid way. But my heart can’t despise them, it accepts and I think it’s comforting that humans sometimes preserve their humanity and find their reassuring practices, a bit childish, sometimes primitive, sometimes personal or traditional.

Decide you, for now I’ve written the practice to pray Saint Onofrio but I leave you with the words of the poet Kahlil Gibran:

“And think not you can guide the course of love. For love, if it finds you worthy, shall guide your course”

Happy Single Awareness Day (late)

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com

Annunci

But is Palermo safe? I lived there for many years but I never took a picture of this city. Because mi scantavo. A post dedicated to the search of freedom to walking.

One of the biggest trees in Italy, the Ficus of Giardino Garibaldi in Palermo

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

I left my house in Palermo two months ago and now I must to return there only to wave a form under the nose of a “sturduta” (dumb) secretary of maybe the biggest but surely the most disorganized university of the island, otherwise I can’t do the exam. No, no fax and no, not even an email…and if they don’t even answer the telephone it’s not because they haven’t that opposable finger thanks to which we did evolutionary jump but because of the lagnusìa, the laziness that makes bureaucracy in Sicily slow like a sloth, that hasn’t really the opposable finger so it does nothing but at any rate it’s justified. They’ll solve everything in two minutes but I must lose two hours to go and other two to return by bus, without counting the others lost in line in front of the only open counter among twenty others.

Seeing as I will lose half of the day I decide to lose the second half one and do a thing that I didn’t ever do during the many years olden in this city. I’ll walk with a reflex camera.

I didn’t ever do it because “mi scantavo“, I was afraid to do it.

So many times walking I would have it with me, there are so many beautiful things in Palermo, usual and uncommon. I knew that my time here would be limited and this city is very important for me, the memory sways, the age doesn’t help and I want remember, I would look and look again Palermo, always, also if my time there is ended for now. I haven’t only one photo of Palermo, whether of that one I lived or of tourist one, because I was terrorised, I daydreamed about poses and scenes but reflex remained closed in its bag at home. My camera is not precious, it’s a little reflex with a screwed piece of glass, but it’s one of the few things that I bought with my money just for me. I don’t like many things but during the shopping I didn’t remember anything of them and spent my money for the presents for others and when the memory came back I was flat broke. But the most important thing is being satisfied. For this reason I made few more concrete presents for myself: some low cost flight tickets to Rome and this little Canon Eos 1000D with a piece of glass of 18-55 mm. I adore it. It’s my little, my loved, my reserve of memories and little satisfactions, I can’t allow that any guy purse snatches it to sell it for just 200 euros after have thrown the memory card full of blurry photos of views and my niece in company of a different My Little Pony every time in a drain.This is no laughing matter.

When I enrolled at University my coming rommates, already broken in living in Palermo, had described the city like a sicilian far west, the more unforgettable warning was ‘Don’t walk near the doors, they draw you in when you least expect it!’ We went out all together only with a guy…we were FOUR girls!!! The guy would have to be our protect, the person would have to receive chivalrously a bunch of punches and offer his wallet. On one occasion my roommate became hysterical seeing me with the hood worn up to eyes because she had suffered a robbery at supermarket and the thief was dressed in that way, she hasn’t a good memory of hoods but didn’t remember that the prices of that supermarket were revised just for the university students, THAT was the real robbery. To prevent the purse snatchings ‘Put back the money in the bag when you are still in the shop!’

Dunno.

When I stayed alone at home for the first time it was because I would have to take the bus for Trapani at 7 p.m. and in winter there is dark and I was too afraid of going alone to the station, all looked monsters, criminals and killers, I imagined myself robbed and strangled under a tree, so I decided to stay one night again at home. Alone. The door closed with three turns of key. Three up and three down. And the chain. My fellow students (strangely only the men) were often blocked and robbed, they were terrorised. When I went to Palermo from Trapani to follow lessons I put the money in a secret pocket stitched on purpose. I’ve a friend who has be never stopped, he could speak a perfect palermitan dialect, it brought in goose bumps, a marked and unintelligible lullabye, where to say ‘Cosa’ (What or thing) you have to open the mouth like a hooven and say ‘Cuoasa‘ (untranslatable) and dressed black jacket with the hood up to the eyes, he seemed more criminal than some shady people circulating in those areas of Palermo. The universitary area was, is like this. This one intersects much with the most famous and accessible (because near the Stazione Centrale) tourist area, the triangle of Cattedrale, Via Maqueda and the Kalsa. The tourist area is in a very degraded area of Palermo but not the most degraded one.

It never happened anything bad

Palermo is leopard and you can see a parisian café near a dirty panellaro (who makes bread with panelle, often in the street) and universitary students walk among black kids, Pakistani guys and chinese women and turning the angle bump the nose into shaved eyebrows of palermitan hero of “New melodic” music of the moment and avoid tourists with red skin.

One day I was with a troupe to shoot a videoclip in Via Bara all’Olivella. Once this street was a little Bronx, full of rubbish and little reassuring faces but now, seeing as it’s the only street from which a beautiful glimpse of Teatro Massimo is visible, is full of little shops for tourists, restaurants, small tables and parasols, it’s so full that the glimpse is no more visible. There is only a really beautiful thing here, the “Teatro dei Pupi di Mimmo Cuticchio” (The Theatre of Puppets of Mimmo Cuticchio).
We shooted a video, there were many thousands of euros between lens, reflex cameras and sliders and among meddlers and storekeepers, by now become our partners of work, the warning “Look at mopeds” (Here there are snatchers) was inevitable.
Noboby stole nothing and our level of attention was normal, after all we had to work.

I was never plundered nor kidnapped and I walk serenely near the doors but I put the money in the purse before to exit the shop, I think that it’s a good habit everywhere, when you can do it. Sometimes a man “ti sconcica“, whistles and congratulates your mum, but you can ignore them and go on without lookin them, they will knock it off. I went back home also alone, also with dark but always when there is still somebody, workers who returned for the dinner, and I’m alive and without a bad experience to tell you. I went back home also by bike, at midnight, from Palazzo Pantelleria to Policlinico, with the terror up to my neck, because one never knows. Nobody stopped me, never, but the few pedestrians looked me like a fool.

Once a friend from Rome, Favetta, came and saw me in Palermo. His hotel was at Ballarò (one of the three storical markets of Palermo) and I reached him by bike. After a evening spent to dance tango in very degraded areas of the city, back Chiesa of San Domenico, that during the evening is inflamed of arts and beauty in some little places, we stepped towards home, me, he and the bike beside. “Come on!, run to home, it’s late and you are alone and with the bike, I’ll try to find the way to go back hotel, I think that it’s near, surely we’ll arrive in the same moment, go!”. Me: “Favetta, I went all the way many times. The other times wasn’t so late but I have a heavy chain and a shrill voice and no hesitation to use them (above all the chain). However strange it may sound but it’s more probable that they stop you because you are a man and not me, because I’m a woman (this is my personal statistic), with that face then!”. Which face? Imagine Woody Allen, but with mustache like inspector Jacques Clouseau, he fancies himself as Serpico but he’s really like Sam, he’s one of my best friends, how could I leave alone a so funny and sweet friend? I couldn’t. Also because during the return he tried to make way and even me almost was losing the way in the second biggest european old town. During 30 minutes of walking we met vagabonds and strange people, even an old man who asked cigarettes…from the balcony, he just lowered “‘u panaro“(the basket). But we are still alive and not traumatized.

I looked many tourists walking with the cameras hanging by the neck, quiet and smiling but I have heard of many bag-snatchings…

…therefore is Palermo safe or not?

There are many people, many foreigns and some delinquents. Like in every big city in the world.
Is it safe? More than New york and London surely, it seems more than Oslo, if you “te l’accolli“, risk to go there, why not to Palermo? Out of this city there are girls who believe that here people are kidnapped in the dark places, that there are shootings in the middle of the road and that the life is worth a cigarettes pack. But this is not “Il Padrino“! -_-‘
In reality the rules to stay good here are those of common sense, but those are valid everywhere there are more than 100.000 citizens. The petty crime is widespread here, it’s true, but in the morning there are so many people and tourists and students who walk quiet, also with the reflex cameras and if you are in difficulty you can shout, at least 200 turn in your direction and you are safe but it would be a unlucky coincidence.
The evening is more dangerous. Don’t defy the luck, I do many times but only because it was necessary and also if nothing ever happened maybe I’ve been really lucky, so I suggest you to walk in two and not alone. Alone is safe if you walk where there are light and some people but in two is better, at any rate you don’t walk with terror and relish more the stroll. Look out but without paranoias. The area of Magione is more thorny after the sunset because out of the squares of light near the places it’s desert and isolated and don’t underestimate also Via Roma/Via Maqueda in the evening. I don’t want to do psychological terrorism, my experience was absolutely positive for years but it’s always a big city, look out but without terror, Palermo is safe enough. Of course if you go to Brancaccio the situation is totally different, that area is dangerous also in the morning but it’s not necessary to go there, there’s nothing of interesting.

But therefore if all walk quiet with reflex camera, why are you afraid, Anna?
Because I’m only a human, though, and sometimes others wash my brain with their fears and worries and those times I doubt of beeing just lucky for ten years.
Some days ago they have stole the silver flower of Santa Rosalia. This sculpture is poor and it was the only precious ornament. Here they say “Viva Palermo e Santa Rosalia!“, “Long live to Palermo and Santa Rosalia”, so far I belived that Palermitans don’t love only their city but not even Santuzza, the little Saint, survived to insult, how can I survive?

che camurrìa, how inconvenience! Enough! Let’s take out the reflex, well hanging by the neck, relaxed, without problems. And voila! The first pictures of Palermo, at Kalsa and Casa Professa, timid and pathetic photos, it was he first time and…nothing happened, again! I held hanging by the neck, up the backpack put counter, forward like a infant, to support the arms and rest, to take pictures and make more difficult a bag-snatching, of backpack and reflex camera. Lo “scanto“, the fear, was passing and getting to like take pictures in Casa Professa, click,click,click, How many things I can immortalize now, I love you Palermo and I want to see you ever. You scared me and now no more. I was afraid to exit alone and now no more (not too at least). Now I see you with different eyes and I use the bike (because I know where to hide it). Now I can take pictures of you, finally! Click, click, click holy mackerel! It put out! I forgot to recharge the battery!

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com

It seems Games of Thrones but it’s Erice! We come back to Middle Ages…thanks to actors, fencers and…tailors!

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

Story of date lasted a weekend, not a couple of hours.

First attempt on last Saturday evening: we go to Erice by cable car, dine in a very good restaurant, it’s 22 o’clock, we hear the distant drums and we try to move towards the tam tam.

Nothing, they have passed and they’re done.

We meet a young girl in tunic whereas we are dropping the hands because of cold and nothing, the procession with the fire-eaters will pass through the square in half an hour but in the meantime we can try to go to the castle where other actors still make something, there are the stands and a theatrical performance. Come on!

…and after a long day of work they don’t wait us, they are clearing out all. While others take off their costumes we succeed to pick up a glass of Inzolia with free offer, poured from a majolica jug, so that makes the scene, and by a medieval innkeeper, which makes the scene even more.

Hey, hold it! Go back to the square, she said there are fire-eaters. We go back to square then, oh well do you think we don’t find the show already over and the flood of people who have seen it all and comments?

This “date” was a failure, only the vision of fluttering brocade drapes in the main streets remained 😦 “Honey, go for a walk in sweet little lanes, while you look in the courts I admire the knockers” and after a quarter of an hour, defeated by the cold (actually Giovanni): “Honey, let’s go back home.”

First Round End.

By the way, it’s FedEricina, an event to commemorate the coming to Erice of Frederick III and his wife Eleanor of Anjou during the Sicilian Vespers. It ‘s the first year that they do it and drew different groups of musicians, actors and fencers from all over Sicily.

Frederick III of Sicily

Frederick III of Sicily

and his wife  Eleanor of Anjou

and his wife Eleanor of Anjou

Second Round.

Two days later, on Republic Day. John unexpectedly free, weather threatening rain ‘Honey, where do you want to go?‘ … But once they do a cool thing don’t we come back? It rains and you don’t appreciate the salt pans with the clouds, then back to Erice!

Hurraaaaahhh!! The parade there’s, there’s, there’s still! We are late as usual, but we are here!!!

It’s the gathering of the “Historic groups of Sicily” and we find them during the parade in the main street, towards the Real Cathedral. It’s a show that gives satisfaction because it is really long, but not too much and you can enjoy it enough without getting bored. In addition, the street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, is not large, so we could see the impressive tailor work and also have the nerve to touch it, so we were close. Among pearls, embroidery and metal mails it seems a (very) convent school versin of Games of Thrones.

“My” Frederick and Eleanor

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The Three Graces

The Three Graces

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Which historical episode is remembered? The coming of Frederick III and Eleanor of Anjou to Erice during the Sicilian Vespers, in the thirteenth century. But how, is Erice so ancient? Well, if you think that the first settlements were of the eighth century B.C. Frederick came yesterday practically . I don’t want to bore anyone with a long history lesson (maybe another time), Vespers was a rebellion of the Sicilians who didn’t want to be dominated by the French and asked for help to Aragon. The Sicilians asked Frederick III to become their king and he was elected officially by the Sicilian Parliament, a well-advanced Parliament, even in advance of the English one, since there was also a representative of middle class who could participate in the drafting of laws ( at least in theory). In short, Frederick agreed, and from that moment he didn’t leave Sicily, but he moved in far and wide in the island and arrived also in Erice, where he stayed to continue the war against France and against Naples.

Sicilian flag was born during Vespers!

Sicilian flag was born during Vespers!

The tower next to the Duomo in fact was a watchtower, then recycled into a bell tower. The cathedral was built by Frederick, as a thanksgiving for the hospitality, it’s a shame he used to build it pieces of the ancient Venus Temple and in fact they say that you can see much older Egyptian crosses (” they say” because I’ve been entered there only once and I don’t remember it very well, so with the excuse of the blog I sign a second visit and then I’ll tell you 😉 ). The Cathedral in reality also served to put many stones over the worship of Venus has not yet disappeared completely.

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There's also a monk! :D

There’s also a monk! 😀

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Inside it’s not like the original version, and one day I’ll run away and show it, it’s in neo-Gothic style and is all white, seems to be made of whipped cream, then you’ll understand why! I said, Frederick arrived here with his wife, Madame Eleanor, of which we know little or nothing because, although she’s the queen, she was always a woman so she’snotimportant. Bah. But we know her marriage when she ten years old with a peer and annulled because of too young age of the spouses (eh!). But she wasn’t considered too young two years after to marry Frederick and give birth the first of the nine royal puppets. I do not know how this could be interested but the gossip is always less boring than dates of Vespers.

About the FedEricina I have little to tell you bacause despite the choice of blazing sun and storm proof date, that day we caught assuppaviddani rain (drizzle that spills the farmers did not take off work) and a wind that just in Wuthering Heights, so there’s not fire shows, much less flag-wavers! Anyway we saw a beautiful medieval dance and above all, a medieval fencing duel with swords weighing 8 kg each. If there weren’t antennas on the roofs, with all the extras around, it would be really the thirteenth century, and we enjoyed it seated on the stairs of the cathedral, while the people escaped because of blows of the wind.

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Ehmmm...

Ehmmm…

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Shame for their efforts but good for us because if wheater was good here would have been packed and I really don’tt like. Erice is beautiful when there are few people and you walk on the quiet lanes and can look inside a former church from the cracks of the door. Certainly I don’t recommend it in the summer, you should elbowing, literally, and you won’t see anything. In the end we even had fled and we started to walk for the tertiary streets and courtyards. Without the mini (thankfully) confusion during the parade, paradoxically, we appreciated more the medieval atmosphere, but the splash of color of the girls costumes was not bad. 🙂

Floweeeeeeeers :)

Floweeeeeeeers 🙂

Bad weather, nice guy ;)

Bad weather, nice guy 😉

While we put head in the courtyards we even asked an old man to let us admire his one, one of the most beautiful Erice according to him, but I’ll tell you this story another time!

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something,
you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and have breakfast with me write to granveliero@gmail.com