Talking about Sicily is a glorious and painful undertaking, it’s both a cry and a lament, a fierce proof, because what elsewhere is different, here has its place in the dimension of the divine. Everything here looms like a destiny: it’s to be born there, when at the exact moment when you open your eyes to life you receive the desire to leave it as a gift, it’s in the dangling step of the days of its people, it’s in the burning desire to return.
Sicily is an island, and like every island it carries with it the sign of a distance that isn’t only geographical, because here, surrounded by the sea, the feeling of drift matures, like a ship without mooring. Uncertainty reigns, immanence dominates. The absence of boundaries disturbs and knowing oneself in the finiteness of a limit dismayed: when the sea is the only opposite, loneliness cultivates the will to be other than oneself.
However, if no one more than a Sicilian embodies instability, no one else, on the other hand, lives like him in the space of the eternal. In him everything dissolves and everything gathers in the sign of metaphor: words, gestures are seen against the backlight of a watermark that reveals riches of meanings. Nothing is what it looks like. Sitting in the unstable slope of one’s identity, there’s no Sicilian whose soul isn’t suspended between the elegant lyricism of a divine vision of Creation and the naked accounting of tiring living.
Everything comes from there, from living on the drift threshold and therefore it seems more than normal, if not in terms of reasonable salvation, to try to be other than yourself, if only to avoid letting fate recognize you immediately when it arrives. Some say that Sicily doesn’t know the meaning of the future, which is knowing itself in the hands of an almighty god to prevent it. This may also be a deception, another of its amazing suggestions or a vision clouded by an ancient heritage. Here, the hunger of the new seething in the new gestures and new desires of its young men, in which passion and redemption are rampant like fever.
Benign land, stepmother land. Gave his sons olive or jade eyes. The skin as white as saline or brown as parched clods. Blonde wanted their hair, like the ripe wheat of his highlands or curly like blackberry bushes. They are all his own sons, and he dispersed them in equal measure so that they would look for each other and then find themselves in the apparent inconsistency of the inflections, as if even the words were assigned the role of multiplying identities; and this mixing of people, of life, of tears composes the terms of a grandiose and terrible contradiction, the sign of a human condition forced to coexist with differences, resolving them in the suggestive territory of visions.
Once again deception dominates the real to become reality itself. Only the elements here are true. The sun that burns the skin is true, the shadow that opposes and restores it is true; the rainy clouds are true, those that pass fast are true; the wind that plows the faces is true, the breath that caresses them is true, the sea is true, the fire is true. The rest is a stage where everyone recites his story, bitter and caressing like memory.
And its cities are made of memory, of a memory that besieges the human soul to devastate it with memories. The childish amazement with which we look at them, as we look at a sunny expanse that crumbles the clouds, reminds us that the safest gestures, the clearest ideas, the most logical intentions are nothing more than the fruit of a congenital thrill. In Sicilian cities there are no actors, there is no acting. Of the Sicilian cities everybody’s his gestures. Not everyone is given the dark privilege of trampling piles of centuries or taking advantage from the fragrant memory that smells of childhood. Among the alleys, streets and squares, the detachment from the present is consumed every time to sink into the suggestions of a time that you would like to be present. Those who return there are looking for nothing but themselves, to find themselves in the childhood laughter that broke the summer quiet, while the gaze wanders in search of that ancient humanity that inhabited every single street.
The city doesn’t belong to man, it’s the man that belongs to the city and therefore will always remain sweetly prisoner of it, always in balance between light and shadow.
1. MODICA, in the province of Ragusa, the birthplace of the photographer Federico Cannata. This baroque city, a World Heritage Site, has a unique millennial history because it was dominated by the Greeks, Byzantines, Arabs and Spaniards. Small houses and architectures are perched on a large canyon. When you get here you have to taste its chocolate which is not found anywhere else in the world. To see the Cathedral of San Giorgio, the Castle and the “Pizzo belvedere” the highest part of the city.
2. RAGUSA IBLA, it is the oldest part of the city of Ragusa, also in perfect late baroque style. We recommend visiting it on foot to get lost in its streets and old neighborhoods full of charm. To visit the Cathedral of San Giorgio, the Municipal Garden with the Belvedere and the “Trabacche” Cave of prehistoric age. Ragusa Ibla is very romantic, highly recommended for young couples in love.
3. SCICLI, you arrive in this town through a fascinating landscape full of steep limestone walls, carob trees, low walls, churches and quarries, and we come to the sight of what we would call a gem in the heart of Sicily. Famous for being the set of the Italian fiction of “Inspector Montalbano”. To visit: Via Francesco Mormino Penna, Palazzo Beneventano, Church of S.Bartolomeo, Church of S.Matteo which stands on a rock
4. MARZAMEMI, is a small seaside village, in the province of Syracuse, where the beaches are golden and the sea is crystal clear. Especially in the summer it is loved by young people who flock to it the characteristic places that animate the coast with wonderful aperitifs. Famous is its Piazza Regina Margherita, characteristic for its ancient church, colorful restaurants and small craft shops.
5. ORTIGIA, is a small island which constitutes the oldest part of the city of Syracuse. Already inhabited in the Bronze Age, it is still a destination for tourists from all over the world and for many young people who attend universities, such as architecture. Its streets and white squares have been film sets and commercials. A view of the Duomo, the ancient temple of Apollo, the Castle of Maniace and La Fonte “Aretusa” are recommended, an essential stop for every visitor.
6. NOTO, called the capital of the Baroque in Sicily, the entrance to the historic center is announced by the Porta Reale, a triumphal arch built for the visit of King Ferdinand II of Bourbon King of the two Sicilies. Corso Vittorio Emanuele will open in front of you, which houses the imposing Cathedral. Here, every year, “L’infiorata” is organized, an artistic event that sees the creation of works of art through the use of flowers only.
To visit the Via Nicolaci, a sloping road bordered by beautiful Baroque palaces, characterized by balconies with mythological sculptures adorned with mermaids, cherubs, horses and even lions. This city was chosen by the influencer Chiara Ferragni to celebrate her wedding.
7. CATANIA, is an ancient port city on the east coast of Sicily. It is located at the foot of Etna, an active volcano with paths that reach its summit. The large central square of the city, Piazza del Duomo, is characterized by the picturesque statue of the Elephant Fountain and the Cathedral, richly decorated. In the southwest corner of the square, “Pescheria”, the fish market held on weekdays, is a lively show surrounded by restaurants serving fish.
8. TAORMONA, a place of great charm and beauty, the splendid Sicilian town has seduced poets and writers, attracted illustrious travelers, welcomed celebrities of international fame. You must absolutely see its Greco-Roman theater, and then stroll along its medieval streets, to admire its breathtaking views, taste its excellent gastronomy and finally relax in the sun on its wonderful beaches, you will be enchanted.
9. PALERMO, is the capital of Sicily. A unique place in the world full of monuments, churches and works of art. As soon as you arrive, we recommend eating a fresh “Lemon Granita” (prepared with water, ice, sugar and a juice) and then the typical “Cannolo” with ricotta flavor in the evening. To visit The Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni and the Palatine chapel, Fontana Pretoria and the suggestive markets “Vucciria” and “Ballarò” to live a visual and olfactory experience.
10. ISOLE EOLIE, it is a volcanic archipelago north of Sicily, they are a perfect destination for a last minute holiday. Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. Seven islands in seven days. Crystal clear sea, dream beaches, unspoiled landscapes and many flavors to taste are the traits of these islands. You can rent a small yacht to experience a real adventure.
Author || FEDERICO CANNATA, GIUSEPPE CICOZZETTI
Photo || FEDERICO CANNATA