Topsy-turvy Carnevale In Acireale, Sicily

Normally, this weekend would be the height of Carnevale in Acireale, Sicily. Carnevale or Carnival is the period leading up to Ash Wednesday and Lent. In pre-Christian times, this outdoor, spring festival, which took place before the arduous planting season, turned everything topsy-turvy: Masters would become the servents and servents the masters. Revelers would hide…

Devoted Cittadini! Cittadini!

Even though this year’s feast for Sant’Agata will not be on the streets because of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is in the hearts of devotees in Catania. If you close your eyes, in your mind’s eye you can hear the thousands in their call and response: “Semu tutti devoti tutti? Cittadini, Cittadini!” “Certo! Certo!” (“Are we…

W Sant’Agata!

Viva Sant’Agata! Word spread throughout Sicily about the brutality that Agatha endured and how she stood strong in her Christian faith through it all (as recounted in yesterdays’ post). Over time, her cult grew. That brings us to contemporary Catanian’s devotion to the virgin martyr that reaches a fever pitch during the annual feast from…

Mount Etna’s First Flora

When you walk on Etna’s craters you can imagine how rich the mineral-filled lavic soil will one day become. It takes 100 to 700 years for lava soil to support new vegetation growth. One of the first natural plants to return (and pictured here) is Sicilian astragalus. Others include camomile flowers, Etna rennet, and tansy…