The Aventina

Western Sicily, a place worth exploring

Bojan Zeric, Reporter

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Detached, and yet connected.

Equal, and yet so different.

Close, and yet so far.

No, three days were not enough for me to unveil and fully comprehend the complexities and the potential the Sicilian ground has to offer. Too many factors to analyze, too many observations to make, too many aspects to point out. There is no way for me to get a big picture that will be accurate enough to do it some justice.

I am convinced that the context I went in, a school trip with close friends, was appropriate; and my mindset, curious but with no big expectations,was potentially good enough to get something unforgettable out of it. And yet, as I set foot on the plane that would bring me back to Rome from Palermo, I realized that those three days, so full of images, smells, voices, emotions, left me no instruments to come up with a satisfactory portrait of the island; just a weird feeling, eerie and yet tempting. A feeling that I was leaving something much bigger than I could ever imagine. A feeling that that island deserved another visit.In the world of art, culture and dialects that Italy has been for the past centuries, Sicily represents an exception, an autonomous organism that needs nothing but itself to keep functioning. And that couldn’t be any different. Its history, so peculiar because so full of diversity, simply won’t allow it. Romans, Muslims, Normans, Bourbons. While the Italian peninsula was going through its wars, Sicily was living it

 

 

 

 

s own history; a history of trade, battles, invasions, a history of different cultures and religions. Many peoples set foot on Sicilian ground over the centuries, and each of them left something behind, a mosaic of Jesus being as blonde as a Norman warrior in the cathedral of Cefalù; a dialect that includes idioms coming from Latin, Arabic, Spanish; a set of genetic traits that make up the most varied combination of people I have ever seen in the same place.

Ten kilometers. That is the whole distance that separates Sicily from the Italian peninsula. In today’s world of instantaneous communication and fast travelling, nothing. An insignificant value that a common car could erase in less than ten minutes. And yet those ten kilometers were what allowed Sicily to become unique and autonomous from the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

Sicily has its own capital, Palermo, which has nothing the other Italian cities don’t envy; it has its food, extremely peculiar and tasty; it has its typical Mediterranean nature, absolutely stunning to walk through; it has its own mindset, in which local people are always welcoming and curious to hear about who you are and where you come from; it has its own dialect, full of influences from different languages.

 

Sicily is a place worth exploring and worth learning more about because there is no other place like it anywhere in the world.

 

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Western Sicily, a place worth exploring