Articoli-inglese, Senza categoria, storia

THE TRINACRIA (Sicilian Flag)

A Sicilian emblem


I’m a magpie: I can’t resist the charm of flashy and shiny objects. In particular if they are linked in some way to Sicily.

When the idea of living in Sicily was still just a dream for me, the possibility of being able to “wear Sicily” was a way to feel a little of its warmth, even on the darkest days.

One of the emblem I prefer to wear is undoubtedly the Trinacria, so unique and unmistakable, it is representative of this island.

Although it is a recognizable symbol, not everyone is aware of its origin. Now I’ll tell you a little about this special representation, so that, every time you will show it off, you can tell its story!

WHAT DOES THE TRINACRIA REPRESENTS? WHY IS IT CALLED “TRINACRIA”‘?

History and Origins of the symbol that represents Sicily

Like every icon, also the Trinacria has ancient origins that are lost in history of times, and probably it derives frome the oriental symbols depicting the Sun; the idea of circularity and movement to which the ancient spirals refer (which subsequently turned into legs representation), would refer to the apparent movement of the Sun.

In ancient representations, the Triskelion (the name of the ancient symbol), is represented in many different ways and over time, a progressive “humanization” of the emblem has been achieved attributing a female head and legs to it.

The female head, that appears in almost all the reproductions of the Trinacria, is that of a Gorgon (better known by the name of Medusa, one of the three sisters with a stone gaze). In addition to being a very popular representation in the ancient world, the choice of a Gorgon is also interesting because of the repetition of the number three within the representation (the three mythological sisters, daughter of divinities of the seas were: Medusa, Steno and Euriale).

I also find very interesting a Davide Maria Gabriele’s study in which he write about the possibility that, the decision to attribute legs to the Trinacria, may have derived from the Spartan’s custom of depicting a bent leg on the shields (symbol of strenght). Also in this study, Davide Maria Gabriele asserts that, the name Triskeles, derives from the greek Treis Akra, that means Three Capes. (At the end of the article, you will find all the links to the studies I mentioned. – they’re written in italian only – ).

With reference to this, one of the most supported hypotheses is that the three legs represents the three main promontories of the island: Pachino (now called Capo Passero), Lilibeo (now called Capo Boeo), and Peloro (now called Punta del Faro).

In addition to the Gorgon’s head and legs, in the representation of Trinacria are often present ear of wheat; in a study of coniage, Marco Vitale attributes to these symbols the function of representing the importance of Sicily as producer of wheat under in ancient roman times; this study also confirms that the legs can symbolize the different island’s city (in some coins, in fact, the legs are placed in different positions – for example under the chin of the Gorgon – depending on the geographical location to which it refers the coin).

Over the centuries, the Trinacria has become the most representative emblem of this island, so much that it is represented on the flag of the Sicilian Region, which flutters showing the charm of the history and myth that this land preserve.

Below, along with the bibliographical references, you can find some links to the studies I mentioned in the article in order to deepen the subject (all the articles are in italian).

Trinacria sicilian earrings details jewerly
Trinacria Earrings

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES:

  • (Davide Maria Gabriele (2016), Dalla Trinacria alle Puglie: cartografia e mito nelle medaglie borboniche del XVIII e XIX sec., Quaderni di laMoneta.it, http://www.numismaticamente.it );
  • (Solas Boncompagni (2006), Il mondo dei simboli. Numeri, lettere e figure geometriche, Edizioni Mediterranee);
  • (Marco Vitale (2015), Rappresentazioni simboliche della Sicilia sulle monete greche e romane, ” Ormos. Ricerche di Storia Antica, 200-225);
  • (A.Longo (1966), voce Triscele, Enciclopedia dell’arte antica, Treccani Online https://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/triscele_(Enciclopedia-dell’-Arte-Antica)).

LINK:

 

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Articoli-inglese, Cosa fare in Sicilia

Trekking on Etna – Valle del Bove

And this Christmas 2020, is over too! Although family dinners and toasts were banned because of prohibition of gathering, I haven’t deprived myself of any of the gastronomic delights of Christmas’ time and with Panettoni, Cannelloni, Zamponi, and all the other christmas’ Food”oni” it was YOLO time for me!

Now, like every year, I find myself out of breath as I take down the Christmas tree and I think it might be time to finally leave the table and lift something that is not just a fork.

Aided by the closed gym, the best way to get back doing some cardio, is definitely a good walk. When I decide it’s time to exercise and get in touch with nature, a day of trekking on Mount Etna is the best solution for me.

Path to Valle del Bove

If you are a “weekend warrior” like me, a not too tiring but with a great satisfaction path, is the one that leads to Bove Valley, on the eastern side of the mountain.

Leaving the car not far from the Sapienza Refuge, we walked the path called “Schiena dell’Asino” (a particular name that means “Donkey back” and that is inspired by the pace of the path which rises and falls like the shape of the donkey’s back). The walk is not so heavy and it is short-lived, but the view that awaits you at the end of this path is truly unexpected!

During the walk immersed in the trees, you can see the Crateri Silvestri that we left at the beginning of our walk (the craters near the refuge, at 1900 mt. above sea level) and you’ll also enjoy the view of a puffing summit crater.

Arriving at the edge of the slope, the panorama that opens up is incredible: an infinite lava flow, an expanse as black as the night, overlooking the sea; in this depression the magma that springs from the eruptions il collected: here is the Valle del Bove.

At the top there is a lot of wind but the view repays any effort! We stayed here for some time, to observe this breathtaking valley. Accustomed to living our daily lives in front of the blue light of a screen, we feel lost in front of the immensity of this panorama. “The Mountain” (here, the Etna is called only the mountain), is always able to amaze me and being in front of this lava desert give me strange feelings: its immense beauty leads me to admire it with awe.

I assure you that, even in the days following your walk, it will be difficult to forget such an exceptional landscape. A great way to stretch your legs, burn some meal off, and discover the wonders of this unique land!

Trekking on mount etna in sicily, what to do in sicily, nature in catania
Mount Etna (East) – Valle del Bove
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Articoli-inglese, Ricette

RAME DI NAPOLI (catanese biscuits)…why not in Christmas time?

Rame di Napoli – Story, Origin of the name and Recipe of typical biscuits of Catania

It may seem superficial perhaps (and it probably is), but the RAME DI NAPOLI are one of the things that made me fall in love with the city of Catania!
It was the month of October, and I was in town for a short vacation, when at the supermarket I saw those beautiful sparkling chocolate domes.
It was love at the first bite … and, if you think that it was biscuits from the supermarket and without fillings, you can only imagine my reaction when I tried those filled with a thousand creams from the various biscuits and bakeries of the city.

I signed a pact of eternal love with these treats.

ORIGIN OF THE NAME

Although the name may make one think of Neapolitan origins, they are typical biscuits from Catania; the hypotheses on the origin of their name concern the possibility of a tribute to the city of Naples under the Kingdom of the two Sicilies or the existence of a pastry chef called Napoli.
The shape derives instead from the copper coin coined by the Bourbons after the annexation of Sicily to the kingdom.

HOLIDAYS

This biscutits called Rame di Napoli (literally: Copper of Neaples) are usually prepared during Halloween time and in general during Autumn, and you will hardly be able to find them after mid-November.
It may be for their spicy taste, for the presence of cloves and cinnamon, for the sweetness of honey or the opulence of chocolate but these cookies have always seemed to me perfect for Christmas holiday time.
It may also be because the preparation time is quite long and therefore they’re perfect to be prepared during the holidays, spent in the kitchen.

RECIPE

So I decided to prepare these treats to eat during the winter afternoons, with a cup of tea or coffee, as an alternative to the usual christmas’ pandoro or panettone.
To prepare them I was inspired by Mysia recipe, with some changes to meet my tastes.

(Link Mysia recipie (ITA): https://www.misya.info/ricetta/rame-di-napoli.htm)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 280gr of flour 00
  • 100gr of sugar
  • 20 gr honey
  • 40 gr bitter cocoa
  • 80 gr of butter
  • 160 ml of milk
  • baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • orange zest

FROSTING:

  • 100 gr jam / nutella
  • 200 gr dark chocolate
  • 70 gr of butter
  • chopped unsalted pistachios and almonds

Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and mix adding cold butter, spices, orange zest and milk. With the slightly sticky dough create a spherical shape typical of the Rame di Napoli and cook in oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.
While you wait for the cookies to cook, prepare the glaze in a double boiler, melting butter and dark chocolate.
Ready your spiced chocolate biscuits, you can brush them with a cream of your choice: nutella, pistachio cream, jam; I decided to prepare half copper with nutella and half with orange marmalade.
You can now dip the part you covered with cream directly into the chocolate glaze that you have prepared (I am abundant with chocolate at this stage!).
Finish by decorating with chopped almonds and pistachios and let the icing cool for at least two hours.

Here it is, wonderful chocolate domes, full of pleasure and spices! I assure you that the first taste will repay you for all the time spent in the kitchen!

Rame di napoli chocolatey and spicy biscuits can be prepared also in christmas
Rame di Napoli, chocolatey and spicy biscuits…why not during christmas time?

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Articoli-inglese, Senza categoria

The land where winter is warm

When to go to Sicily? Tips to enjoy an autumn at the beach.

When i rented my first house, the landlord told me that the heating costs were included in the rent, so I thought I was a lucky girl.

Later, I noticed the lack of radiators and realized that, in winter, the light sheets I bought wouldn’t be enough to keep me warm.

After spending the winter months in a freezing Prague, where all my good intentions of “living in a sustainable way” were gone, in favour of excessive use of heaters, the lack of a heater in my room seemed to me a tragedy.

What I still didn’t know is that, in the same year, I would have celebrated my birthday in October at the sea.

The climate here is mild, and autumn is sweet as the grapes of the harvests. Autumn, for me, is even more beautiful than sumer, the season of summer and sea.

Here in Catania, in September, all you need is a little determination: when the sky is clear and the sun caress you without the violence of the past months, can be difficult choosing whether to walk in the woods of Etna or swim among the rocks of Acitrezza.

So, I realized that below zero temperatures are not common here and, in December, the average temperature is around 13 degrees.

If I have to reccomend you the best season to visit Sicily, I would certainly say Autumn.

First of all beacause, if you are a libra like me, you can celebrate your birthday by the sea (for someone born far from the coast, is a dream that come true!). For those born in other seasons, you can still appreciate the mild climate and beautiful sunny days without suffering from the heat. In September and October is still possible to bathe, and, for the most daring, even in some warm days in November.

Attention! If you come from cold norhtern lands, don’t be caught umprepared: remember to pack some short-sleeved t-shirt, or you’ll end up like me, looking for some leftovers summer clothes in downtown stores.

Talking about the cold months, even winter here is mild: near the coast, the winter lows are around ten degrees. To find colder wheather you have to go in the inland or go higher. However, if you are a snow lover and think that Sicily is not your cup of tea, you’ll have to change your mind: in the winter months is even possible to ski, in a unique environment in the world: sliding on a fire mountain looking at the sea.

The scorching heat of the summer months gives way to a winter in which you’ll hardly suffer from the cold, but that will allows you to experience the magical atmosphere of Christmas’ time with its craft markets, typical recipes and with a little luck and go higher you could live even a “white christmas”.

Forget the crowdy beach in August and in autumn, migrate south.

Marzamemi in Sicily
Marzamemi

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