Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Looking in shop windows at the enormous reductions offered in Modica's post-Christmas sales, it occurred to me that the reason why stores will slash prices to levels that would give UK shopkeepers multiple heart attacks is that Italians, and Sicilians in particular, still think seasonally.  Therefore it is assumed that no one wants to buy winter clothing once Christmas is over and that no one would dream of buying a swimming costume or sundress after about mid-July.  The idea that some customers may be planning to take holidays in different climate zones seems never to have crossed a store manager's mind here and if you were to ask for out of season clothing you would meet with the same pitying look that you would get if you were to express a desire for ice cream in December.

Thus it is that the Marina di Modica, full of happy sunseekers in summer and virtually deserted in winter, finds itself unloved, uncared for and a sorry sight indeed.  Trees that were damaged in last November's storms lie where they fell, the wide boulevard's plants and green spaces are untended and what could be a major winter tourist attraction is not fulfilling its potential.  Why?  Not, I would guess, merely because the comune lacks money but because of a lack of imagination:  What will it take to convince the powers that be here that people from colder countries want to come to Sicily in winter and when they get here, strange though it may seem, they may well want to walk along the beach, just as others come in summer because that is when they are free  and when these intrepid travellers arrive here they expect tourist attractions to be OPEN!

Better tourist news, however, comes this week from Catania, where some enterprising residents of San Berillo, the former red light district, have had an inspiration about how they might turn a negative image of the city into a positive one:  they are thinking of running tours of the area so that visitors can imagine the atmosphere of seedier times  and  see where films such as Il bell'Antonio [1960] , I Vicerè [2007] and the TV miniseries Il capo dei capi [2007] were made.  Well done, the Catanesi and watch out, Amsterdam!


rosaria said...

Nobody walks the beaches in winter? Yes, lack of imagination,or group think to the extreme. After all, standing apart from the crowd is risky business.

Winchester whisperer said...

Soggy seasides can be depressing but one of the great joys in my life is to go down to Bournemouth beach on a bright winter's day like today.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'd like to walk your beaches in winter. Thanks for this view into your world. Your life sounds most interesting and you, very brave.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Very few people, Rosaria. You are right about standing out from the crowd. That must be nice, WW. Very kind of you to say so, MJH. Perhaps you will come and visit one day!


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