Saturday, August 19, 2006


Sicilian proverb:
Cu cammina licca,
Cu sedi sicca
= "He who walks earns something; he who sits wastes away ".
In the film version of Eric Newby's Love and War in the Appenines, Eric, an escaped prisoner of war, is told that he will have to learn to walk like an Italian if he is to avoid capture and walking like an Italian meant slowly. In big cities in Italy, you see the businessmen and women dashing about making hurried calls on their mobiles just as you do anywhere else. But here in Sicily I love to watch the elderly gentlemen out for their morning or evening strolls: they amble along, hands behind their backs Prince Philip style, and have no compunction in stopping, staring at and discussing any event or altercation that interests them. They do this quite openly, which we don't in Britain. We are famously known to peek from behind our net curtains if something unusual happens in the street where we live, but outside the home we don't "stand and stare" much [unless it is at something ghoulish, a national trait which I'm not proud of]. In Britain people wouldn't come out on their balconies [if we had any] to watch something like Monday's water delivery saga, even though we'd be dying to know what was happening!
It is also acceptable, here, for women friends to link arms while walking together, which we don't do in Britain usually. [We might do it out on a hen night or if one of the pair needed help walking; otherwise, it would be making a statement.]
I've mentioned the passeggiata: at a certain point in the evening, particularly a Saturday evening, you bedeck yourself in your finery and walk up and down; you are not actually going anywhere, the point being to meet friends by chance and to be seen. In Modica Bassa the young people use one side of the Corso [main street] and older people the other. There is no reason for this - the shops and bars on either side are not of a type to attract one group rather than the other - it seems to have just happened that way, though the "young side" does have a large square where its walkers can gather. And after the passeggiata? Well, that's it! Very late, they all just go home!


beethoven writes said...

i'm stuffed!

Maria said...

I love the idea of that. I hope to one day experience taking that stroll... leisurely walking saying hello and chattting. Is it really this warm?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sorry, injured cyclist!
"myhearthurts" - yes, it's really this warm! I couldn't have imagined it before coming here. I think you'd love the passeggiata!


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