Monday, February 03, 2014


I've never been to the town of Misterbianco in Catania Province although its name has always fascinated me. Disappointingly, it only means "white monastery" so there is no "Mr White" floating about in those parts. In recent days, however, I have been consoled by the thought that if I don't manage to get there in life, I may well do so afterwards, for the town's cemetery is to become the first in Eastern Sicily to offer cremation facilities. They are not going to stint on it either, with a crematorium in a space of 2,000 sq metres, a green area and a special room for the Committal.  

A couple of years ago, someone professing to be my "friend" told me I should start thinking about my funeral and I must admit, I was somewhat taken aback.  Italians can be disconcertingly direct when it suits them so I asked another Italian friend whether this could be considered a normal thing to say. He assured me that most Italians would not even make such a suggestion to a 95-year-old. 

Funding has already been guaranteed for the Misterbianco project and, from the end of April, the town's council will begin evaluating three bids for the work, which should be completed one year after the decision. Meanwhile another crematorium project is envisaged for the main cemetery in Catania but no funds have yet been guaranteed. As "a year" in Sicily can mean anything from a decade to a century, I think I'd better disappoint my erstwhile friend and attempt to hang on!

Just for fun, here are a few Sicilian proverbs about death that I have found surprisingly comforting:

Ogghi a ttia rumani a mmia, siemu tutti 'n cumpagnia - You today, me tomorrow; we're all in the same boat.

Morti e malasorti dovunque vai sempri ta puorti - Wherever you go you take death and misfortune with you.

'A morti conza ogni cosa - Death fixes everything.

Cu' nasci tunnu nun po' morire quadrato - If you're born round you won't die square [the implication being that if you're born stupid you won't become intelligent].

How cheering!


Lee said...

And now for something uplifting....I hope you rid yourself of that so-called "friend", Pat.

It never ceases to amaze me how some people still manage to speak when they have their feet in their mouths! ;)

Jenny Woolf said...

What a strange thing to say to anyone. How rude and inappropriate! But I am glad that you can smile at it, too - there is no point in dwelling on behaviour like that.

Laruchka said...

Haha, I do that too sometimes. Someone says something breathtakingly direct and I put it down to cultural differences. Then I check with a friend and it turns out they were just being rude!

James Higham said...

I've never been to the town of Misterbianco in Catania Province

That's two of us, Welshcakes. As for funerals, we've another twenty years yet.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, I have, Lee! Yes, astonishing. Hi, Jenny. Well, you know that old British saying about "putting it down to where it came from"! Hi, Laruchka. I'm glad it's not just me! Better keep telling me, James.

Sean Jeating said...

Memento mori.
I am aware of that I could die while writing this comment. So why should I be shocked when someone else reminded me of that?
I think what some people prefer to describe as 'cultural differences' are intellectual ones.
Uff, anyone thinking, that's rude? :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's one way of looking at it, Sean!


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