Italian American Digest JT DIGEST Summer 2018 June First (1) - Page 16

L O D I C I I N I T A L I A N O
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ITALIAN AMERICAN DIGEST SUMMER 2018

Sicily : A Feast for the Senses That Draws on a Multitude of Influences

The temple of Concordia in Sicily .

L O D I C I I N I T A L I A N O

Sicilia , perla del Mediterraneo

by Alessandro Steinhaus
“ Non invidio a Dio il Paradiso perché sono ben soddisfatto di vivere in Sicilia .”
— Federico II di Svevia , 1194-1250

Tra le ragioni per le quali la storia e la cultura siciliana sono uniche , occupano un posto importante la sua posizione di fulcro del mediterraneo . Per secoli ciò ne ha fatto la meta di conquistatori di tutto il mondo , e ognuna delle popolazioni che l ’ hanno dominata , dai Greci ai Romani , dai Normanni agli Spagnoli , ha lasciato le sue testimonianze artistiche e culturali . Tali influenze si possono ammirare , ad esempio , nella Valle dei Templi ( dichiarata nel 1997 Patrimonio dell ’ Umanità dall ’ Unesco ), negli splendidi mosaici della Villa Romana in Piazza Armerina , nella Tomba di Costanza Imperatrice nella cattedrale arabo-normanna di Palermo e nel teatro greco di Taormina .

Ma non sono solo la ricca storia e i tesori d ’ arte a rendere unica la Sicilia : lo sono anche le sue bellezze naturali , l ’ ospitalità , il clima , le sue isole e le sue splendide coste .
Non bisogna dimenticare anche che la Sicilia si è sempre distinta per la produzione di ottimi vini , quali il Marsala e il Moscato , il Nero d ’ Avola e più recentemente anche di vini bianchi fruttati e leggeri . Non da ultimo , un viaggio in Sicilia consente di provare buonissimi cibi , come la pasta alla norma , la cassata , i golosi cannoli e tante altre prelibatezze .
by Alessandro Steinhaus
” To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all , for Sicily is the clue to everything .”
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

With these words , Goethe , the giant of German literature , described Sicily during one of his travels in Italy , which lasted from 1786 to 1788 . Anyone who has been to Sicily knows this is not completely true because the island has an utterly different atmosphere from that of mainland Italy . Sicily , unlike the rest of Italy , is not only Italian but also a little bit North African , Norman , and Spanish .

The Arabs and Normans ruled Sicily in medieval times ( the Arabs from 860 to 1091 and the Normans until 1194 ), and left a legacy you can see all around the island . Although the Arabs turned Sicily into an important commercial crossroad , unfortunately not many buildings have remained from those times , with the exception of the baths at Cefala Diana , south of Palermo . The same can ’ t be said of Sicilian cuisine , because the Arab influence added almonds , pistachio , cinnamon , sesame , the mass production of dried pasta , and of course ice cream !
The Vikings came next , including those previously established in France , known as the Normans . After 10 years of war , they succeeded in conquering the invaluable resources of Sicily . At the beginning of their domination , the Normans kept many
The Cathedral of Cefalù , an example of the Norman influence on Sicily ’ s architecture .
of the Arab architects to design some of their buildings , and in this way , they continued to enjoy artistic and cultural influences from the Byzantines , a population previously conquered by the Arabs .
This early medieval period of domination by the Arabs and the Normans allowed Sicily to reach its economic and cultural zenith . Even today , the Sicilians consider their Arab and Norman heritages a matter of pride , which they regularly celebrate .
Do you want to see the reasons with your own eyes ? Then join our upcoming “ Splendida Sicilia ” trip September 1-8 ; only a few spots are left ! Arrivederci in Sicilia !
Pizza , Pasta , Muffalettas , Lasagna , Salads , Catering , and More !
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