Simplicity in Cattolica

View on original Evelina site

Many Sicilian folklore songs of the time had been dedicated to immigration. Some refer to it as a prayer

Sicilia Mia (My Sicily)

My Sicily, My land, My beautiful Sicily, My Sicily

My land, in my heart you will always be my Sicily but to America I shall go

Where the language is foreign

But work I will find and money I will make

With you I want to stay

If I could, I would never let you go

How will I do without you, you are my land

When I think of you, nostalgia is at its greatest

All the memories of my heart, forever vivid here with me 

Land of mine, like a daughter of the sun and of great company

Dressed in gold by the rays of the sun

The fruitful beauty of Sicilian women

My Sicily, My land, My beautiful Sicily, My Sicily

dscf1902dscf1906dscf1907dscf1930dscf1949dscf1962dscf1978

At the front door of my grandpa first house. It is now an office.dscf2019dscf2020dscf2045dscf2048dscf2073

The Sacred Stairsdscf2077img_8799

Enjoying freshly made granita: lemon flavored gelatoimg_8818img_8827

Minoa Eraclea beach with the mark of the Turkish Stairs.dscf2090img_9008img_9011Wearing: Dress from ASOS, Zara shoes and Micheal purse and rocking a Fujifilm camera around my neck.

Hi,

I am now in Cattolica Eraclea in the Province of Agrigento in the southern region of Italy called Sicily. Sicily is particularly special to me because it is where my family is originally from before immigration in America in 1954. This part of the trip was dedicated to visiting the houses my grandparents grew up in and to really immerse ourselves in our Sicilian culture.

As I visit the small town of Cattolica, I see how simple it has remained and how it hasn’t changed much since my grandparents left in hopes of a better life. For them America was land of opportunity and growth. Three generations later, here I am living a great life with the chance to go back to my roots.

I dedicate this post to my grandpa, today would have been his 81 first birthday. He would have been so proud to know I’m writing about the time I visited his beautiful and humble home town of Cattolica.

Cattolica is a small town with less than 6000 inhabitants. It is surrounded by chalky mountains and cattle breeding along with sheep farms are commonplace. It is totally normal to see sheep randomly cross the road. Traditional roles are still in place, when visiting the town, I noticed mostly men wondered the streets.

The town was founded by Francesco Isfar in 1612. Cattolica means Catholic with the feminine use of the word. Catholicism is still strong today and every public event is of religious festivities. This village has taken it’s name from the King of Spain who went by the name Sua maesta Cattolica which means His Catholic Majesty in Spanish. In 1874 it became Cattolica Eraclea because of the Greek colony.

We also visited Minoa Eraclea, an ancient Greek town with a beautiful, calm and serene beach marked with white cliffs at the end. The cliffs are called Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks) because the Turks once conquered Sicily followed by the Arab administration. A time when Islam became the main religion without forced conversion. Mosques stood alongside Churches. Christians still had the freedom to practice their religion but had to pay tax. During the Islamic era, Christian girls who were also veiled  used to learn verses of the Quran. The Islamic period lasted a few centuries and eventually Christianity majority was restored in Sicily when the land became a region of Italy.

Sicily has been conquered so many times, each invasion, Greek, Arab and Turkish has left their marks with Greek temples in Agrigento, Arab Mosques in Palermo and Turkish Stairs.

For those who love The Godfather, Sicily is where the movie takes place. The characters speak the Sicilian Italian dialect, which is the native language I speak with my maternal grandparents. Sicilian is a mix of Arabic, Greek dialects and Latin.  When watching the Godfather trilogy, I love to pay attention to the detail in the setting, the cultural mannerisms as well as how they use the language. It is incredibly well done and even if I hear the American accent when Al Pacino speaks Sicilian in the movie, I must say, they got it right! Unfortunately the Sicilian vernacular is dying out as ‘real’ Italian has taken over but I keep it alive haha.

Until next time,

Evelina

 

Advertisements

77 thoughts on “Simplicity in Cattolica

  1. Evelina,

    I’m very much enjoying your posts :). You are beautiful, as well as the land, the people, the culture, and your written descriptions of it all.

    All good wishes,

    robert

    Like

  2. It is so awesome to meet you and read about your little town. little towns are a blessing for they have what the larger ones do not, fellow feeling love and good conscience. Each religion has its beauty, it teaches us to be kind, generous, help people in need and stay together even if they follow a different religion.
    I’m fascinated by the scenery of your little town. Thank you for posting all the pictures. Lastly, thanks a bunch for following my blog. 🙂

    Like

    1. It is so nice to meet you too. I enjoyed reading your ‘about’ section. Many from Bangladesh and Pakistan come to Montreal for studies and more. So glad to hear you enjoyed the essence of this special post. I completely agree, each religion surely has its own beauty and message of kindness. You’re welcome and thank you for enjoying and commenting on this post. Hope Newfoundland is treating you well.

      Like

  3. Great ! It’s on my list for more than a year. After reading your article, m very much excited to visit soon. Being an architect, It was really helpful to know the little bit of history and lifestyle.

    Like

    1. Yes it was one of the best, if not the best travel experience because there was so much to learn about where my family is originally from. Interesting to imagine such a simple life when used to big cities. Thanks, I love that dress too! More on Sicily to come, stay tuned. PS loved your about page! Thought I’d tell you here, I couldn’t find the like button haha

      Like

  4. I loved visiting Sicily when I was in the Navy in the mid-1990s. I remember the narrow streets, looking off in the distance at Etna casually smoking away and the warmth. San Diego has the same climate. Tracing your family history and appreciating where they came from is wonderful. The cultural mix and history is amazing all over the Mediterranean.

    Like

    1. Wow such great memories and such a cool story of how you came about visiting Sicily. I loved San Diego too, I see what you mean, the weather surely is similar. Yeah, I think so too, it was a great experience to see where it all started and what life would have been like without immigration. That is also true, so much culture, I think its what makes visiting these area even more awesome.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. beautiful pictures of where your family was originated. It is a must to go back and visit the history of families and live with them for a while. I am sure your holiday must have also been wonderful as well as emotional. We all want to go home one day! Home is the best place!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, it surely is a beautiful place. I agree, this was a great experience, not just for travel purposes but to see where it all began. Yes of course, but positive emotions. I agree, home is always the best place- my favorite even.

      Like

  6. This post is fascinating, and now I want to learn more about the history and language. I wasn’t aware of the Islamic influence. I guess people of different faiths can live together if they want to. You look very relaxed, happy and at home.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for this lovely comment. Glad you are fascinated. So much history in the region of Sicily, learn away haha. Of course they can, I would think it a misconception to think they cannot. I guess people choose not too but in the end, in my opinion people are people and the basics of life are all the same. Sarajevo is a great example of a place where all faiths live day to day alongside without any issue. Thank you again, I surely was relaxed, happy and visiting my roots. New post on Sicily in just a few hours.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely post! And I had no idea that Sicily had such an interesting story with different cultures and such, depending on who was ruling it and when.

    My parents were born in Serbia and my paternal grandmother is still there (there’s a rich history with my family living in different parts of the world and such). I would love to visit their hometowns someday, when money and time allows.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much. Yes Sicily is so rich in its past history due to being conquered to many times. Yup who was ruling would leave their mark which makes sense. Serbia is cool, I have been to Belgrade. Given the opportunity, I totally recommend going back to the roots to see where it sort of all began. Best of luck in your future travels.

      Like

  8. So many of the seminal people in my life are of Sicilian background, from two of my maternal aunts-by-marriage, to one of my sisters-in-law. Sicily will be a key element in my planned sojourn of 2020-22, as will mainland Italy, and Sardinia.

    Like

    1. Really cool! I think that will be a great trip, I have not been to Sardinia but I have only heard good things and as for Sicily, I would totally suggest a trip here. There are so many different places to see, every region has its own interesting past and the weather is great. Every part of Italy is beautiful. Happy future travels.

      Like

  9. What a wonderful post and you know I loved seeing all the great photos!!! I loved that you honored your Grandpa this way too as I have no doubt he is smiling down on you too! Cute outfit too! The shot of the lady in the chair is so full of soul – love it!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for such lovely compliments. I’m glad you enjoyed the essence of the post as much as I loved putting it together. Yes, I thought is was a nice way to think of him on his birthday. I know right! Italian village life at its best. More on Sicily in a few hours-Stay tuned!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely post. What a wonderful part of the world; the Sicilian part of my ancestry is the only part I’ve not been able to research yet: I’m hoping to find more information on where the family lived… beyond “somewhere south of Palermo” (!)
    Thanks for bringing the place to life. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you so much. Glad to hear you enjoyed the post. I agree, it truly is wonderful. Cool, I would totally recommend a vacation in Sicily if given the opportunity. Sicily has so much to offer, every region has its own story and interesting history. New post on Palermo in the next few hours, stay tuned for more on the beauty of Sicily!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s