Author(s): Shamus Sillar
Packed with history, culture, misadventure, and a little Mafioso action, the story of a newly married couple and the year they spent in Sicily
Gill and I had dreamt of living in Italy for as long as we'd been together.
This is the story of an Aussie couple who sought a Mediterranean Sea change only to find themselves in the sprawling Sicilian city of Catania—the "anti-Tuscany" of Italy. There, any romantic visions they'd had of restoring a villa or stamping their entwined feet in vats of Chianti grapes disappeared faster than the chief witness in a Cosa Nostra trial. Shamus and Gill's tiny apartment in Catania was located in a grim neighborhood opposite a triple-X cinema and a shop selling coffins, nearby Mount Etna erupted soon after their arrival, a mystery ailment left Shamus in a neck brace, they crashed a Vespa, and they had regular dealings with at least one Mafioso. This, then, is an Italian sea change with grit. But it's also a story of optimism, endurance, and acceptance; an exploration of the minutiae of Sicilian culture, history, food, and religion; and an example of how to find beauty—and humor—in the most unexpected of places.