It’s not ur business – it’s “our case” – “The Kingdom of the two Sicilies”

dzielnica_x1There are two separate worlds – here in Sicily. Those separate worlds however, live next to each other in parallel; the world of organised crime and the world of educated people from the higher class of society. The academic world, the world of intellectual elites and the middle class have nothing in common with the world that flows in front of them, still being visible.

The Mafia.

Yeah, that’s the word, the key to understanding how Sicilian society is divided. You may be a student or a working official, but next door to you or on the square where you live, there is a family, whose father has an enormous “sense to do business”, to increase money etc. His brother could be imprisoned with “a life sentence” in “Bicocca”, the special prison for the mafia (there are always separate prisons for “normal” criminals and mafia criminals in Sicily). And you may know that the owner of the bar is from mafia, but you still buy a cup of coffee from him every morning.

A mafia killer can even assure the judges and even friends that he is not “a mafia guy” because he had never participated the “initiation ceremony” with a sign of blood and other things.

Yeah… The problem is, such ceremonies exist only in Hollywood movies, but in reality there are murders and robberies that “initiate” the career of a mafia soldier.

There is too, a long, grey unknown sphere between both these “Sicilies”, where you can find all those people left by the state without any work, future, perspectives and hope. People who live from day to day, stealing, cheating or begging on the streets. Fathers with numerous hungry children waiting for bread at home, and angry wives calling them losers and cheating on them with neighbours. This is the world where the mafia still can recruit its desperate “hostages”.

The Italian state had left them to their fate.



Crazy Pasta


Ok, then. After 1 hour of research, we finally found a good orange, one single orange… and we are at Mauro’s place at the beach cooking together under his instruction. It’s ok.
The recipe of the “crazy pasta” goes like that:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Then add grated raw carrots, celery and onion. Fry them for 3 minutes. Then add lentils from the can (because those raw ones are too hard). Add a little water and cook all for one hour under cover. Add water if it gets too dry. Add a little salt at the end.

Take another pot with water and cook pasta penne rigate.

Then take a frying pan, put in olive oil, chopped onion, a clove of garlic, the sausages (remove the sausage skin beforehand), tomatoes cut into pieces, salt and sugar.

In the meantime take the pot with the lentils and combine it with the contents of the pan and blend them into a homogeneous dense mass. Mash the washed orange peel and add it to the sauce. Combine the sauce with the pasta cooked al dente and serve hot.


Angelo’s uncle


Whilst we look for the ingredients in the recipe, Mauro takes one of the oranges from the basket to his hands and slowly puts it to his nose. I see how he tries to smell it with the passion that I have never seen before.

 – No, it’s not good, that orange. We need to look for others.
– I thought that you just did it before, you told me that you were going to look for good oranges…
– Yes, but I searched in 3 supermarkets and I didn’t find them, they need to be of a good quality.
– So, what’s wrong about those here? – I ask him because I really did not notice anything wrong with them.
– These are too chemical, what we need from them is their skin, and it cannot be full of ageing accelerator, we need to go to Angelo’s uncle, he is an orange producer.

I still remember the story of the orange market in Sicily that by Jacopo. Is it possible that the family of Angelo is involved in mafia business??


Smelling fruit and vegetables is quite often practiced in Sicily. Markets are full of people touching, fondling, kicking and smelling melons, coconuts, oranges and tomatoes. Everything needs to be of the best quality. It is quite impossible for Sicilians to buy immature, overripe or chemically matured fruit.

A big part of life revolves around food in Sicily. It is such an important part of the reality that they could talk about it for hours and hours. And this passion is not related to any profession, economical status or education level. It’s just a natural part of life and it shows the pleasure of life that they just look for all the time.

Carne di cavallo – horsemeat


As the car stops we see with surprise that there are two guys inside. The other one looks like he is Polish with blond, curly hair, freckles, a moustache and blue eyes. He seems athletic, well built and tall. Really strange…, it’s 11 p.m. in the dark Mediterranean avenue and instead of one boy, that I already know, there is the other that appeared now and I completely don’t know what to think.

– Ciao, I’m Angelo! – saying this Angelo comes out of the car to help us put the backpacks into the trunk.
– Listen, you are supposed to prepare dinner for us, va bene? – Mauro takes his role of man from the Middle East evidently, I’m not going to become a cook or servant for that two guys. Forget it!
– What we need is lentils, penne rigate, sausages, tomatos, onion, carots, garlic and celery,  oh – oranges …I almost forgot.
– What? I though that in Sicily you don’t prepare something like “fast food” from sausages…? – I can’t get over my surprise…
– We don’t indeed, but we use sausages in kitchen very often, because they are very well spiced… – Mauro looks completely serious about his recipe.
– Look, Mauro is a professional cook, you should listen to him.

Ok then. We will cook some completely crazy pasta sauce from lentils, oranges and sausages, for God Sake!

In reality there are two or let’s say: three types of what we use to call “sausages” in Sicily. Salami, mortadella and “salsiccia”, which in reality means always raw, spiced with herbs, the meat put into sausage skins made of any possible animal they eat here. It can be pig, cow, calf, sheep, goat, duck, rabbit, chicken or even horse. Sicilian love “carne di cavallo”[IT]*, they are almost crazy about it. There are the whole long avenues dedicated only to restaurants, bars or street grills specialized in serving meat of the horse.

It is served in dozens of ways: as sausages, cecils, steaks, rolls, stuffed rolls etc. And what is really particular, is that they try to respect horses that had provided them meat, they talk about those noble animals with respect during the meal to commemorate them…

 * horsemeat [EN]

Castellammare del Golfo

csmreCastellammare is a lovely little town with a cozy bay where most of the sailors from Palermo keep their yachts, because it’s much more cheaper and safer than in the Palermitian port. It makes us a good impression even in the dark in the late evening. There is a nice square with romantic lanterns where we are sitting now.

There is a guy, we met one hour ago in a supermarket, that we are waiting for. We agreed to prepare some experimental dish together, for fun this evening. But it’s getting late and he hasn’t showed himself. He told us he was going to search for a special sort of oranges because their peel will be essential to what he had in mind. Finally we see as he is arriving in his black Punto trumpeting joyfully having seen us.

Mauro looks a little like having Arabic origins. Well, it’s possible since he comes from Alcamo – a small town close to Palermo which, according to a legend, had been founded by Arabs before 1100 a.d. and was called originally “Alqamah” . It could be considered a paradox that all people in Sicily are still called “cristiani” that means “christians, no matter of their origins or beliefs. “Cristiano” mean “a person” just like that, without any undertones or religious prejudices.

Mauro has that particular glamor of “big boy” that you can always excuse him of all his tricks and fibs. Which is dangerous actually. Because such cute boys are usually quite rascal.

1. Notte. Strada. Una piazzetta oblunga in una piccola città meridionale. Due ragazze sulla panchina. I visi illuminati delicatamente dalla luce del lampione stradale.
Si avvicina una Fiat Punto, colore nero. La portiera di sinistra della macchina è leggermente danneggiata.
Dentro la Fiat ci sono due picciotti più o meno trentenni o quarantenni.
GIULIA: (girando la testa verso FREYA) Ma perché sono due? (si sente l’ansia) Doveva essere solo uno…
FREYA : (guarda GIULIA con un’espressione di sorpresa, non dice niente).
2. La macchina si ferma. L’autista apre lo sportello ridendo. Dall’altro lato esce il secondo picciotto.
Le ragazze si alzano dalla panchina.
MAURO: (sorridendo, la voce allegra) Ciao ragazze, Mauro sono !
ANGELO: Io mi chiamo Angelo …
GIULIA: Giulia…, questa è la mia amica Freya.
Si stringono la mano. Le ragazze mettono gli zaini nel bagaglio dell’auto con l’aiuto di Angelo. Si mettono tutti dentro. La macchina si muove.
3. Dentro la macchina. Le ragazze dietro, i picciotti parlano in siciliano.
MAURO: Chi ni pensi.. Jemu drittu dda o prima a la casa ?
ANGELO: Pensu chi subbitu è già tardu..
Le ragazze parlano in svedese.
GIULIA: Men varför finns det två killar??? (si sente quasi il panico nella voce).
FREYA: Vet inte ?
GIULIA: De är två och vi är två, är det därför?
FREYA: Jag vill inte veta varför…
GIULIA: De pratar sicilienska så att vi inte förstår dem.
4.La strada in campagna, notte buia. Si vede la luna piena. La strada costruita dalle lastre di cemento. I cespugli selvatici su entrambi i lati della strada. Dentro la macchina:
ANGELO: Eh, ragazze, avete i costumi? Andiamo alle terme romane…
MAURO: Si unnannu li custumi ancora megghiu (ride)
GIULIA: Hei! Io capisco il siciliano!
ANGELO: Ma noi non sapiamo che parlate in svedese, non è giusto!
MAURO: Ama essiri attenti, idda capisci tuttu.
5. Notte. Si vedono le montagne vicino. Si sente il rumore del fiume. Quattro personaggi avvolti nei teli si avvicinano allo stabilimento termale. Si vede il fumo che sale sopra l’acqua. Ci sono cinque personaggi vestiti in vestaglie bianche con le teste nascoste, incappucciate. Sembrano quasi monaci. Ci sono le candelle intorno al bordo. Pseudo-monaci borbottano qualcosa tra i denti. I quattro protagonisti entrano nello stabilimento. Vicino alla piccola cascata. Si sente il suono degli spari da qualche parte vicino…


This is what the womb of the sea has taught me. Those who have seen the truth will always be inconsolable. Only he who has never been in danger is really saved. A ship might even appear, now, on the horizon, and speed here on the waves to arrive a second before death and take us away, and have us return alive, alive-but this would not save us, really. Even if we ever found ourselves ashore somewhere again, we shall never again be saved. And what we have seen will remain in our eyes, what we have done will remain on our hands, what we have felt will remain in our souls. And forever, we who have known the truth, forever, we the children of horror, forever, we the veterans of the womb of the sea, forever, we the wise and the sagacious, forever – we shall be inconsolable.

Alessandro Baricco


Francis Bacon “Painting 1946,” (1971)

He likes “dominant woman” who would treat him sharply. He wants to be tied slightly, humiliated, kept on a leash. He has just only strongly submissive fantasies and he couldn’t practice them in his regular life…on the land. He had never told them to his wife because he was afraid she would consider him a pervert. And he doesn’t feel like a pervert. He has just particular imagination and needs. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody or to scare anybody. It’s only as he is, his true self. And he is suffering because he has always pretended to be someone else. He is scared that one day, people who he cares about would discover him and would run away with an expression of disgust on their faces. It is such an effort to fit to people’ expectations…

It’s a sweet romantic afternoon offshore, at the high sea. There is a blue horizon around us and the shape of Sicilian coast far away. The water is incredible and its color harmonizes blissfully with the white board of the yacht. We are all drunk and a little stoned on marijuana. The water sways our boat and I feel like it dance slightly on the surface. And it’s hot. Really hot. The air is hot and humid.

It’s not like I shouldn’t be worrying about that guy whose true name certainly I don’t even know, nor of the place I can’t leave as only need to or wish. But it’s him who is alone on the boat and it’s him who wants to be tied and kicked in the ass, not me. So, what does it tell about the balances of risk between us? Isn’t he risking more than us? Maybe he is just able to trust more or maybe it’s the danger that excites him. It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t attract me, and it also doesn’t matter.

But how do sailors

But where do sailors go
In their white jackets
Always looking for a fight or for a bazaar
But where do sailors go
With their tired faces
Always looking for a girl to kiss
But what do sailors do
When they arrive at the port
They are going to make love in the bar
Someone is alive by good fortune
Someone is dead
There is a widow to pay a visit to
But how do sailors
Recognize the stars
Always the same, always the ones
At the Equator and at the North Pole
But how do sailors
Kiss each other
And remain true men anyway
Going around the world without love
Like a mail package
With no one to ask him how it’s going
And his heart longing for a woman
A heartless woman
Who knows if they still think about it
Who knows
But where do sailors go
Those reckless rogues
With their life in their pants
Their destiny between their teeth
Under the harlot moon and the smiling sky
How do sailors cope
With this boredom that kills them
Asleep on the deck In utter misery
They dream of returning
They get over their hangover
Weary of a life full of mosquitoes
They don’t care to be in the middle of the sea
A sea that gets more and more dull
As time goes by
On this useless route
From Genoa to New York
But how do sailors
Do without people
And remain true men anyway
And going around the world without love
Like a mail package
With no one to ask him how it’s going
And his heart longing for a woman
A heartless woman
Who knows if they still think about it
Who knows

translation from the page:



It’s 10 a.m. and we’re sitting under the blue sky on board of Donchi’s yacht. There is a small table, and he has prepared a seafood meal for us while we were still sleeping in the morning. It looks amazing. He said he had caught some of them by himself! I’ve never eaten raw clams with mayonnaise before. They are orange, have dark shells and incredibly delicate taste.

IMG-20150614-WA0000 (1)

– Look, we call them “cozze”. I’ve put them into the boiling water for 5s only to make them open and…you know…to kill them. Normally it’s too dangerous to eat them like that because usually you don’t know where they came from. They live in the mud at the bottom of the sea, and sometimes there is a lot of contamination in the bays where they are being picked out, especially around Sicily, unfortunately… But now and here, you can be sure they are safe…
– And they are delicious as well! Wow! Look Freya, have you ever seen so big shrimps?? They look like monsters!
– Yes, I’ve tried them once, they are delicious!


I have an impression that Donchi wants to pamper us with food…
– Yea…you can call that “Foodporn” – Freya is reading in my mind, as usual

– You know that we, people of sea, use to say : everything that is happening offshore, belongs to sea, and is not real? – saying that Donchi smiles silly
– Oopss…- says Freya…- what do you mean? Exactly…
– I mean, that what happens afloat happens only there, and it doesn’t exist on the land. It will not be continued or remembered elsewhere. It will be forgotten on the land but will be always present at sea… like a dream.
– Like what?
– Like … people you meet, adventures and pleasure we can give to ourselves…
– Hm… I don’t know…
– We can share love here but we will not attach to each other. Next time there will be other persons in your and my life with who we can share that LOVE.
– You mean “LOVE”? Literally??
– Yes. Because “love” means “to give”, means “to share warmth” and it exactly means to not be attached to anybody, because “to be attached” means “to take”, “to posses” – and it’s opposite to “love”, don’t you agree?
– So…well, I get it, are you expecting to have sex?
– Ahahaha, yes! Bunga bunga! – now that we understood he was joking, we finally can laugh with some relief…

And then, Donchi just recites to us a piece of “Oceano mare”, Baricco’s novel. Just like that, from his memory:

Non è che la vita vada come tu te la immagini. Fa la sua strada. E tu la tua. Io non è che volevo essere felice, questo no. Volevo… salvarmi, ecco: salvarmi. Ma ho capito tardi da che parte bisognava andare: dalla parte dei desideri. Uno si aspetta che siano altre cose a salvare la gente: il dovere, l’onestà, essere buoni, essere giusti. No. Sono i desideri che salvano. Sono l’unica cosa vera. Tu stai con loro, e ti salverai. Però troppo tardi l’ho capito. Se le dai tempo, alla vita, lei si rigira in un modo strano, inesorabile: e tu ti accorgi che a quel punto non puoi desiderare qualcosa senza farti del male. È lì che salta tutto, non c’è verso di scappare, più ti agiti più si ingarbuglia la rete, più ti ribelli più ti ferisci. Non se ne esce. Quando era troppo tardi, io ho iniziato a desiderare. Con tutta la forza che avevo. Mi sono fatta tanto di quel male che tu non puoi nemmeno immaginare.[IT]*


*Besides, it is not as if life goes as you think it does. Life follows its path. And you follow yours. And it is not the same path. And so… It is not that I wanted to be happy, no. I wanted… to save myself, that’s all: to save myself. But I understood late the path one should follow: the path of the desires. One expects other things to save people. Duty, honesty, being good, being just. No. It is the desires that save. They are the only real thing. You stick with them, and you will save yourself. But I found this out too late. If you give life the time, it will turn things around in a strange, inexorable way: and at that point you realize that you cannot desire something without hurting yourself. That’s where everything falls apart, there’s no way out, the more you struggle, the more tangled the net becomes, the more you rebel, the more you hurt yourself. There’s no escape. When it was too late, I began to desire. With all my strength I possessed. You cannot imagine how very badly I hurt myself. [EN]





– His name was Vincent – like that Dutch painter. He was so cute… – Freya is still submerged in memories, and it’s not surprising. Those moments were obviously gorgeous, well…

– Listen, THIS guy told me his name was Donchi. But it sounds strange for a name, don’t you think?

We are in a small cabin on the yacht, and already at sea. I feel as it sways in the water. Donchi offered us this cabin with two beds and sheets, and told us we could just sleep safely, that we could lock the door if we didn’t feel safe and so on. I need some sleep, really. Even though I have never been at sea, and it should be exciting, I still need to rest. I know it probably means I will not see San Vito Lo Capo in the sunlight, and who knows where is he going to take us, but I don’t care. He promised to show us the beauty of blue horizon and it sounded fantastic. I don’t need anything more. Donchi…, who are you Donchi? “A man of sea” – he answered… but I don’t know what did it mean, I never met “sea men” before.


I’m hearing Olga is raising her voice against my friend and is offending her. But I can’t move… It’s the effect of marija. Sometimes it makes you tell things that you have in your head but would never say openly, or even evil things that you don’t mean at all. For some people marija is just too much.
I can see Freya is going away laughing with pity. But I only want to lay down and look at the stars. So I lay in Zdenka’s tent with my head protruding out a little bit. I would like to close my eyes but I can’t, they just want to watch the sky against my will.

Suddenly, instead of stars, I’m seeing two strange eyes close to mine. I feel that I can’t move because the heavy bulk of Zdenka’s body crushed me to the ground laying on me, and her tongue is penetrating my mouth. It’s so horrible and disgusting that I can’t breathe. She is smelling marija, bear and sweat mixed together. I’m trying to move, to stand up, but it’s impossible. Unbelievable! I’m going to be raped by this heavy barrel? Help! I’m here, in Sicily, in the Burning Sand to leave away my nightmares and not to experience new traumas! And from whom? From some Slavic girl, what the fuck!

– Help! Help me! Heeeeeelp!!!!

–  What’s going on here? – hearing this male voice I can finally breathe with relief – at this moment it seems to be the most beautiful voice I’ve ever heard in my life

It’s happening so fast I can’t even tell how Zdenka has disappeared. The only real person now is that short bald guy about 50s standing in front of me with a smile.

– You are my knight on a white horse, aren’t you???
– It seems so ? – and he is smiling charmingly, his voice is cordial and velvety, compensating the fact that he is not particularly handsome – but it doesn’t really matter – finally he is Sicilian
– You know, I have my yacht in a bay close to here, we can escape together, will you do that?
– No, I can’t … I mean I can’t do that now… I need to find my friend, she is somewhere out there, on the beach…
– So, OK, let’s look for her, we can take your backpacks.
There are two naked bodies on the beach, far away from the crowd, poured by the warm sea water. Face to face, chest on the chest… and they both seem to be in another dimension.
I’m getting away from them.
We can wait.