WINTER, 1956 GIUSEPPE TOMASI DI LAMPEDUSA,THE FAMOUS WRITER OF THE NOVEL “THE LEOPARD”, WROTE THE SHORT TALE “LIGHEA” OR “ THE MERMAID”, WHO SURFED THE SEA WAVES OF CAPO SANTA CROCE WHERE OUR GUESTROOMS ARE. INDEED IN 1916 GIUSEPPE SERVED THE ARMY IN AUGUSTA AND THE ELDEST LOCAL INHABITANTS OF AUGUSTA TELL THAT HE FELT IN LOVE WITH ONE OF THREE BEAUTIFUL ARISTOCRAT SISTERS, WHO NEVER EVENTUALLY GOT MARRIED. IN THEIR VILLA THE YOUNG STUDENT OF THE NOVEL WAS SUPPOSING TO PREPARE ITS DISSERTATION, BUT INSTEAD HE FOUND THE BEAUTIFUL MERMAID LIGHEA AND THEY MADE LOVE JUST IN THE SEA BAY OPPOSITE TO OUR BEDROOMS.
I COULD QUOTE THE DESCRIPTION OF THE PEACOCK'S COLOURS OF THE SEA, THE BENEVOLENT VIEW OF THE ETNA VOLCANO OR THE RELEVANCE OF MELILLI FOR ITS ZAGARA HONEY, BUT I WOULD RISK TO SPOIL YOUR CURIOSITY OF READING THE BOOK AND APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY OF SUCH NOVEL YOURSELF IN ITS NEAT SIMPLICITY.
THEREFORE I TELL YOU THE STORY OF A SILENT FRIENDSHIP, YES SILENT, BECAUSE IN SICILY SILENCE TELLS MORE THAN WORDS. THIS IS THE LAND OF “OMERTA'” AFTER ALL. THE PAINTING BELOW IS A SPECIAL GIFT FROM THE GUARDIAN OF THE LIGHT HOUSE, ANTONIO, WHO WELCOMED MY SUMMER BREAK HERE IN SICILY WITH SUCH WORDS: “I HAVE A SURPRISE AT HOME THAT I WANT TO SHOW YOU”. AND IT IS SUCH SURPRISE WHICH I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ALL AND MAKE IT THEREFORE IMMORTAL THROUGH THE WEB. ANTONIO LIKES, AMONG MANY VIRTUES, PAINTING. TALENTED AND AFFASCINATED BY THE ART NAIF AND THE MODIGLIANI LONG NECK PORTRAITS HE WILL SHOW HIS PERSONAL FREE EXHIBITION FILLING YOUR LIFE WITH NEW ENTHUSIASM AND SENSE OF GRATITUDE. IF YOU ARE PARTICULARLY LUCKY YOU COULD EVEN GET A LIFT TO THE TOP OF THE LIGHT HOUSE. FROM THERE YOU CAN SNEAK THE TEMPTING EYE BLINK OF THE MERMAID, SO DO NOT FORGET YOUR SPYGLASS!
Like in the famous Neil Diamond’s song, September mornings have something special. We’ve spend long nights in the terrace under the starlight to discuss the same argument over and over. When you come back from your holiday, or even while your holiday are just coming to an end, a sense of sorrow and melancony takes over. People tells Summer is over, it is September, as if Nature should adjust to reflect our sentiments and our sollicited return to daily job routines. Did you ever hear your friends to say “I need an holiday to recover from my holiday”? Well, Nature does not feel like that, and every month is part of the overall masterplan of Nature, every month brings its own treasures. While we quietly sail the Sea to explore the beauty of the old forthress of Brucoli with the kayaks, Nature is still activily wrapping its fruits for the coming month, and in the hot dry weather it comes the first golden jewells, zibibbo grapes, from which it comes the sweetest Sicilian wine. Nature is wonderful in every month, every month brings the joy of Summer for the ones who are able to watch ahead.
And there is a different way to crack the dawn that happens once a year on the 4th of February in the City of Catania. It deserves no comments and for once, only the italian lyrics of the song that carries this three day long mystic experience between our Beloved and Her citizens, while shouting till no voice is left: Cittadini, tutti devoti tutti? And we waive back “cettu, cettu”.
“Inneggiamo alla, martire invitta Rifulgente di luce divina Inneggiamo alla grande Eroina Presso l’ara cosparsa di fior Anelante di palpiti sacri Si diffonda la gioia nel cielo Ed all’ombra del mistico velo Sorga l’inno festoso dei cuor.
Rit. Tu che splendi in Paradiso
Coronata di vittoria
o Sant’Agata la gloria
Per noi prega di lassu’.
Esultante nei duri tormenti
Luminosa nel carcere oscuro
Ella affronta con animo puro
Le minacce d’un uomo crudel.
Non ascolta le vane lusinghe
Le promesse d’un sogno radioso
Vince il fuoco e del cielo armonioso
L’innamora l’eterno splendor. Rit.
Per i secoli vola il suo nome
E risuona pei monti e sul mare
Circonfuso di sole l’altare
Il Suo Corpo conserva fedel.
Sul leviam cittadini l’evviva
Al valor centenario, possente
Di colei che pregava morente
Il Signor della vita immortal. Rit.
There are several ways to experience the dawn. It can be a long nightout ending too late, an early shift at work, the time to catch an airplane for your next destinations… This is our personal experience of the dawn. Both the one we love the most and the hardest to swallow. Winter is made for this vision to come everymorning from the terrace of our premises. Stars leading the way to the new day. Moon turning shy and disappearing at the presence of Sun. And colours everywhere to appear again discovering the presence of the fishermen’s boats that will download their net over our barbeques in just few hours.
< And the the hard bit is when you anticipate the Sun to catch the return fly. Moving to the buzz of metropolitan life has the glamour without having the gentle touch of a sunlight sliding over the Sea to warm up your sleeping face with its kiss. Yet the Etna mountain, our Mongibello, as you have leanrt it by now, is there with its white hat and smoking pipe, to witness both our repeated farewell and arrivederci!
Winter is never dull and dark in Sicily. Even when the horizontal masterwheel of Primo Passo is sleeping, Nature shows her benevolent face to the people who can see. I post here for the first time a couple of pictures, unusually taken by some new friends of this venture. All the pictures in this website are accountable and shot directly. Those friends of us have captured the very unique moments of the striking signals of Mother Nature presence. The first is courtesy of Enrico, who captured Casa Primo Passo sorrounded by a fleet of migrating birds.
The second is the picture of a short eruption from our vulcano Etna last 12th Jan, a picture taken from our location in Capo Santa Croce. You will appreciate how close the lava strips seem to the lights of Catania, as if the city itself was in danger. It was not. The contrasting colours of city life, dark sea, white snow let us breathless. But do not be worry and enjoy this as you would enjoy the fireworks at New Year’s Eve. The Etna vulcano, the highest active vulcano in Europe (more than 3,000 meters), is called by natives ‘Mongibello’, which means ‘beautiful mountain’, a tender parental word of love from its inhabitants who have been receiving the benefits of highly fertile vulcanic soil for centuries and centuries.
Christmas is a slow moving joy that builds up over the previous days. Nature is offering colours all suddently. Orange and tangerine trees turns full of orange and red balls. Lemon trees turn their green lemons into bright bleached yellow. Christmas flowers start spontaniously paint themselves in red dressing code. We mow the land for the new season while the Etna vulcano starres at us with its pale white hat. Sky is blue and the earth is still fresh and soft as we just cracked the dawn. It is colours all over and we feel alive and happy. We cannot keep all this joy within us, so we grab few tangerines, and we wrap them into tiny bags and send it out to our friends in Milan. The best we can do to wish our friends a merry natural Cristmas is to let as many of you share those gifts that Mother Nature has given us again this year. Merry, simple, mindful Christmas to all of you who passed by and donated some of your precious time to read this through.
In Sicily calendar is set by the upcoming Saint’s celebrations and November is when we celebrate Saint Martin. Typically this is the farewell time to Summer and this means more than 20 degrees and still acceptable water temperature for the last baths of the year. It went as predicted and we enjoy a long day by the beach, starting at 6,30am to enjoy the view of the dawn from our terrace and then continuing sippig cappuccino in shorts blessed by the warm sunshines. And while getting ready, suddently the bells were ringing, cows’ bell more precisely! Landscape at this time of the year is green and offer great pastures for spoiled cows enjoying the spells of sunshine by the coastline. Milk and cheese will come soon, so please stay tuned and subscribe here!
It was beginning of August when we wanted to leave the Summer with a memorable farewell. Seasons have the passion of the human beings in Sicily and they grow wild as the the Sun raises. A party for 50, a terrace crowed of happy folks? Yes we can do it… so me and a friend of mine started to make another dream coming true. He brings karaoke machine to let everyone practising their talents.
I had drems of my own, I confess I wanted to be a dj when I was teeneager, so what a better chance to play music? And another sexy fantasy of mines was being a cocktail barman. So I went to PrimoPasso to get green flauvory lemons (yes, lemons are green, not that dark yellow our hypermarket downstairs tought us) and fresh mint from the courtyard and make my freshly mojto with passion. I was talking about this with a friend today. What we want is to taste love in food, not just organic not just a label but a love experience, the one that the peasant and its tree only experience about. Mojto with passion, squeezed one by one, filter in shaker and serve out of the balcony made me feel more authentic than a prefessional. The night went ahead in its flowerish dresses and its shooting stars till the moment there was neither thirsty nor voice in our throats. And the day after, just a magic dish appeared on the table… it is wonderful to share dreams with friends. Thanks a lot to the friend who gave me such a thoughtful surprise.<a
">In Sicily we learn a lot from old traditions. Summer has always been associated with leisure and entertainment, while Winter being considered harsh and bit depressing. This translates into human relationships too and therefore the motto tells us that if you had fun with a partner met in the jolly season, you should stick with him/her during dull time as well! The partner of choice is the one you can enjoy every season with, not just the sexy bit… oh good old days! And around here time seems never passing, government changes, people live and die, airport gets flooded with tourists during Summer, yet you walk and see the same old PIAGGIO APE50 standing by the pedestrian pavement, dressed with colourful red and yellow handmade paintings, to sell fruit and vegetables in wooden cases for as much as you need to get rid of heavy coins in your light summer shorts.
At Primo Passo we try to keep the good taste and forget what we do not like. What is better than the view of the moon rising embarrassed from the sea to catch the last shine of the sun and then standing up proudly in solitude to fill the terrace with its lights and warm up the waves at night?