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Personal Reflections after One Year of Exploring and blogging on Sicily

October 20, 2012

“Not all those who wander are lost.”   J.R.R. Tolkien


Where do I begin?  I started this blog with no idea of what it would be like after one year.  I just wanted to return to Sicily finally having the time and resources available to explore this beautiful place I love and where I grew up.  This is my 105th post on this blog, so I would like to take a moment to stop and reflect.  I have received feedback from many people and will use it in constructing my reflections.

After living away from Sicily for so many years, I felt the urge to travel around this island,  and see as many places as I could in the time available to me. I had no idea which direction my explorations would take.  I had no set plan. I just had a desire to encounter people, places, traditions, food and more and describe them the best way I could.

This land is a land of contrasts.  There are layers here that are well worth running through. Both in its history, the result of the influence of its many inhabitants over the centuries, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths, Byzantines, Normans, Spanish, and Bourbons, as well as in its natural landscapes which range from deserts to mountain ranges, to valleys and gorges, to rivers and waterfalls, and include the highest active volcano in Europe, Mt. Etna. Then, of course, the coastline which is so diverse and to name a few includes the lava rock beaches close to Mt. Etna, white rock beaches in the southeastern part of the island, golden sand beaches on the southern coast.

Over the past year, I have put over 23,000 kilometers on my car, by driving around and around. At times, I have taken a few days to explore one area and lodged in location, at other times, I have left home early in the morning and returned before dark. I have seen a lot, but I realize there is still a lot to see. Soon, I will be heading back to my home in Virginia, but plan to return to Sicily in 2013. In the future, I hope to still have the opportunity to continue these explorations as I feel I have just touched the surface. Nonetheless, there  is so much I have seen and done and not had the time to write about yet, so I may do so while I am away.

Now, I would like to address some topics that come as a result of the questions I have been asked over the last few months.  I have been told that while enjoying reading about my explorations some would have enjoyed seeing me in the pictures, too.  I intentionally did not place many pictures of me in the posts as I wanted the description to be about the experiences and the places and not focus on me.  However, I couldn’t resist, at times, and did post pictures of me skiing Mt. Etna when Etna decided to start an eruption behind my back or when attending a Sicilian wedding as I sat with shoes in hand and tired feet.

Furthermore, I have described natural landscapes, traditions, food, hotels, restaurants, B&B facilities, sustainable farming activities, with the sole purpose of sharing the stories.  I have invested a lot of my time to carry out these activities and then write about them, but have done so with passion. When asked if I have received compensation from anyone, I have replied that the reward  has come in the human interaction with so many wonderful people I have met and so many stories I have heard and shared with my readers. I am humbled by these encounters.

In reading the statistics on my blog over the last few months, I have learned that as of today, there have been 6,580 all-time views of my blog and since February 25, 2012, it has been read in 75 countries.  I never thought of any of this when I started, but it is a great feeling to know that so many people in so many places have read about Sicily through my words and experiences.

Finally, I would like to thank my followers, those who have written comments on my blog, and all who have read my blog. I will just mention the top three comment writers, friends who belong to three different chapters of my life.  There is Pamela De Leon, author of The Savage River Valley, Pamela and I met many years ago when we taught at the same school in Fairfax, Virginia.  Pamela’s ongoing comments to my blog have been a great source of encouragement.  Then there is Maria, my close childhood friend, who also moved away from our hometown of Catania and lives and works in the town of Caltagirone, well-known for its ceramics. Maria’s comments on my blog have been heartwarming.  In one of my posts, I wrote about a medical school graduation, Sicilian style. The graduate was Gabriele, Maria’s youngest son. Then there is Holly, whom I met while living in Lubbock Texas, and who is accidentally the reason why I started a blog.  When commenting on her blog in summer of 2011, I received a message from wordpress encouraging me to start my own blog, and so I did. Holly Easley is writing a blog about her cancer journey and by doing so offers a testimonial of hope to those who may be experiencing her battle. Last but not least, there are my followers and the many readers who either know me or just stumble upon my blog.  Knowing that my descriptions reach so many out there is very rewarding.

In conclusion, I will post a picture of the highlight of my travels this summer.  It was when my children, Michael and Julia, and Julia’s boyfriend, Chris, visited me.  First, we met in Pordenone where our family lived when the children were young. In Pordenone, we visited our dear friends, the Martins.  Then Michael, Julia and Chris came to Sicily. We enjoyed fun times on the road together and made some wonderful memories.

This picture of us was taken at my brother, Mike, and his wife, Elena’s home in Piedimonte Etneo, on the foothills of Mt. Etna.




  1. Rosanna, I so hope you will continue blogging….I have loved every post! And I love you!


    • Hello Darling! Thank You!

      I hope all is well with you!

      Sending you a huge hug!



  2. Elena Berlot permalink

    Ciao Rody, io ti ho sempre letta ma non ti ho mai scritto un commento…. sei bravissima, sempre interessante e mai banale. Love you


    • Ciao cognatina! Lo so che mi leggi e mi fa molto piacere. Grazie!!!

      Un bacione e ci vediamo in Virginia a Natale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  3. pamela permalink

    Although I shall be thrilled to see you once again in the States upon your return, I shall miss the posts on Sicily. I loved this post…so human, so feeling, so Rosanna! I cannot tell you how much joy reading your blog has brought me. I am looking forward to seeing you, but also looking forward to 2013 and more on Sicily. Always, pamela


    • THANK YOU, Pamela. Looking forward to meeting you soon in the States and enjoying a good glass of Italian wine together. I know we have a lot to talk about!


  4. lorella permalink

    te lo ripeto, rosanna: leggerti è sempre un bel momento! love, l&n


    • Lorella,

      Grazie! mi da gioia sapere che mi leggi….

      Un bacio a te e Niccolo’, quel gioiello con boccoli d”oro!


  5. we ate sushi permalink

    FABULOUS BLOG!!! Great chat today. Please email me, I have some links you may find of interest. PS love all entries read so far, and especially handpainted art carts. Kudos also to Ms. Chiarenza’s life. Also,love keeping the older arts alive & appreciated! Barely scratched surface of your blog tonight. Beautiful place!


  6. we ate sushi permalink

    PS- rap55 now a bookmarked shortcut on my android’s main screen icon I use for favorite few blogs. I titled the link “Rosanna’s Sicily” 🙂


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