Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

My sister in law is moving to Sicily-any tips/suggestions?

My sister in law is moving to Sicily-any tips/suggestions?

Jan 14th, 2006, 11:10 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
My sister in law is moving to Sicily-any tips/suggestions?

My sis and bro in law just found out they will be stationed in Sicily for 3 years with the Navy. I'm SO jealous! They are a bit nervous having never even been out of the US let alone living anywhere else (I should say he's been out but she hasn't) We haven't visited Sicily YET (Sicily Here I come!) Does anyone have any tips for them?
swalter518 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2006, 11:21 AM
  #2  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
I don't really understand what kind of tips you're looking for, so I'll give you an obvious one to start.

Tip#1: Learn the language!
.
cmt is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 05:29 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
Given that we have never been to Sicily but have travelled through Italy, are there any cultural specifics to Italy that people can chime in on?

As for the language, the military mandates some langauge courses so that's a given.
swalter518 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 06:18 AM
  #4  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
OK, here are some less obvious tips.

Some old traditional ways are a little stronger in Sicily than elsewhere. Unlike in big cities on the mainland or even smaller places in the north, it would look very out of place to wear shorts or really skimpy tops or very sloppy sweatshirts other than in a resort, beach, or hiking situation.

A much more important cultural tip: Drunkenness is very frowned upon and stands out as very weird. However, alcohol is widely enjoyed in moderation. Almost everyone enjoys wine with meals, and strong liqueurs (often homemade) after dinner are popular.

If you're an "animal person," look closely at the dogs. Many of the mixed breeds are partly descended from a dog that's native to Sicily. I think it's called cerneca, or something like that. If you like horses, note that there's a breed of horse found only in Sicily. You can find them in San Fratello, in the Nebrodi Mts. area of the province of Messina. The Nebrodi Mountain area is a good area to spend sopme time in if you like natural places and unspoiled, untouristy towns. But you need to speak Italian at least somewhat to communicate with people there.
Pay attention to the folk music, which has strong elements of Arabic or Greek or other cultural influences. Learning folk songs may also be a fun way to learn a few words of dialect.

The vocabulary and some of the pronunciation of dialect varies in different parts of Sicily. The melody of spoken Italian also varies in different parts of Sicily, but all Sicilians (excpt very old unschooled people) know standard Italian. They often speak Sicilian among themselves, but will speak Italian right away if they know you're a foreigner (assuming you know some Italian).

The food is delicious and very interesting. It has been influenced by all the cultures that have dominated Sicily over the centuries and it uses the wonderful natural products of the island (and the sea). It also varies quite a bit in the various geographic areas of the island. Look for unusual flavors--lots of use of wild fennel leaves in flavoring, all sorts of sweets from cookies to candies to drinks made of almond (including sweetened bitter almond), citrus eaten fresh and used in both sweet and savory recipes, combinations of flavors that may seem unusual, but that work (e.g., anchovy and raisins together, or bitter cocoa in a savory dish), very fresh fish and seafood in coastal areas. Granita is wonderful. Lemon is most common and may still be my favorite, but coffee is also common, and tyhere are less common flavors like cinnamon or almond or all kinds of berries and fruits--the best ones totally natural and simple.

Try to go to some of the Holy Week (week before Easter, esp. Thursday and Friday) processions and observe some of the ancient rituals. I've never been to them, but have read about them. I've read/heard that some of the most interesting ones are in Trapani, Enna, and Piana degli Albanesi.

Read about the history of Sicily and take lots of day trips, long weekends, and mini-vacations to see various places of interest.

There's much more, but I tried to post the things that you're less likely to hear from fiftly other people.
cmt is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 06:22 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,894
A lot of us here did trip reports for Sicily in 2005. Use the search facility to find them.
gertie3751 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 03:19 PM
  #6  
cmt
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,793
Where will they be in Sicily?
cmt is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 04:13 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
They will be near the base in Sigonella. That's precisely the type of info I was looking for, thanks cmt.
swalter518 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 07:52 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
All of the airline pilots that I have flown with that have based there said it was one of their best postings. My daughter is presently doing a semester abroad in Ortigia (Siracusa) which is just south of there-about an hour south of Catania airport. Sicily is wonderful-some parts are even better than Italy in my opinion. The food, people, scenery and culture are fabulous. Peanut butter and salsa are some of the things that you won't find in the local grocery store but I am sure they will on base.I would love to spend several years there-tell them how lucky they are !
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 11:58 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 257
Hopefully they will have a great 'sonsor' who will fill them in before they arrive and settle them in when they get to Sigonella. PLEASE advise them to stay out in the economy to really taste the Scilian life and not be stuck in the 'Nas II to Nas 1, housing triangle' and realize that culture shock will happen. Remind them its not 'wrong' just different and that the food, people and sights are amazing - ask them to get out as often as possible and not be stuck and remain with americans only, it truly is the only way to get over the slump that will enivitably come. Take advantage of trips all over Europe cheaply and ENJOY every minute, every opportunity and know that three years FLIES by so no procrastinating! LOL!
ENJOY!
Oh, WHEN are they transferring?
Have them check out the web site beforehand:

http://www.sicily.navy.mil/nassig/
mousireid is offline  
Jan 15th, 2006, 11:58 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 257
that should read SPONSOR!
mousireid is offline  
Jan 16th, 2006, 05:49 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
Thanks all. Mousireid, it looks like around Sept. they will be transferring from the Seattle area. I've already lectured them on the different, not better aspects of Italian life and to be open minded, etc. They both come from non-metropolitan areas of midwestern states but seem to have adjusted to Seattle well so I have hope! My husband has been converted to an Italian-phile so hopefully his sister will too!
swalter518 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2006, 05:52 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
anyone else?
swalter518 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:46 PM.