This was my first move overseas to the gorgeous Island of Sicily (I really was just interested in the Pizza at first). Being the homeland of the mafia there is always an interesting twist at every corner (more stories about the run-ins with the Sicily mafia coming soon). Many want you to believe that Sicily mafia, mafia nostra, mafia sicily, capo di capi (whatever you want to call it) doesn’t exist anymore. The fact is the mafia nostra does exist and they enjoy running Sicily.
One of the fascinating things about Sicily is the fact that it’s considered a strategic area due to its location. The island has been controlled and conquered by almost every culture: Arabs, Greeks, Normans, Byzantines, Spanish, French, and even Romans (I didn’t list to many did I?). This turns the Island into a tourist’s PARADISE. The majority of people don’t even make it to southern Italy because of the more popular destinations in the north (that may be why the Sicilians and Northern Italians detest each other). There are a plethora of Sicily attractions including Greek temples, Roman villas and even Arab churches (I will keep the list short this time). We also have the top 5 things to do in Sicily here as well.
Having lived in the United States for part of my life, I am accustomed to having all my American conveniences. Not only did I ship my furniture and personal belongings, I shipped my car to Italy (I couldn’t let her go). I was overwhelmed with excitement because this was my first trip to Europe (first trips are always the best read this story about how everyone saw my fruit of the looms underwear on this trip). As soon as I arrived I threw the bags on the floor and set out on my adventure; no map, scared to run into the mafia nostra, not understanding Italian, sometimes it’s best to wander (hence the name wanderingtrader).
Once my car arrived that’s when the fun began and I started conquering all the things to do in Sicily. I was able to drive around the entire island even where part of the Godfather Trilogy was filmed (dont mistake the city Corleone Sicily with the Godfather Corleone). Even though Italy is a 1st world nation Sicily can really be considered 3rd world (the mafia nostra is crafty at hiding government money). It is just now getting caught up as the European Union in infusing billions of dollars into its infrastructure and holding people accountable.
I was 20 at the time and everyone knows 20 year olds are invincible behind the wheel. Combine that with drivers in the third world and you have a phenomenal combination of speed and idiocy. I found a specific way to get home to my house in San Pietro Clarenza (near Sicily Catania) which is a five minute walk from where the building and urbanization is cut off due to Mt. Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. As I am twisting and turning through a familiar European round about there they were: killer sheep.
They didn’t pounce on my car or make any aggressive moves they simply were walking in my direction (calm and to the point like the mafia nostra) , all 300 hundred of them. It seemed they were having a Sunday stroll all senior citizens make after church on Sunday’s. As I went from 70 mph to zero in a blink of an eye I remembered the story a reliable Sicilian told me. Make sure you don’t hit or injure any sheep while on the road even if it’s male. This is because in Sicily male sheep miraculously get pregnant when hit by a car and the price for an injured pregnant male sheep is more than you can imagine.
Sicily Travel Advice: Always respect other people’s property when travelling you don’t want it to cost you your life (especially when those same sheep may be affiliated with the Sicily mafia)
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