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The Fascinating Ancient Sicilian Civilization and Gigantic Cheeses

Castle in the Sky

It was a warm November day when we set out for Catania. We were going to a fiera (fair) in Catania. Its Festa della morte (Feast of the dead) celebrated by the living relatives. No, Im not being sarcastic here but merely stating the fact.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed that I didnt get to see any of those places I mentioned in the  30+ Things I’m Going To Do When I Get to Sicily. Nevertheless, I discovered new places like Militello and Palike.

This was my fifth trip to Sicily but the first after starting this blog. Previously, I wasnt paying too much attention to the details along the path but this however, my curiosity has become insatiable.

Situated in the center and the largest of Mediterranean islands, Sicily boasts of a prolific history dating as far back as the prehistoric era. Being colonized and inhabited by a host of ancient civilizations including the Phoenicians, The Greeks and the Byzantine of course, Sicily has become a melting pot of primeval and modern culture. It is to me my Bible land, my Africa, and my second home.

My Bible land because of the olives, the almonds and the figs all of which I first read about in the Bible. It is in fact mentioned in the Bible when Paul stopped over Siracusa, on his way to Rome for his trial before King Agrippa.

My Africa mainly because of its climate, rich natural resources, very sweet fruits and of course because it is located above north Africa. Its my second home simply because I feel so at home regardless of the language barrier.


For the first time, I noticed those holes in the rocks which I later found out were necropolis, cemetery of the ancient civilization.  It reminded me of the Cave of Machpelah which Abraham bought as a burial ground. This indicates how ancient or prehistoric Sicily is. Pardon the hues on the images. They were taken inside a running van with a tinted glass. Click on each image to enlarge them.

Palike Archaeological Site

The red roof on the right image is a covering for an archaeological site which unfortunately was locked. Overlooking in the distance is a castle on a hill, pictured at the top of this article.

Since we just passed by we didnt bother calling whoever had the key as we also had to visit Catania, our original destination. Looking for an information about this archaelogical site, I found a blog about Sicily by a Swedish expat who told me that the site is always closed but next time I go there she would point me to someone who could let me in.

Among the Prickly Pears

Among the thorns

Of course, I have to be in the picture too, right? I told  you it was a hot November day! Those cactus fruits, they were so lusciously mouth-watering. I would exchange a thousand apples for one prickly pear. Gasp! I dont think I have eaten that many apples in my whole life! Well, we did try one of those prickly pears. With all determination, Francesco peeled two with his bare hands and shared them with his Eve. I wish I could eat more but we didnt have a tool to peel them quicker and we had to get to Catania as soon as possible.

Off to the Fiera

Mt. Etna

Mt Etna, the most active volcano in Europe

Back in the car, I finally saw Mt. Etna looming in the distance.

Nestled at the foot is the sprawling city of Catania, Sicilys second largest next to Palermo.

The market fair was full of inexpensive items mostly made in China. Some of them have a label saying Made in Italy but without brand names. Nevertheless, what fascinated me were the gigantic cheeses some of which measured up to 5ft long.

While everyone was busy looking for bargain stuff and some were enjoying their lunch, the girls and I went on the bumper cars which they turned on even if there were only two cars used. The fun at the fiera ended deliciously with a solanaceae sandwich and ice cream.

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About the author: Jem loves to try new thingsas long as they dont involve risks. As a little girl, she used to daydream travelling around the world, but taking in consideration that because of poverty, it was just a pure fantasy. She was aware of the fact that it was an ambitious dream. Nevertheless, she contented herself reading books about places and learning about geography. Well, look whos globe-trotting now!

  • Lot Nov 14, 2014

    So in the end, how many things on your list did you get to do?
    So now that youre back in the real world, have you thought about that idea I threw at you regarding that trip? Haha

    • Jemina Sentina Nov 15, 2014

      Hi Te Lot, nice to see you pop in here. Well, I failed to do 8 of those I listed but I did other stuff, I ate more than I planned, wrote devotionals, picked other fruits, etc.
      Regarding your idea, hmmm, it’s really tempting but I am not sure if I would be available or financially ready.

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