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Sicily

  • Organised brigandage has ceased to exist, but murder and highway robbery are still far too common in the less frequented districts. Travellers rarely suffer to-day, however. It is the wealthy inhabitants who run risks at the hand of the mafia, or lawless Sicilian.

  • In days of yore there were kings of 'the two Sicilies.' In these days there are still two Sicilies, but they are the Sicily of Comfort, and the Sicily of Discomfort.

  • No Southern people ever seem to possess the energy of their Northern brothers, and in Sicily a dolce far niente life is much enjoyed. Time is no object. According to Pliny, Aristhomacus watched the life of the bee carefully for fifty-eight years, which is just the sort of work a Sicilian of to-day would like.

  • To live opposite Etna, the highest, most active volcano in Europe is indeed a privilege. A queen and a spitfire, I feel she is essentially feminine. The exquisite, snow-covered mountain rising out of the clouds, seemingly so remote and unearthly, can suddenly be transformed into a menacing monster, hurling fire and rocks thousands of metres into the sky, followed by a great river of molten, flaming lava, kilometres long, slashing the mountain in two.

  • ... Sicily could only be an island, less by the caprice of nature than by her own insolence. As though she might have quit Italy had she not already been born separate from it.