Talking in tongues

Quintessentially about me.
Everyone should have their own blog to stake out a part of the web and make it their own.

The toilet situation in Italy

The toilet situation in Italy

Cosi toilets in Italy post
This month C.O.S.I tackles the difficult topic of toilets in Italy … no you really need to know this kinda stuff if you ever visit, it’s make or break here and it may save your life! ***Warning this post contains images of Italian toilets, bad double entendre and Australian slang***

Cosi toilets in Italy post

I have never understood the reason behind the lack of public toilets in major Italian cities as you would…

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Five things never to do in August in Sicily

Five things never to do in August in Sicily


There are five things I would never do in August in Sicily! 1) Don’t get any heavy dental work done, as you will be suffering a toothache until your dentist gets back from his cruise on the islands.


2) If you are a woman don’t go into labor as you will be delivering your child on your own as your gynecologist will be at the beach. 3) Don’t get sick or hurt yourself seriously as you will be…

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Flamboyant Italians: Vittorio Sgarbi

Flamboyant Italians: Vittorio Sgarbi


Living in Italy sometimes is like being inside a really bad soap opera, it’s an emotive, quirky and melodramatic place filled with controversies, corruption and paradoxes. Italy is a place of great beauty, creativity and unique experiences which can be overshadowed by equally abhorrent ugliness, criminality and hypocrisy. The Italian people themselves manifest these conflicting traits. I have…

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Sicily in Pictures: the spirit of things

Sicily in Pictures: the spirit of things

Quattro fontane Messina

There are literally hundreds of water fountains all over Italy gushing with water, Baroque details and sculpture. Often we are mesmerized by the immense works of art without seeing the cute little details. This grumpy little water god got my attention when he blew in my ear as I walked by the old ‘Quattro Fontane’ near the center of Messina. Unfortunately there is no more water as only half…

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Conversations with Elio Vittorini and his critics

Conversations with Elio Vittorini and his critics

Elio Vittorini

Elio Vittorini’s Conversations in Sicily has been on my reading list for a while and I was delighted to find the original english translation in the Amazon Kindle store compete with an introduction from Ernest Hemingway so I immediately snapped it up. However for some unknown reason it was never delivered and after several emails I never got any help or explanation why. Since my credit card was…

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Beware of Street Food in Sicily

Beware of Street Food in Sicily

Good street food Palermo

The Street Food movement in Italy has been promoted widely through the media, there are various guide books published which show where to taste the best take away food Italian style, fresh local products and produce cooked in open air markets right before your eyes and ready to be eaten on the street. This trend is echoed all around Europe, the Middle East and Asia where markets provide a…

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Sicilian saying of the day: the humble jackass

Sicilian saying of the day: the humble jackass

Piazza Armerina, EnnaU sceccu porta sempri u barduni A donkey always carries the load. Yet another folk saying to do with the humble donkey, a symbol of hard work and stubbornness. Simply put, a jackass will always be an ass. Hummmm, a leopard doesn’t change its spots, simply doesn’t have the same directness does it!?!? For the record a ‘barduni’ is a type of saddle especially made for donkeys to carry heavy weight…

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Sicily in Pictures: beauty in the detail

Sicily in Pictures: beauty in the detail

Duomo Messina Madonna

Often beauty is in the fine detail. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the immense works of art all over Italy, yet while trying to take in the whole you often miss the subtle aspects. This detail above the main door at the Duomo of Messina is as magnificent as the entire church. I’ll go as far as to say it is an apt summary of the elegant Norman lines and simple religiosity of this…

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Insights into Ferragosto

This month C.O.S.I explores the serious business of summer holidays in Italy.

Ferragosto COSI

Italy has an abundant amount of public holidays, ranging from the usual stuff like New Year’s day and padded out with things like Liberation Day (25th April), International workers day (1st May) and Republic Day (2nd June). Not to mention a fine cavalcade of religious celebrations including the Epiphany (6th…

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Window shopping in Sicily

Window shopping in Sicily

Italy is a place where fashion comes alive. Italians have a real flare for it whether it be elderly ladies dressed in colorful silk tops and high heels, or the latest shop window display from Dolce and Gabanna there is an astounding level of creative expression happening deep within the Italian psyche which is inspiring.

A favorite pass-time of mine whenever I find myself in a major city on my…

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Sicilian saying of the day: Bad habits

Sicilian saying of the day: Bad habits

Sicilian donkeys U seccu chi si mancia a fichera u viziu si lu lava quannu mori.

The donkey who eats figs is only rid of the habit when he dies.

The humble donkey used to be the work animal of choice in Sicily, able to carry heavy loads and negotiate the mountain terrain common on the island it was a source of pride of every farming family. But a donkey who ate the figs off the fig tree was a real pain as…

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Multicultural Sicily (whether they like it or not)

Multicultural Sicily (whether they like it or not)

The concept of ‘multiculturalism’ is a source of debate throughout the world, whether it is possible for a country to become truly multicultural and if different cultures really can exist peacefully side by side or is it simply a utopia.

Italy in particular resists other cultures mixing with the domineering Italian one.

Minister Cécile Kyenge from Minister Cécile Kyenge


Minister of Integration,…

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