Article first published as Sicily - A Land of Contradictions on Technorati.
The picturesque miniature villages, forgotten by modern life and going about at a slower, somehow more genuine pace. The gorgeous sand beaches leading to waters so clear you can spot the details of the tiny fish swimming near the bottom of the sea. A culinary tradition of such richness that every visit to this Italian island unveils new delights and entices you to come back again and again. Vibrant cities such as Palermo and Taormina, with their cultural heritage and many architectural wonders. Dramatic volcanoes, the Etna winning the prize of the most famous one, the green plain of Catania spreading under its looming shape. An abundance of citrus fruit, almonds and vegetables. A bountiful production of wine and oil, as well a thriving fishing trade. Add natural resources such as sulphur, gas and salt. Yes, Sicily has it all.
But this blessed part of our planet is also steeped in contradictions. Let's concentrate on a few in particular.
The majority of the population has of course elected to live in the coastal areas, the massive exodus resulting in the inner, rural territories being seriously under populated. This is unlikely to change and is creating an imbalance in the financial circumstances of the population. Did Dolce & Gabbana's three months casting in Sicily to discover non-professional models for their latest men summer collection included the whole territory? It would be interesting to know.
A little bundle of joy will soon be joining your family. As your pregnancy progresses, you will no doubt appreciate to find out that parking spaces are reserved especially for you. But will this delicate attention make you forget about the lack of pavement and how dangerous this makes walking in the streets? Not so sure.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Sicilian beaches are out of this world, and you will find that they are often not crowded at all, which definitely has its importance in making the experience an enjoyable one. You leave the seaside after soaking up the sun the whole day, feeling contented and relaxed. The last thing you fancy coming across are various heaps of garbage strewn around. Sadly, this might well be the case, casting an unpleasant shadow over your stay in heaven.
You will also almost certainly step into a beautiful grocery store that has retained the flair of an era long vanished. You find yourself unable to resist filling your basket with artisanal goodies, wrapped in colourful paper or moving gently inside an old-fashioned jar or bottle. The shock of the bill at the till will certainly make you leave your reverie at once.
Sicily, a land of many contradictions. But so worth discovering.