Giosetta and those two terrible ninety-year-olds!


Testo in italiano


Giosetta and those two terrible ninety-year-olds!

Text by Giovanni Vallone


It’s a beautiful sunny winter day!

We are in Torre Archirafi, a seaside village in Eastern Sicily, between Catania and Taormina.

The Ionian Sea separates Sicily from the Italian mainland, which can be perfectly seen from Torre Archirafi.

And above our heads, the terrific sagoma of the volcano Etna, the queen of Sicily.

We walk through the narrow streets of Torre Archirafi.


The black lava stone and the blue sea water, what a wonderful pairing!

Look at that beautiful plants this family has put outside its doorstep.

Gentleman I come every day, round trip, I walk 5 kilometers along the promenade. I run a pastry shop. And I made delicious almond pastries.

A nice boat, a nice little square and an arch in the middle of the street down there.

Splendid Good morning: a bicycle full of things!

A nice horn

Gentleman On a bicycle I went shopping. It’s great here, where there’s the sea it’s always good.

Here, this is our destination, right next to the sea.

And here is Giosetta, the landlady.

Giosetta Hi, how are you? Long time no see you…

This house is a ship on the sea and is full of artistic works, given that Giosetta is indeed a refined local artist.

Giosetta shows us the house: here is the bedroom where the sun immediately enters early in the morning and here is the artistic bathroom designed by Giosetta.

Presently Giosetta is working with the making of coffa bags, a purse made with the dwarf palm. In the past coffa were used to put the fodder or bran to give to the horse or donkey, and also used by farmers for sowing, or even to put inside a small child and keep him  warm. Today, the coffa bag has become a fashion accessory

Giosetta It all started as a joke and then I became passionate about making coffee bags. They strongly express Sicily in my opinion, and are a cornerstone of our traditions.

This obviously represents our sea. In every bag I put our symbol: the Trinacria.

I made this Bora with all fabrics recovered from an early 20th century villa that was being renovated: curtains, bedspreads, cushions.

Come out here, I’ll show you where I stand every morning.

Here, look how beautiful.

Ihave my coffee at 5 in the morning before dawn.

Just now a fisherman has arrived, let’s see what he tells us.

Fisherman I didn’t catch much, I’ll eat this with my family.

We return home, Giosetta sets the table and in the meantime mum and dad arrive, over ninety years old!

Dad I started working at 10 years old, I went to school and then to the sea with my father. When I went to school, we stood up, made the sign of the cross and shouted Horray for the Duce and long life to the King!

I brought the fish to her mother, she looked at it but she never looked up at me, she was 14 years old

Mom I didn’t give him the pleasure of looking at me

We have been married for 65 years

Giosetta has always been lively, intelligent and good as her father. It’s all her father.

Mr. Sebastiano then opened a restaurant here in Torre Archirafi, which became very popular and prepared for us an ancient pasta called Gli involtini della nonna.

The eclectic Sebastiano has also written a book: My life between pots and stoves.

Here we are at the table.

Mom There was a friend of mine called Giosetta and then I said to myself: if one day I will have a daughter I will call her Giosetta.

Appetizer with olives, artichokes, caponata, dried tomatoes.

Dad This is Sicilian caponatina: olives, aubergines, peppers, swordfish and pine nuts

Mr. Sebastiano is also a poet!

Dad “Who is the man without the woman. He can be strong, overbearing, arrogant but without a woman he is worth nothing…


And here is Sebastiano’s pasta

Giosetta Two years ago on New Year’s Eve, we were at the table, and at a certain point my father said to all his children and grandchildren “You guys celebrated last night because whoever doesn’t make love on New Year’s Eve doesn’t make love all year round” . We all looked at each other and suddenly my mother said: We were tired last night but this morning we celebrated!

Dad I don’t know the secret of such longevity, I only know that I have always been optimistic.

And the time has come to leave this beautiful family here in Torre Archirafi.

It was the usual, beautiful day.


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