The bench of childhood: episode two


Testo in italiano


The Sicilian street bench: a place of thought

Childhhod in Sicily


Ponte Cinque Archi (Five Arches Bridge)

by Giovanni Vallone: President of Splendid Sicily, writer, author


“I was born in Palermo, from a very ancient Palermitana family, but when I was 5 we left Sicily, wandering here and there: Lugano, Milan, Naples …

When I was almost ten we moved to Catania, where I still now live.

Every Friday I used to get the bus to Palermo in order to meet with my numerous cousins.

This motorway joined Catania to Palermo troughout the inland of Sicily.

This vehicle had for me a sort of magic like  being in an amusement park!

I was amazed by the orange grows, the endless grain fields, Enna and Calascibetta, the cows and … the exit Ponte Cinque Archi (Five Arches Bridge), a name that reminds me of a fairy tale.

What can it be?, I asked myself trying to see something throught the window

I was very happy when I discovered it with my motorcycle, some year later: there really was a bridge with 5 arches!”


Sapori siciliani a Monroe (Sicilian flavours in Monroe)

by Charles Geno Marsala: He is the President of the American Italian Federation of the Southeast, a divisional vice-President of the Order ISDA, and a former Mayor of Atherton California. He produces a documentary on the Sicilian Migration to Louisiana, a tour app called “Little Palermo,” and co-host “Bona Sera Louisiana.”

“My eight great-grandparents moved to U.S.A. in the early 1900s from different villages in Western Sicily: Roccapalumba, Bisacquino, Salaparuta and Cefalù.

They settled up in Monroe, hinterland of Louisiana. Dozens of Sicilian families moved to north Louisiana working in the sugarcane and cotton fields. I was born in New Orleans, in 1960.

I remember that for Christmas time, we would drive from New Orleans to Monroe, driving through the village of Sicily Island: really curious the name of this village for so many Sicilians-born living in this area.

The bayous of Sicily island were decorated with numerous lighted Christmas Trees and holiday banners across their main streets I would smile with anticipation knowing we were getting close to grandma’s house, the smell of the Christmas Tree, and her cooking the Christmas Dinner and desserts.

Sicilian flavours in Monroe”


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