Sicilian Love: 24 shirts, 24 bedsheets

Rosa Balistreri’s life hangs on 24 shirts, 24 bedsheets and 24 underpants: the wedding trousseau that she hasn’t got. Aunt Mariannina demands it, if Rosa is to marry her son, cousin Angilino. Sixteen-year-old Rosa loves him and he loves her too. His love is so sincere that, when she offers herself to him one night,…

Sicilian Love: the madness of the writer’s wife

If your dad wants you to marry his business partner’s child, you do it. That’s how it works in Sicily in 1894. Luckily, Maria Antonietta Portulano and Luigi Pirandello like each other. Good for them. Alright, there is an intellectual ocean between the Sicilian novelist and playwright and his wife, but they are definitely on…

Sicilian Love: the countess goes to court

When Countess Giulia Trigona went to court, she meant to break up only with her husband, not with her lover too. Breaking up with her lover was actually a damn good idea. Pity it came a bit too late. The extramarital affair of Countess Trigona and Baron Paternò had been an all-consuming whirlwind, witnessed by…

Sicilian Love: the viceroy’s wife enormous horns

‘Be patient. Tonight is cold and I want my husband with me,’ Donna Felice says to Eufrosina, who’s hiding half-naked in the balcony. Donna Felice knows that her husband has an long-running affair with the twenty-year-old baroness – everyone else in Palermo knows too – but tonight she wants her husband with her. Power, money,…

Sicilian Love: the tragic story of the Baroness of Carini

Laura Lanza was born on 7th October 1529. This was her first mistake. Her second mistake was to be the daughter of Cesare Lanza, an arrogant and violent Sicilian aristocrat who was used to always getting things his way. Her third mistake was falling in love with Ludovico Vernagallo instead of Ludovico’s cousin, Vincenzo La…

Should Women Propose?

In this age of equal opportunities, a surprisingly tiny number of women pops “the questions”. According to a survey of married couples in America, only in 5% of cases it was the woman to propose, even though three quarters of Americans say that it would be fine for the woman to propose. In an age…

How to Apologise When You’re Not in the Wrong

We Sicilian Mamas are never in the wrong. Still, sometimes, people think we are and they expect an apology. This is how you apologise when you’re not in the wrong: The “I’m sorry but…” apology. This is an apology with an educational value. With it, you can explain to the other person what really went…

Gift Ideas for the Unfaithful Partner

At this time of year, you’re probably scratching your head – and your wallet – to find the perfect gift for your other half. You’re looking for the kind of present that shows effort, care and deep knowledge of your beloved. But what if he/she has been unfaithful? Do they still deserve a present? Of…

A good partner is like the taxman

(I originally wrote this for Headstuff.org ) If you want your relationship to soar to the highest echelons of couple’s harmony and satisfaction, take the taxman as your role model: When in doubt, overestimate the other person’s worth Assume that your partner is emotionally, mentally, spiritually richer than he/she looks. It’s just that the stress…

How To Argue With Your Elders

cartoon by: studio tdes | CC BY Arguing is important to cement relationships and it takes skill, discipline and regular practice. A bit like office fire drills. After a properly resolved argument, you will be more bonded and happier. Just like after office fire drills. But before you start, run through a few checks: Are skittish pets…