The Cemetery of Palazzolo Acreide

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The cemetery in my mom’s town, Palazzolo Acreide, is absolutely beautiful. It is clean and well-kept. It is different than the cemeteries I have seen here. Most graves include a tomb, and there are only a very few that do not have one; those are usually for the families who cannot afford it.

jessica21Usually people visit the cemetery every Sunday, either before or after going to church. Also, it is important that each grave has its own light, which is always kept lit up. When someone passes away, all the people in town who knew that person come together and they all walk from the church to the cemetery following the casket. This tradition is different from ours; we drive, while instead they walk.

jessica24–Jessica, SCSU ’17

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Sicilian neighbors!

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In America, we are used to seeing squirrels or deer crossing the streets; instead in Sicily you see dogs or cats. There are many stray dogs and cats that roam the streets, but they are mostly all harmless. Many people leave food out daily for the strays. My nonna left food out for two different puppies, and eventually they came back every day; now she keeps the two dogs as her own. Their names are Shelli-Bimba and Mambo.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17

Cappuccino italiano!

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The cafés in Sicilia are beautiful. They sell coffee, pastries, ice cream, and hot foods. My favorite thing to order is a cappuccino. But, as I learned from a friend in my Italian class, Italians never order cappuccinos after lunch and that piece of advice helped me when I was over there! One item I would suggest to not order would be the hot chocolate. The hot chocolate over there is not the same as it is here and in my personal opinion, it is worse. They make their hot chocolate very thick and almost taste chalky.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17

I frutti della Sicilia!

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Jessica15In Sicilia, there is a special type of cactus fruit called, ficudinnia. Most of the fruit you will eat in Sicily is fresh. There are fruit trees everywhere. Many people own a farm and are always working on it. It takes a lot of work. If you own a farm, all of the fruits you eat will be fresh fruits that were just recently picked from outside.

My nonna had many pomegranate trees. There was a tree right next to my balcony from my room that I was able to walk out onto the balcony and pick a pomegranate. There were also many walnut trees everywhere. People like to pick the walnuts and sell them.

jessica16–Jessica, SCSU ’17

Palazzolo Acreide and its Festivals

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The town of Palazzolo Acreide is a small town located in the province of Siracusa, Sicily. The patron saint of the town is San Paolo but the main piazza is located near the church San Sebastiano. A very long time ago, there was a giant earthquake that buried most of the town and now the town is surrounded by valleys.

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The piazza di San Sebastiano is the main piazza in the town of Palazzolo Acreide. It is located on the street, Via Corso Emanuale. This is the street that everyone comes to at night to socialize. Every night that street closes from around 7-10 and the people walk up and down it; it’s also where the main cafes and the only bar/discoteca are located. The town hall is also located on the main piazza.

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Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Italy and it is located in Catania, Sicily. Mount Etna is so big that I can stand in my backyard in Palazzolo Acredie (78.8 miles away) and see it! One year when my family and I were visiting, the volcano erupted and when you looked out the backyard, all you could see was a black sky off in the distance!

When driving back to the airport after my trip is over, I always know we are almost at the airport because all you can see in front of you is the giant mountain!

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jessica9These pictures are from the Feast of San Michele Arcangelo, which takes place on October 5th in Palazzolo Acreide; it is also celebrated the next week as well. Every church has their special saint who has their own feast day. The feast days are celebrated in the most beautiful way. Everyone in the town gathers around the outside of the church and waits until jessica8the statue of the saint exits the church doors, carried by a handful of men from the town. Fireworks and bombs are set off along with little tiny pieces of paper that are shot out and fly around everywhere. Everyone celebrates by processing with the saint around the town. The younger children lead in the front of the parade holding flags and banners and the marching band follows. Witnessing a saint’s feast is the most amazing experience.

jessica13Agrimontana is another festival that took place in Palazzolo Acredie for one weekend. This festival was for vendors who make homemade crafts. There were tents set up around the main piazza and there were also different food vendors from surrounding towns. There were folk musicians that performed on the steps of the Basilica di San Sebastiano. There was also a handmade swing set for the little kids that was made out of wood and was manually pushed by three different men.

–Jessica, SCSU ’17