The Stone Boudoir

The Stone Boudoir

Travels Through the Hidden Villages of Sicily

Book - 2002
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In this work, Theresa Maggio takes us on a journey in search of Sicily's most remote and least explored mountain towns. Using her grandparents' ancestral village of Santa Margherita Belice as her base camp, she pores over old maps to plot her adventure, selecting as her targets the smallest dots with the most appealing names. Her travels take her to the small towns surrounding Mount Etna, the volcanic islands of the Aeolian Sea, and the charming villages nestled in the Madonie Mountains. Whether she's writing about the unique pleasures of Sicilian street food, the damage wrought by molten lava, the ancient traditions of Sicilian bagpipers, or the religious processions that consume entire villages for days on end, Maggio transports readers to a wholly unfamiliar world, where almonds grow like weeds and the water tastes of stone.
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Perseus, c2002
ISBN: 9780738203423
Branch Call Number: Travel 910.4 Mag


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Sep 03, 2019

I found this book by chance in the travel section of library, a most lucky and wonderful find. Author Theresa Maggio, an Italian-American and granddaughter of Italian immigrants from a small Sicilian village, takes the reader on a unique journey through various Sicilian villages, including her own ancestral one. Maggio's book merges Sicilian history, life, customs and food, and most important of all, successfully transports the reader to the small Sicilian villages and its people. There are so many wonderful stories about the people she meets along the way. The author's odyssey gives her extraordinary insight into the Sicilian world. I felt I was really there.

She also takes the reader to some of Sicily's main cities. One of the most interesting chapters is "The Feast of Santa Agatha", an annual event that takes place in Catania in February in which the entire city celebrates their saint. Maggio's enthralling writing about this inspired me to watch YouTube videos of the festival as she made me so curious about it.

There are several interesting stories about some unmarried Sicilian women, a rarity in those parts. One chapter "Without A Man" tells the story of one of these women who was industrious and worked hard to carve herself a living by herself.

One of my favorite quotes in the books is: "I had been adopted by a town so small that most Sicilians had never heard of it, an isolated pocket of humanity where the ancient custom of treating a stranger as an honored guest still thrives."

Indeed, Maggio was warmly welcomed by the Sicilians, which resulted in her writing a loving portrayal of and tribute to them. I too was a recipient of Sicilian kindness and hospitality when I traveled there, despite not being Italian American. My experience there was unforgettable. Reading Maggio's book helped me relive my travels in Sicily and learn new things I didn't know back then.

I highly recommend Maggio's book to anyone interested in and curious about Sicily. Maggio gets into the core of Sicily, its heart and soul. I like Maggio's writing more than Frances Mayes', whose books seem superficial in comparison. I wish, however, the book included a map of the locations of these villages.


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Sep 03, 2019

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