Closest to our house is a small village, the one with the amazing restaurant from the other day. Only a few kilometres in the other direction there is a slightly bigger town, which, in spite of being a proper town with lots of cars, people and even banks, has managed to keep a village feeling. The Italians we’ve met so far come across as very relaxed and friendly. They’ve only shown their passion when they’ve been talking about or watching football, but aside from that life seems to have a certain “piano” about it. Though not in traffic, of course. The driving we see here every day is spectacular enough to give anyone with a poor heart an attack, since traffic rules only seem to be advisory not compulsory. Cars, people (sometimes even people carrying half a pig) can just jump in front of the car without even looking in that direction, like it was the most natural thing in the world. For an English driver, this is everything but natural and our car trips have become something of a “watch out!” game, trying not to hit or to be hit by anyone.
Ribera, like most cities on Sicily, has a luxurious mid day break, when everything apart from small “tabacchios” is closed for a siesta. We speculate that this is a necessity during the hot summer months, but we also wonder if it’s because most Italian men like to go home to their “sposatas” (wives) or their mamas for lunch.
It seems to be a part of the world where combining family and working life is still somewhat of a dream, with most women staying at home and tending to their husbands and children. During our midday walks we did not see many women on the streets but quite a few well dressed elderly men, all wearing sunglasses and a little cap, exactly as you might expect if you’ve seen certain movies set in this country. Sometimes preconceptions do match reality.