April 18, 2022

with Gaetano Bernunzo

With Liboro Bernunzio and his brother.

Good Friday lunch at the Bernunzo house

…an appetizer!

Grilled meats

La famiglia

The Cathedral in Caltanissetta 

In the shadow of the cathedral is an Arab community serving a population of apparently well accepted immigrants.

Julie poses with Angelo Bernunzio who organized the event and Luisa Gabrielle Bernunzio who just had a baby last week!

Week One in Sicily

April 18th, 2002

Good Morning Folks,

Our first week of travel consisted of three nights in Palermo and four nights in Caltanissetta. This was Holy Week and in Sicily it is a week of special foods, ancient traditions and maximum pageantry. Our time was filled with special experiences that will be shared in the coming weeks.

To say that Sicily is a magical place would be an understatement. It is cosmopolitan and agrarian at the same time and often in the same place. Farmers markets can turn into club scenes in the evening; orchestras play in public squares and there  are historical Churches as well as ancient Greek, Roman and Phoenician ruins at every turn. People take life and especially food very seriously. They are a mixture of cultures from around the Mediterranean who have found sustanance  and acceptance in a rugged landscape. But most of all, Sicily is famiglia and we were greeted warmly by two different "dynasties" of Bernunzios. We shared a Good Friday procession followed by a traditional lunch at the home of Gaetano Bernunzo and his lovely wife and her parents. Gatherings are always multi-generational. On Saturday evening we gathered with another Bernunzio clan at the Agriturismo Borghetto degli Ulivi nearby. About 15 of us took part in a amazing dinner the likes of which I have never imagined. I think there were about 15 courses all together and Julie and I are trying to write it all down. While the adults sat at the table the young kids ran around the outside chasing each other and it brought back memories of my youth and my Grandmother’s house. In fact the participation by youth in the culture of Sicily is something very different than I see in America. The various processions included children who are both in schools and those who are in guilds. The people of Caltanissetta have been holding these  processions for 300 years and participation is just something that people do as a course of their lives. In that way they are very blessed.

This morning we are on our way to the seaside town of Sciacca after a stop in Agrigento to see the Valley of the Temples. Follow us on Facebook for daily updates.

John and Julie

We had a family reunion and glorious dinner at a nearby Agriturisimo. It was amazing.


The procession of the Black Christ. It is an ebony crucifix, which was found by two fogliamari – gatherers of wild herbs – in a cave.

Good Friday procession.

In Sicily politics and religion mix as the mayor steps forward at the Easter Mass to present the key to the city. 

Via Rochester.…..Caltanissetta is the sister city of Rochester, NY