When I was a child, there was nothing more beautiful than visiting my relatives in Sciacca.
They lived in the heart of the ancient village, right at the entrance to the Arab quarter which, through a long staircase, allowed you to enter the kasbah.
All together, my relatives used to sit in the street on the steps of the staircase and on their chairs forming a large circle.
Passing by there was an obligatory passage for those who had to reach the ancient district of San Michele in the upper part of the town.
Every evening, relatives and friends sat on those steps and on those multicoloured chairs that gave the sensation of sliding, since the road was downhill.
In that place, the adults have grown old and the little ones have grown up.
I remember a very tall uncle of mine who sat curled up on those little chairs. A very nice memory is that of a neighbour who one day went down to the spot to buy mandarins for everyone. Signora Lia let me taste some very sweet mandarins that I still can feel in my mouth if I close my eyes.
What to tell you? The lady did not bring any mandarins home.
And what about Signora Rosalia on the first floor, always on the edge of the balcony … she had the ability to intercept tourists and watch them bewildered among the various alleys and stairways.
It was she who used to give directions, and one of the singular directions she used to give remained in my memories and if I think about it even now I laugh. To indicate the road and turn right and immediately after turn left she came out with a “go straight ahead then turn straight hand and immediately after missing hand!
My dream is to take my guests to those places to introduce them to those people and to make them sit in a circle on the steps and on the coloured chairs.
So tell me, what do you see a street, steps, a group of people sitting?
I see the love of a united family. I see games, laughter, screams. I see ice creams, pizzas, cunzatu bread, friends, stories, seasons.
I see people who are no longer there but above all I see the love they left us.
These thoughts are dedicated to my whole family and to all those people who can see what I have seen.
Each step is a story … each corner is a person, each gesture is love.
The memories of a life lived emerges: entire generations have played on those stairs and everyone has tried to slip on the sciddicalore of the spot. There is no nicer place!
Furthermore, you do not imagine the emotion of us as children, used to being alone because we lived in the suburbs, all sitting in a circle listening to our voices from the first steps of the staircase.
We got excited because we knew the family was there.