A Life in Books: Chapter five the Florio’s of Sicily by Stefania Auci


Palermo as seen arriving by the coast from from Bagnara – birthplace of Paolo and Ignazio Florio. Click the image for my video about the book.


Just before we left for Sicily, my friend Phyllis suggested this book to me.


In Palermo we stayed a few streets from the Villino Florio.


On our last full day we attempted to visit this grand Liberty building, and found it closed due to COVID. In between we had attempted to visit the Cantine Florio in Masala, there was limited visitation and it was booked for the whole week.


On the island of Favignana, we gazed at the Florio tonnare and its accompanying villa. Everywhere, the influence of the Florios.


More astounding, this book was in every bookshop window in every city. Apparently, it’s original Italian version was taking the island by storm.


The night before we left, I asked our Sicilian friend Irma what she thought of this book. Its author Stefania Auci was born in Trapani, located roughly between Palermo and Marsala. I was curious what Irma, a literary guru, thought of this book wildly popular in both Italy and America. Ever honest, she told me she preferred Il Leone di Palermo by Salvatore Requirez. That it is closer to the actual facts, and for her as a Sicilian, read more eloquently.


With that feather in my cap, I set out to read Irma’s suggested version. Alas, it has yet to be translated into English and is presently only available in Italian. A perfect exercise to improve my Italian, I downloaded a copy onto my kindle. Then life happened and my passion for reading as a way to unwind and relax took over and here I am sharing my thoughts on the English version of Auci’s book.


As I suggest in my video, part of the charm of this book in this moment, is its reminder to be grateful for my life and live it to the fullest each day. With so many possibilities for panic and fear these days, I enjoyed this book for its poised intensity and dramatic characters. Each time I picked it up, I was submersed in the moment of their lives, leaving behind the worries of my own. For me it was the perfect balance of story and historical context to take me away for a moment, that turned into an hour. Give yourself an easy holiday retreat, relax in Sicily with the Florio’s.




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