Last week I was on holiday back to Sicily. My mother’s family is originally from the northern coast of the Island, and we spent all our summers (or part of them) to her family’s little village, frequently visiting Cefalù, quite close.
One evening I decided to take an evening to go walking by the streets of Cefalù, to enjoy the medieval fishermen context, taking some fresh air and possibly have a granita at the central square, in front of the Duomo, one of the oldest in the island. I didn’t go for years, and probably my expectations were mostly based on the memories of when I was a child.
It was nice time when, with my father and my siblings, we used to walk by desert streets, under the sun of August, and freely sit at one of the few tables in the square, meeting the same old people that my dad used to know since ages, exchanging impressions about life, weather, economy and politics. An old baron, sipping some lemonade calling my father from the other side of the square “Marchese!” (“Marquis!”), and we could hear it despite of the rear voice tone.
Evenings were the time for traveling entertainers (actors, singers, dancers) or dancing nights (tango, salsa or typical sicilians), that one could quietly enjoy, eating an ice cream cone or a granita.
I came back to that place, brought by such memories of quiet joy, just to find out how much screwed that world of my youth was, feeling much in a sort of cheap amusement park.
A huge crowd assaulting any space available on the streets, full restaurants, cars anywhere, and shops opened till late night, flashing strong lights, to sell cheap souvenirs to tourists.
Despite of the bad context I suddenly found out, I decided to take a walk around with my pug, trying to enjoy the situation, at least in my mind.
When I arrived to the central square I found a massive crowded place, screaming people, a dirty street and hardly found a spot where to sit to order a lemon granita.
Half an hour after I took my place, fifteen minutes after I gave my order to a nordic waiter (notably coming from north of Italy), I received an almost melted granita, that I’ve basically drunk, rather than eat. I paid the bill, left a tip and ran away from that reality. Full of nostalgia for the time that was and forgetting about the cheap amusement park for chinese my world has became.