It is heartening to see Sicily being covered as an emerging cultural or travel destination for tourists, designers, photographers and cultural connoisseurs. Earlier this year Vogue Italia offered up a photo essay of the burgeoning arts scene in Palermo. In April 2018, Travel + Leisure wrote about Palermo and Trapani. In May 2018, The New York Times Frugal Traveler featured a piece on Catania, Sicily’s second city. In an interview published this month, women’s shoe designer Manolo Blahnik talks about being inspired by Sicily for one of his recent shoe designs.
But let’s be clear – the mainstream media represent lagging, not leading, indicators when it comes to uncovering and unveiling the “hidden” cultural wealth of Sicily.
In the second edition of SGST written and published a year ago, I wrote: “Culturally, the timing is right for a newfound appreciation of Sicily by tourists and certainly the traveling cognoscenti.” But in fact the media coverage should have started much earlier. Keep in mind that I wrote the first edition of my Sicilian tailoring guidebook back in 2011.
Even then, it was clear to me that Sicily was completely underappreciated and ignored on multiple fronts. My astonishment was initially focused on the tailoring heritage of the island. I was astonished because of the virtual radio silence on Sicilian tailoring by men’s fashion magazines, blogs, forums, writers and journalists.
In effect, the menswear establishment had overlooked Sicilian tailoring for the last 50 years. I can only speculate on the reasons for this oversight but they are most likely due to lack of curiosity, stereotypes, a bit of groupthink and possibly even fear.
But beyond the tailoring, it’s almost impossible to ignore Sicily’s culinary and cultural riches. They made quite an impression on me on the very first day I spent on the island.
Have you traveled to Sicily and its vicinity? If so, add your thoughts and experiences in the Sleevehead Forum or comment below.