Sicily's Changing Faces

Guidebooks are great way to help you get from point A to point B. But if you want to know the secrets of a place, if you want to have a peek at its soul, then you’ll have to have a closer look at its literature, see its art, hear its music, and taste its foods. Desiring a deeper relationship with the island of Sicily, I picked up the celebrated historical novel, The Leopard, written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a depressed patrician and the last in line of a noble class that preceded him by eight centuries. I came to understand, through this work of fiction, a bit more about the formation of Italy as a nation, the three wars of the 1800’s that led to its unification and the twentieth century military entanglements that knocked it around the global chess board.

The Leopard ruminates on the state of a fading aristocracy through its main character Don Fabrizio and his beloved dog Bendicò. However, I found the story’s greatest symbolism lie in the contrasts between two central women, Concetta, Fabrizio’s daughter, epitomizes the shortcomings of tradition while his voluptuous daughter-in-law, Angelica, is an emblem of the hungry emerging class. I tend to champion "new money” so I had a bit of fun channeling the spirit of Angelica through photos and flora.


Words and Photographs by Malika Ali Harding.

The fall 2019 retreat in Sicily is sold out.

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa is available wherever books are sold.