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Packed with history, culture, misadventure, and a little Mafioso action, the story of a newly married couple and the year they spent in Sicily Gill and I had dreamt of living in Italy for as long as we'd been together. This is the story of an Aussie couple who sought a Mediterranean sea change only to find themselves in the sprawling Sicilian city of Cataniathe "anti-Tuscany" of Italy. There, any romantic visions they'd had of restoring a villa or stamping their entwined feet in vats of Chianti grapes disappeared faster than the chief witness in a Cosa Nostra trial. Shamus and Gill's tiny apartment in Catania was located in a grim neighborhood opposite a triple-X cinema and a shop selling coffins, nearby Mount Etna erupted soon after their arrival, a mystery ailment left Shamus in a neck brace, they crashed a Vespa, and they had regular dealings with at least one Mafioso. This, then, is an Italian sea change with grit. But it's also a story of optimism, endurance, and acceptance; an exploration of the minutiae of Sicilian culture, history, food, and religion; and an example of how to find beautyand humorin the most unexpected of places.
Shamus Sillar worked as the managing editor of two lifestyle magazine groups, first in Shanghai and now in Singapore, after his year in Italy with his wife. He has been published by Conde Nast and National Geographic.