Sunday Night Passeggiata

Our first evening in Catania, we head out early for an aperitivo. On our way, Jenn stops for an obligatory call home. Sitting near the harbor waiting for her, I occupy myself watching a group of old Italian men playing cards at a small table they’ve casually placed under an awning on the sidewalk. I notice their cars are parked in a similar fashion, haphazardly along the curb… facing east, facing west, blocking each other in. Picking up only half of what’s being said, I nod and smile along as they include me in their banter… cracking jokes about each other.

Soon Jenn has joined me again and we continue on our way. Via Etnea has transformed from the quiet, nearly deserted boulevard of the afternoon, it is now alive with Sicilians out for their evening passeggiata. Dinner is eaten closer to 8 or 9pm, so prior to the big meal, many people, families, couples, singles, head out for a casual stroll. Today is Sunday, so not only is it a social occasion, but it’s practically crowded! Joining in the ritual of passeggiata, we take our time enjoying the scene.  A small crowd has formed around a band and we watch a few hippie college students get caught up in the music and use the small circle of people as a dance floor.

Popping down the side streets, we settle on a cozy pizzeria with a street view and plenty of outdoor seating. I’m usually a pasta fiend, but tonight… pizza is the ticket. The waiter brings our pizzas and we quickly realize we should have shared one, this is far too much for one person. This is also when I learn (or remember?) that peperoni  in Italian means peppers, so I got red and green peppers instead. They are incredibly fresh and flavorful though, so I like it just fine! We watched the crowd while we enjoy our meal. Our young (very cute) waiter seems eager to please; popping back to the table frequently to ensure we don’t require anything. “Perhaps it’s his first few days on the job,”  Jenn muses.

A ½ liter of wine later, we’re back out on the streets of Catania enjoying the warm night. Quite a charming welcome, Catania. I think we’re going to get along just fine.

6 responses to “Sunday Night Passeggiata

      • Only for a week, unfortunately. A friend of mine was studying in Brescia, so I got to visit Lake Garda, Milan and Venice! Definitely need to go back there someday. How long are you staying there for?

      • Unfortunately, I’m back. I’m catching up on my posts! Can’t wait to be traveling again soon. 😦
        I haven’t made it to Northern Italy (with the exception of Venice) The Lake District sounds great.

  1. I really must sneak over to Catania soon in disguise, to keep it secret from all the extended family! That evening street scene looks so nice.
    Did you get a look at the playing cards the old guys were using? They have special cards in Sicily that look nothing like normal playing cards. Some of the games are hilarious and involve all the players standing and saluting the King (when his card turns up) or pretending to be ghosts to get back in the game. I feel another blog post coming on… :))

    • You should! Try to go on a Sunday… incognito. Let’s just hope you don’t pass them on the street during passeggiata!

      No, I didn’t get a look at the cards. Bummer.


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