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Though Anthony D'Antoni spent most of his life in New York (and now lives outside Chicago), his roots are in Sicily. Like many American-born Italians, he wanted to visit the birthplace of his grandparents and meet some of his extended family. So, in 1998, he flew to Sicily.
Anthony comes from a long line of health professionals - not only are his Sicilian relatives doctors, but Anthony himself is a chiropractic student. Doctors enjoy a higher standard of living in Sicily just as they do here in America, so Anthony relaxed with the family at their villa in Terrasini, a coastal town just west of Palermo. It was August, the month where Italians dedicate themselves to savoring all that's good in life. And in Sicily, there's a lot to savor.
One evening, Anthony and his cousin decided to go to the movies. Fuochi D'Artificio, a comedy, was playing at the local theater. The night was warm and Anthony thought it might be nice to enjoy some air-conditioned comfort.
"Speakers were positioned at various points, like at a drive-in. Trees that reminded me of palm trees surrounded us. So, there we were, outside in the balmy night air, ready to watch a movie!"
Anthony was surprised when the film paused for intermission. People got up to get a drink, socialize, and discuss the movie. "I think this really shows the mentality of Sicilians," he says. "A movie is not something they watch passively. They want to talk about it so they can truly enjoy it. And of course, it's nice to be able to stand up and get something to drink on a warm night."
A couple of days later, Anthony found himself in the middle of another typically Sicilian experience. He and his cousin, Atilio (a hematologist in Palermo) boated out with Atilio's family. But suddenly, Atilio decided to stop the boat right there in the middle of the Mediterranean to enjoy the view. Minutes later, a friend's boat pulled up alongside them and before Anthony knew what was happening, the children on the two boats dove into the water on a quest for sea urchins.
"I'll never forget their excited faces as they came up from the water. When they scrambled back on deck, we cut open the sea urchins and scooped out the eggs. I never imagined I'd be eating fresh caviar that day!" Later, the boat approached the home of another family friend, but instead of pulling up to shore, the boat was anchored at sea and everybody on board jumped into the sea and swam to shore, laughing at their own antics. They hosed off at the friend's outdoor shower and then enjoyed a sublime lunch of fresh fruit, fish, and sweets at the friend's villa. After the meal, they swam back to the boat and headed home.
"Sicilians savor every moment. If there's a way to do something involving four senses instead of three, that's the one they'll pick. I loved every moment of my time in Sicily because I never knew what kind of sensation was coming next."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Intermissions are a time-honored cinematic experience throughout Italy. They are as crucial to Italians' enjoyment of a film as popcorn is to Americans!
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