I had been expecting "Naples squared" when it comes to raucous, but it's peaceful. The best dishes apply flavors of mint, orange, and pistachio to pasta and seafood. Wrapping pumpkin in a fish slice is yummy. How about sardines pasta, with raisin, pine nuts, and bread crumbs; capers are optional? Imagine a counterfactual retracing of food history, piling New World ingredients on top of Arabic and medieval roots — without the French culinary interventions of the eighteenth century and beyond — and you get some notion of dining in Sicily. Imagine Moroccan bistillah but with a fruit jam inside.
The remaining traces of Norman Sicily are mingled with Roman, Arabic and Catalonian architectural influences. There are numerous seventeenth-century baroque oratorios. All over you see photocopy shops, which I suppose means few homes or workplaces have printers.
The young people look like they're from Rome, the old people look like they're from New Jersey.
When there is a traffic dispute, people yell back at the cops.
At least two-thirds of all restaurants are closed for August, including most of the best-known places. Yet even random eating in major public squares (usually a no-no) reveals a food culture which has to rank among the world's best, up there with Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Bombay, and the Puebla/Oaxaca axis, among a few select others.