Island People – Ustica – Margherita Longo

Ustica is “my” island. I’ve lived there a year and a half in the last three years, and after a quick calculation, I spent at least the equivalent of a month underwater.

It’s not an easy or an astounding island. Her affection, in both ways, must be conquered: it is reserved to the patient ones.

I believe Margherita and her partner Vito were patient enough. Here go her words:
“I’m 39, I have got two kids, a degree and a PhD in agriculture. After studying and working in the city I came back to the countryside. We decided to bet on our future on our grandparents’ piece of land, along with my partner Vito Barbera, who is from Trapani and moved to Ustica. Eight years ago, after leaving, he, the academic career, I, the mythic permanent position at the Ministry of Agriculture, we returned to live in Ustica with our children to renew the family farm. Given my half-Sicilian, half-Lombard roots, I can integrate organization and passion in both the company and the family management. I am an active part in the associative life of the island, which tries to join agricultural producers and tourist operators in order to promote agriculture and tourism.”

The name of the farm is Hibiscus (https://www.agriturismohibiscus.com/eng/) and is one of Ustica’s flagships. It produces, with organic methods, some awesome white wines and an incredible “passito” made of zibibbo grapes. Beside the inevitable lentils – Ustica’s Slow Food item – and extra virgin olive oil from Erice.

Margherita, Vito, you will be the first whom I will meet along my voyage, but it will be like coming back home

Posted on: 20.Mar.2018   Leave a comment

Island People – Procida – Nicola Scotto Di Carlo

Procida is Elsa Morante’s “Arturo’s island”. “Ah, I would not ask to be a seagull or a dolphin; I would settle for being a scorpionfish, which is the ugliest fish in the sea, to be there, to have a good time in that water”.

When I was working in CNR (Italian National Research Center)’s oceanographic vessels, all sailors were from Procida. All of them! True and modern seamen, they would tell us how hard it was to make a proper living spending 3 months onboard and 3 on the ground. Plus, the cooks, amazing!!!

Procida is also a truly extraordinary person’s island. Here’s how Nicola Scotto Di Carlo defines himself:

“I’d say I’m a comebacker to Procida. I returned to the island 12 years ago after the birth of my second son. After living in Manfredonia, Bari, Rome, Fiumicino, Pavia, Milan, Zurich, Naples, Procida recalled. Many places, many lives, many passions and deep experiences. Today I can say that living on a Mediterranean “atoll” compared to the metropolitan dimension of large cities, the poor quality of life, and the complexity of everyday life, has allowed me to identify the golden rule necessary to perfectly control the space and time variables. All of which results in being well.”
“I’m 44 years old, I am a designer / technologist, and I was educated at Politecnico di Bari, at the Higher Institute of Design, as well as at the school of the great designer AG Fronzoni. I am an educational coordinator in a 3-year degree in Communication Design, I deal with 3D underwater surveys, I am IT director of a company that manages a wide network of travel agencies, and I am part of an active research group on representation systems for underwater museums.”
“See, I try not to get bored. And in order to avoid that risk, since 2008 I have been committing to society trying to transfer some of the experiences and benefits of the metropolitan cultural dimension to the small island context. In this direction, with friends and institutions we were able to create an exhibition area called TERRA (EARTH) in which finally people from Procida could learn the scientific truth of their “own” archaeological as well as geological history. Today, TERRA has become a virtual civic museum and I am actively involved as its curator. I hope I can open its doors soon to all 33 Isole and Lucio’s friends.”

And me, Nicola, I just can’t wait for you to be my cicero in your Procida. I will leave enriched, wiser perhaps, and full of wonder.

Posted on: 5.Mar.2018   Leave a comment

Island people – Marettimo – Davide Di Franco, Diletta Giannola

Guess what, I am not gonna go diving a little bit during my trip through such crazy places? And what’s better than doing it with people who actually chose the Island, leaving back a whole life to devote themselves to the Island?

Let me introduce you Davide Di Franco and Diletta Giannola, owners of Blu Tek Diving – Marettimo. Both form Palermo, him always fond of scuba diving, her former dancer of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, a few years ago they decided to bet everything on their passion and love, mutual and for the sea. They chose Marettimo – unquestionably in the top 3, I dare say, of best diving destinations in Italy (and in the Mediterranean) for its underwater caves and unbelievable sceneries -, boat an old fishing boat named “El Merendero”, and the dream has come true. They even got married in Marettimo!

I can’t wait. Above and under water, take me discovering your island’s pearls of beauty…

Posted on: 22.Feb.2018   Leave a comment