"Everywhere in Italy life is more or less slowed down by the exuberant intelligence of the inhabitants, in Sicily it is paralyzed by it. "

Luigi Barzini

Today's (June 27, 2008) Personal Reflection's Page: "Our First Wedding in Sicily"

Giuseppe and Maria at the reception.

We again have returned to Sicily. It has been two years since we have updated the website. We apologize to anyone who has checked regularly and found only old information. Our lives, like others, have taken a different turn than we expected. In the U.S. we are living in a time of change that has necessitated our involvement in political action. This is not what we planned to do in our retirement. We have found that the urgency of current situation - a premptive war in Iraq,leading our country into a devastated economy and diverting us from taking steps needed to avoid environmental catastrophies due to global warming requires all of us to take action. Somehow, we feel that our ancestors, who also suffered under leaderships that were more concerned with their image and power would find this soujorn important. So the only time we have now to update this site is when we are here in Sicily. This year having two weddings to attend - a month apart - has allowed us a whole month here, plenty of time to write and post photos. Thank you all for your patience and continued interest in our learning.

You can contact us at:


We add information to our pages on an irregular basis. So that you don't have to go fishing around to see what is new we will put dates of last entries on this homepage in the chart below so you will know whether to check further. Hope that helps.

Home Page June 27, 2008
Photo July 4,,2008
Personal Reflections June 27, 2008
Calendar April 28 , 2006
Information on Montedoro May 11, 2006
Information on Sicily Jan. 23, 2004
Book Review April 4, 2006
What does it mean to be Italian (Sicilian) May 23, 2005


A History from Kathy:

In 1989 I visited Sicily for the first time with my mother and sisters. I vowed at that time that I would come back to stay for a longer than a week or two. With my 2003 retirement, the dream came true. Peter and I lived in Montedoro, Sicily for six months. Montedoro is the home town of my maternal grandfather, Pietro Attaldo (Attardi). Close to Montedoro is a larger town of Serradifalco. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers are from that town, Gennevive LoBue (Attaldo) and Angelina DiFrancesco (Farina). My paternal grandfather, Frank Farina, was from Santo Stefano di Camastra on the Tyrrhenian coast.

This website was started by us, Kathy Castania and Peter Debes, in January, 2004. We established this site for our family and friends who were interested in following the events of our six month stay in Sicily from January to June, 2004. During that stay we also had many visitors from the US come to explore the island with us. We had no idea at that time how much interest our site would get from others who have a connection to Sicily and Montedoro. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of e-mails we have received from people who found our site and have appreciated our entries.

In 2005 we returned to Sicily for five weeks - May 8 - June 14, 2005 in order to do preparations for leading a tour in 2006. Our only visitors for this short stay are our children - Remy Debes and Carly Fox.

April 10-24, 2006 we led a group of 13 visitiors from the Rochester area through Sicily. It was our first tour with a group - we learned a lot and they enjoyed their visit (see personal reflections April 28th). We are remaining here for two more weeks - living in Montedoro and continuting to learn.

In 2007 we came for only a couple of weeks - mostly to research new places for our next tour. We also didn't spend much time in Sicily because we needed to finally go up to Germany to research Peter's family roots. He will write a description of that experience on the personal reflections page in the coming weeks.

My area of expertise is intercultural relations. I have a deep interest in learning about cultural histories and the effect of migration on cultures. I also focus on issues of political power and the impact of social policy on the lives of people in excluded groups and dominant groups. With this curiosity I am learning about the history of Sicily and the social and political context that surrounded my grandparents and influenced their decision to emigrate to the U.S. I am also interested in the Sicilian American experience in the U.S. and how we relate to each other and members of other groups. I will share some of this understanding in the section called Personal Reflections. I know that reading a lot of words on a computer can be tiring, so this time I will keep my entries short. I hope to write a book someday where I will include more detail. I would appreciate any insights, critiques and thoughts you might have about what I write. My life's partner, Peter Debes, is a naturalist and botanist and will also share his wonder at the natural and personal beauty of Sicily on the Personal Reflections page.

Being here is such a joy that it begs to be shared. We apologize to anyone who has written and not received a response. We try to respond to your inquires, but sometimes a few get missed. Many stories have come our way about immigrant families. I would like to include some of these stories on the site so others can share in the experiences that families have gone through. Also, I invite anyone reading this page to please write your responses to the question: What does it mean to be Sicilian? Thank you for your interest in this our very special personal and cultural journey.

Remember: If you have a story to share pass it along to us through our e-mail address.