The castle on the plateau above the city is an amalgam of many
architectural styles and influences. Built on the site of the city's ancient
acropolis, the Saracens built part of the present structure during their
two hundred years of occupation in Sicily. The fortress truly began life as
such after the Norman invasion, after which it saw vast expansion under
the rule of Frederick II in 1239, and again later, under Charles V. After
the brief Angevin rule of the island ended with the uprising in 1282
known as the Sicilian Vespers in Palermo. Milazzo fell to the Spanish
Aragonese, who remained in power for next 300 years. The Aragonese
built the Duomo Antico, as well as adding baroque enhancements and
battlements in the 16th Century.
In the early 19th Century, the citadel became a base for British soldiers
during the Napoleonic Wars, fifty years before Garibaldi's decisive victoy
in Milazzo. In the last century, part of the castle was utilized as a prison
and during WWII, the Mussolini regime confined anti-fascists there, as
they had done in the castle on Lipari.
Although the structure was in serious disrepair as little as 20 years ago,
it has undergone extensive restoration and now includes a museum
dedicated to its history and the grounds are open to the public.
My late cousins Franco and Cornelia with their
grandchildren Leonardo and Chiara. Cornelia is a
marvelous and prolific cook and she, along with her
daughter Bice have prepared many memorable
milazzese dishes for me.
Milazzo, my father's hometown, a place that is dear to
my hear. My cousins always make my stay there a
pleasure, which usually makes it all the more difficult for
me to leave, especially when my cousin Cornelia tempts
me with her pasta con seppie in nera (pasta with cuttlefish
stewed in its own ink).
Milazzo, named Mylae by the ancient Greeks, who settled there around
700 BC. The city's interesting history dates from Sicilyâ€™s Ausonian
period of the late Bronze Age and much of the town's early history
parallels that of the Eolian Islands. In 260 AD, Milazzo saw the Roman
Fleet defeat the Carthaginians off its shores in one of the great sea
battles of the First Punic War. Sicily has experienced successive
dominance by Byzantine, Arab, Norman, French and Spanish rule, and
each of them has left some trace of their influence on the cultural
landscape of the city. In the nineteenth century, the city even played an
important role in the Risorgimento, or the unification of Italy.
In May of 1860, patriot and soldier Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived in Sicily to
lead his volunteer army of a thousand in an attack against the ruling
Bourbons, the rulers of By July of that same year, they reached Milazzo
and won a strategic victory by routing out the Bourbons, who then
retreated east to Messina and final defeat at Naples. While garrisoned
in Milazzo, Garibaldi planned their next move at his headquarters in the
Palazzo Marchese Proto, next to Chiesa del Carmine, and the regiment
occupied the Castello.
|Chiesa del Carmine, where my father attended
If you visit Milazzo be sure to dine at
the city's gastronomic treasure, Chef
Filippo Calderone's La Vecchia Cucina,
a splendid seafood restaurant
alocated at Via Nino Ryolo 17, near
the Lungomare Garibaldi.
Arguably the friendliest caffé in
town is Bar CD, where you can
enjoy espresso, cappucino,
aperitivi, digestivi, gelato, panini
and a variety of Sicilian pastries.
The caffé is located in the heart
of town on Piazza Caio Duilio.
|With my parents and cousins, Milazzo, 1983
calamari alla milazzese
milazzo style squid
2 pounds medium-sized squid
1 pound ripe tomatoes
4 anchovy filets packed in oil
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red chili
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Begin cleaning the squid by pulling the tentacles
and attached head away from the body. Remove
the mouth from the head, hidden in the center of
the base of the tentacles. Cut away the head just
above the tentacles and below the eyes. Discard
the mouth and head. Next, hold the body of the
squid under cold running water, peel the outer skin,
then squeeze out the insides and remove the thin
cartilage by pulling gently from its tip. Thoroughly
rinse the inside of the hood. Cook the squid whole
or, if preferred, cut squid into large square pieces,
leaving the tentacles in one piece.
Blanche the tomatoes in boiling water and peel
them. Slice the tomatoes in half, then squeeze out
the seeds and coarsely chop. Finely chop the
parsley. Slice the garlic cloves in half.
Heat the olive oil along with the garlic in a large
sautÃ© pan over moderate flame, allow the garlic
to lightly toast around the edges then add the cut
up or whole squid and tentacles. Cook the squid for
a several minutes until lightly golden. Stir in the chili
and parsley, then add the white wine and simmer
until the wine has almost evaporated.
Reduce the heat to low, add the anchovies and
crush them in the pan, then add the tomatoes.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stir
occasionally and add a few tablespoons of water to
prevent the sauce from becoming dry.
Serve as a main course, tossing the extra sauce
copyright © la cucina eoliana e siciliana 2012 ~ all rights reserved