In this sparkling book, Theresa Maggio takes us on a journey in search of Sicily's most remote and least explored mountain towns. Using her grandparents' ancestral village of Santa Margherita Belice as her base camp, she pores over old maps to plot her adventure, selecting as her targets the smallest dots with the most appealing names. Her travels take her to the small towns surrounding Mount Etna, the volcanic islands of the Aeolian Sea, and the charming villages nestled in the Madonie Mountains. Whether she's writing about the unique pleasures of Sicilian street food, the damage wrought by molten lava, the ancient traditions of Sicilian bagpipers, or the religious processions that consume entire villages for days on end, Maggio succeeds in transporting readers to a wholly unfamiliar world, where almonds grow like weeds and the water tastes of stone. In the stark but evocative prose that is her hallmark, Maggio enters the hearts and heads of Sicilians, unlocking the secrets of a tantalizingly complex culture.
Although she makes frequent forays to villages near and far, she always returns to Santa Margherita, where she researches her family tree in the municipio, goes on adventures with her cousin Nella, and traces the town's past in history and literature. A beautifully wrought meditation on time and place, The Stone Boudoir will be treasured by all who love fine travel writing.