The Ladybug travel tips: six things to do in Caltagirone in one day

Caltagirone is a small town in southern Sicily, very famous all over the world for its handcrafted colored ceramics. Although I was born in Sicily I have never been there before but as my mom really wanted to visit it last summer we decided to have a one-day family trip to Caltagirone to enjoy the city.

Here are my top 6 things to do list if you decide to visit this lovely place one day:

  • The Cathedral: San Giuliano Cathedral in the center of Caltagirone is a magnificent religious building with a very old history. It was destroyed by several earthquakes and re-built many times. Its wonderful turquoise dome is very characteristic and it is visible from many corners of the city. Its inside decorations are amazing and definitely worth a visit.
  • Ceramic Museum: Caltagirone is famous all over the world for its ceramics and everywhere in town it is easy to see them decorating walls, facades and balconies of old buildings. The history of ceramics’ handcrafting is very interesting and you can have a clear idea of how it changed during the times in the beautiful Ceramic Museum. There are rare examples of different eras and a very detailed focus on the way it is traditionally crafted. You can also find here an amazing collection of the famous Moor’s Heads, typical Sicilian ceramic sculptures representing our ancestors (the Moors).
  • Santa Maria del Monte Stairway: this is the most famous corner of Caltagirone, the famous stairway built in 1606 connecting the old town with the new one. 142 stairs fully decorated with authentic ceramics from Caltagirone, it is full of plants and flowers and very loved by tourists and citizens. A picture here is a must of your visit!
  • Moor’s Heads: you can’t leave Caltagirone without brining with you the famous Moor’s Heads, representing our Moors ancestors’ heads decorated with fruits and other typical pieces of the Sicilian tradition, these pieces are a must have. You can find them in many colors and decorations but please be careful when you buy them. If they are too cheap they are not traditionally handcrafted! Moor’s Heads can be very expensive but the quality is absolutely different. Spend a bit more but get the real ones (the couple, not just one!). I got mine here after a long hunt but I am madly in love with them!
  • Granita: like almost everywhere in Sicily granita here is delicious! I had lunch with it (and a famous Sicilian brioche) in one of the bars at the entrance of the old city (in front of the City Theatre) and I was totally delighted (I got a pistachio one, of course!)
  • Magma Shop: last but not least I suggest a visit to my favorite shop in town, Magma, just near the Stairway. It is a very peculiar shop selling only handcrafted pieces mainly from Sicilian handcrafters. Clothes, accessories and homeware here are 100% handmade certified!

I am wearing a thrifted Moroccan caftan from Girls in the Garage, an handmade wax bag from Atelier Habibi and an handmade headwrap from Madame Ilary.

The Ladybug travels to Spain but staying in Sicily: plunging into the colors of Borgo Parrini

During our last lockdown, while scrolling on my Instagram feed I saw a picture that took my attention: colored yellow, white and blue houses that looked like Spanish or Tunisian. I liked at the point that I checked the geotag to understand where this lovely place was placed and, big surprise! It was located in Sicily!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes and I immediately googled the place: Borgo Parrini, between Palermo and Trapani, that was a real revelation for me! I added in my “Places to visit” list and I had the chance to go there a few months later, during my summer holidays.

But first, let me tell you more about this place: this small village near Partinico (also called the secret Barcelona) was founded in the XVII century by the Jesuits but it is now an almost abandoned village where only around 20 people still live. One of them was the entrepreneur Giuseppe Gaglio who, with the help of some other citizens decided to initiate a restoration of the abandoned houses to re-give life to his beloved village. He called Sicilian artists to recreate a Barcelona/Gaudi inspired village with mosaics, majolica and colored glass, bright facades and an explosion of colorful flowering plants.

The project started in the late 1990s and it took almost 25 years.

The life of the “Borgo” immediately changed since loads of tourists from all over the world started visiting this renovated village, pretty much loved for its colors and dreamy atmosphere.

It is more and more usual nowadays to use some “marketing ideas” to bring back to life many of the abandoned Italian villages and I must say that I think it is a great idea to restore our architectural and historical heritage and to give them a new life. And if this means also giving them a new life in terms of economy by bringing tourists and give space to more entrepreneurs, why not? Today in Borgo Parrini you can find a few pizzerias and a couple of bars and shops which was absolutely unthinkable a few decades earlier.

You can reach the village by car and it takes about an hour to visit (you can also enter the renovated houses for a few euros) and you can have a quick lunch/dinner and even enjoy the pomegranate “granita” handmade by a lovely resident who sells it on the main street leading to the center of the village!

It is better to go during the day to enjoy the bright colors and to take very nice pictures, but it seems that it is very suggestive also at night, coming back from a day at the beach or even in Christmas with its lovely decorations and a living nativity scene.

You can have an idea of how it looks like from my pictures but believe me, you’ll love it in real life!

I wore a vintage caftan found at Vinokilo in Milan with handmade turban (Mara Seyeyaram), a neoprene bag (Geometric Bag) and a pair of sequined flat sandals from Colors of California. Also, the lovely turban earrings come from Kano Sartoria Sociale in Sicily.

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The Ladybug guided tour: one day in Milazzo

If you visit Sicily, especially in summer, and you are around my hometown Messina, I definitely suggest a visit to the medieval town of Milazzo.

It is very popular as a summer destination for the beaches but also for its nightlife: when I was young I used to spend there my summer Saturday nights, in the tiny streets of the old town full of bars, restaurants and little handmade and traditional shops.

The upper part of the town is the oldest one and I find it very fascinating because of the rests of the medieval village, the castle and the fortified walls. You can visit several halls of the castle, such as the Norman tower, the so called fireplace’s hall, where in 1295 a sort of Parliament was hosted, the court and several parts built during the Spanish domination. You can also enjoy a beautiful view from there!

The lowest part is famous for its amazing beaches with warm and crystalline water, especially in the area of Cape Milazzo where you can also visit the natural Venus Pool Venus, a protected area where you can swim in the most beautiful sea.

When I was in Sicily last summer I had an incredible desire of going back to Milazzo as I was missing from more than 10 years: I was pleased to see that nothing has changed, except from the weather, as it was the most horrible hot day ever! I spent the day visiting the upper town with my sister before heading to Capo Milazzo to admire the view and then relax in a lovely beach in the afternoon.

Even if it was too damn hot that day I wore a vintage purple cotton dress from Freja Vintage (on Vinted) and a soft viscose large trousers handmade from Madame Ilary. I completed my sustainable outfit with a pair of leather sandals from Clarks, Gucci sunglasses and handmade and vintage jewelry. My wax bag is from a Senegalese handcrafter that I found through Alessia form Clementine Vintage.

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The Ladybug on how to wear vintage at the beach

The Ladybug Chronicles Mexican Dress (3)

“What do you wear when you go to the beach?”

This was a question that I received on my Instagram account last summer during my Sicilian holidays. I found it funny at the beginning but then I decided to take a picture just on my way back from the beach to show you basically two things:

  1. I am super low profile when I go to the beach: I prefer free beach to private beach clubs, my favorite beach is just near my family house, I don’t wear fancy clothes or swimwear and definitely no make-up! (Here I have make-up because we were heading to an aperitivo right after the beach!!)
  2. When I go to the beach I wear exactly what I wear in my real life, like in this case, vintage and African wax prints!

The Ladybug Chronicles Mexican Dress (2)

The Ladybug Chronicles Mexican Dress (5)

The dress that you are seeing here is a vintage handmade Mexican piece that I found at Humana Vintage in Milan: as I don’t usually wear sleeveless pieces I decided to use it as a long waistcoat over a white tee and a clear jeans but I decided to give it a chance as a dress and wore it for the beach. I love the details and embroideries of this dress and I love its color, I found it for a real bargain price and I couldn’t leave it there!

My big African wax printed bag is the perfect bag for long days at the beach: it is so big and comfy that you can put whatever you need inside and the print is just adorable. I found it from Clementine Vintage on her Instagram account, it is handcrafted and I am super happy that I finally found my perfect beach bag!

Comfy shoes are from Clarks and golden hoop earrings are from Gogo Philip.

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The Ladybug’s third stop of the virtual tour of Messina: the beach

The Ladybug Chronicles Bayside (7)

The third and last stop (for now) of my virtual tour of my hometown Messina couldn’t be another place than the beach. I couldn’t realize how lucky I was to live in a town with a beautiful beach and clean turquoise sea in the city, until I moved to Northern Italy to start University in a city without the sea.

After many years I keep looking for the sea everywhere I go and I still dream of moving to a city close to the sea, which is definitely not the city where I live now!

In Messina, in summer you can go to the beach whenever you have time: lunchtime if you work, at 5pm when you finish work, spend all day there or just a few hours to get a fabulous tan, to swim or any other beach activity that comes to your mind. In winter there is no place more peaceful than the sea, where I go every time that I feel lost and anxious.

This is exactly what I did on that warm day of December: finding my inner peace in front of MY sea, in a little fishermen’s beach not far from where I live (10 minutes by walk!).

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I wore my favorite vintage black leather skirt from New Retro Vintage in Bucharest (my favorite vintage find of that trip!) and a Benetton turtle neck mustard sweater (one of my favorite colors lately). Simple outfit but with three accessories that I adore:

         i.            The amazing Bayside 84 vintage leather backpack that I have been looking for ages until I found my perfect match at the airport before flying back home. The leather is the softest ever and I love that you can wear it as a bag or as a backpack (I always use it as a backpack because I was seriously looking for a cute one like this!).

       ii.            The snake-printed clogs from L’Autre Chose: these are the cutest wooden clogs ever with warm wool inside and they are uber comfortable. I loved them since the beginning but I could only afford them during a sample sale in Milan a few months ago! Now we are almost inseparable!

      iii.            The huge handmade brass earrings from Metalica Creazioni: I love everything crafted by the amazing Francesca but those were just fantastic! I truly adore them!

Well, my virtual tour of Messina is over for now but I promise more stops in town when I’ll be back (hopefully soon)!

Watch this space!

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The Ladybug’s second stop of the virtual tour of Messina

The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (3)

My second stop of the tour of my hometown Messina couldn’t be anywhere else than here: near the sea.

The pictures were taken at the Messina Fair building, just a few steps from my beautiful turquoise sea; such a shame that you couldn’t see it clearly as it was a cloudy day again but this is one of the most loved places in town, the place where everybody goes for a walk especially at night in summer to enjoy the fresh air and the scent of the sea. Now you see it empty but this is one of the most crowded areas of Messina, also because from here you can enjoy a great view on the Straight, on the other side of Italy and on the famous Statue of Mary built and dedicated to the town after the 1908 earthquake that destroyed the city.

I was walking there with my sister and we decided to take some pictures there even if the weather was not great…but I wore my turquoise wool vintage skirt from Humana Vintage that perfectly matched the sea!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (5)

I got this little gem for 5 euros a few months ago and I am totally in love with it! I wore with a simple black jumper (from Benetton) and my new white ankle boots from Miss Selfridge at Asos. I’ve been struggling against my will to buy white ankle boots because I have always hated white shoes but when I found the perfect pair for a bargain price I just couldn’t resist! What do you think of white shoes trend lately? I must confess that even if I hate white shoes in general there are a couple of nice pieces that I definitely like. If I have to be honest the first pair that I saw where a bit too expensive for a pair of white boots that’s why I gave up until I saw those online! I mean, white boots are cool but spending too much money on them was not in my plans!

I added a polka-dot handmade turban from Madame Ilary (it’s my sister’s turban but I just got it for the shooting!) and handmade lovely cactus earring from Monica Pria. I told the story of these earrings on my social networks lately because they were a present of one of my best friends for Christmas. She told me that cactus represents strength and resilience and that’s what she wished me for the upcoming year…such a lovely present! All the jewelry created by Monica has “a purpose” that’s why I love it so much; I also went to see her during one of her markets to meet her and talk to her about her work (and to get a beautiful gratitude ring that I showed on Instagram some time ago!).

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The Ladybug welcomes you to Messina!

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (3)

Most of you following me for a while now know that I am living in Milan since 2012 but I am a proud Southern girl! I was born in Sicily, more precisely in Messina the first town that you meet when you cross the Straight coming from the “boot”.

Every time that I go home I take pictures there, so you may be used to the landscape and beauty of my hometown, but I decided this year to tell you a bit more about my city by taking pictures in the most famous and touristic places, as well as my favorite ones when I am there.

I started with a few places this past Christmas but I hope to show you more during my next visits!

If you are in Messina you must start from the most iconic place in town, also probably one of the most famous: the Cathedral. This beautiful church has a long and complicated history and it represents the real heart of my hometown, with its beautiful place and fountain, it is definitely our favorite place in town.

It is very famous because of its Tower Bell and Astronomical Clock, a very complex system with many allegorical meanings distributed on different levels, it is the only astronomical clock in Italy and the biggest and more complex in the world. Every day at 12 pm for 12 minutes you can admire the emotional (at least for me it is an emotion every time that I see it!) mechanism moving with the sound of the bells and finishing with the lion roar. The whole tower is full of symbols and I am always quite surprised when I realize that many tourists come to visit it and so few fellow citizens are aware of the complex meanings behind this gem.

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (4)

Anyway, as almost every time that I go home I couldn’t help spending  my 12 minutes there at 12 pm (I do that all the time!) and I took some pictures there to show you how it looks like, while also showing you a little outfit!

Although it was a cloudy day, the temperature was quite warm and I didn’t even need a coat with this amazing rust jumper with large sleeves from Ottod’Ame. I saw it in their shop in Florence during my last visit but I decided to wait for the Black Friday sale to get it, also because I was just buying the little round bag that I wear here as a belt bag! I love this tiny bag so much: it can be worn in three different ways (belt bag, hand bag or shoulder bag with its cute golden chain) and it is the most comfortable little bag ever! Perfect for nights out, concerts or wherever you need to bring only a few things without carrying your big bag…one of my best buys ever!

I am pairing my new Ottod’Ame set with a vintage black leather skirt from New Retro Vintage, a lovely vintage shop in Bucharest old town  where I found my perfect midi leather skirt during my last visit in October last year!

My black laced boots are from Ouigal and my handmade brass statement earrings are from Metalica Creazioni.

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The Ladybug and the rainy (but colored) island life


I don’t know what happened this year but since I arrived in Messina (my hometown in Sicily) mid-August, the weather started acting funny: not a single day with sunny weather but always cloudy and very changeable. One hour of rain, two hours of sun and so on for two whole 2 weeks.

We literally chased the sun but I couldn’t get more than two/three hours per day!

The problem is that when it rains and it is August the life on an island is pretty boring: I read a lot, worked on the blog (I made some changes, did you notice?) and on the online shop. I basically prepared my comeback to Milan and planned all the activities for September/October (not fun at all!).



One of these rainy days I was out and about with my sister (ok we went for a Sicilian “granita”!) we passed by this murals and she told me that it was perfect for a shooting as I looked like in the Caribbean! She was right, it was fun and so, here I am, in Sicily but looking like the Caribbean!

I wore my new orange wax skirt handmade by Heka Couture with an African print fabric that I bought in Senegal with my grey tee from Damsels in Distress and a pair of Clarks black gladiator sandals (one of the comfiest pair of shoes ever!).

Afro inspired earrings are from Mango while the Ghanaian mini bolga bag was a great find from Sankofa Beads and Baskets on Etsy.




The Ladybug is a storyteller: the legend of the giants Mata and Grifone

The Ladybug Chronicles Mata & Grifone (1)

A few weeks ago, while walking down the streets of Messina I stopped by the two big statues of the giants Mata and Grifone riding their horses.

The two huge statues are exposed in the central square of Messina (Piazza Unione Europea) in front of the City Hall a couple of weeks a year, usually after mid-August (after parading for a couple of days) until the end of the month, to allow tourists and citizens to take pictures of them and to celebrate the legendary founders of the city.

I have always loved their legend since I was a child because it was the celebration of an interracial and interreligious couple! They still represent to my eyes the symbol of an open town, open to migrants, strangers and whoever approaches our sea. Unfortunately this is not how the things are going lately in my town and in my country in general, that’s why I wanted to remember this story and to tell it to the world: to remind that we all come from “mixed” ancestors, we have no idea of what type of blood runs into our veins, and we should be proud of it.

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The legend says indeed that people from Messina come from this mixed couple: her name was Marta, she was from Camaro, one of the area of the city, beautiful and tall girl, daughter of a local landlord falling in love with a dark skin big pirate during the Saracen invasions of Sicily around 970 AD. The pirate was called Hassas Ibn-Hammar but he had to change his name and religion (he was of course Muslim) to marry Marta. His name then became Grifo (exaggerated to Grifone due to his size) while her name was changed in dialect to Mata. They founded then Messina by populating it with a lot of descendants!

This post and pictures are my tribute to them, to my legendary ancestors representing peace and connection between different cultures, races and religions. This is how proud I am to be from Messina.

For my yearly tribute I wore a vintage floral shirt from Humana Vintage Milano, Topshop denim shorts and Japanese white flats. Ghanaian bolga bag is from Sankofa Beads and Baskets on Etsy, while round sunglasses are from Valentino.

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The Ladybug plays matchy matchy in Sicily

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The “Giardino Corallo” is one of the historical places in town with a long and complicated story: music, theatre, cinema, artistic center, it represents a bit of my hometown history and I really wanted to take some pictures outside this place because I like the “vintage” feeling.

I didn’t know that just around the corner a piece of street art was also waiting to be photographed!

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It was one of hottest winter days of my Sicilian holiday (I didn’t need to wear a coat) and I wore a beautiful handmade coordinated culottes and turban by Heka Couture with a simple turtleneck Zara jumper.

Pointy ankle boots are from Francesco Milano at Merry Go Round in Milan, silver loop earrings are vintage and my new red lipstick is from Wycon Cosmetics!

The Ladybug Chronicles Sicily Coordinated (5)

The Ladybug Chronicles Sicily Coordinated (3)