As a young postgraduate student of economics I spent a number of years in England at the universities of Cambridge and London.

At that time you would not bump into Sicilian students that often. This is why I was a sort of rare thing to be watched with some interest. I decided not to smash locals’ expectations and went along with a number of wrong ideas about Sicily and Sicilians, only to take locals by surprise with some piece of snobbery at the end of the conversation, like saying that the Sicilian language was a proper language apt to be spoken at school.

The usual response of my university fellows to this piece of snobbery was an interested but sceptical look. Then a number of questions would follow. Has it a proper grammar? Is there a literature? Do you have plays in Sicilian? Is it taught at school?

My answer to all these questions would be a complacent yes, aware that I was not really telling the truth in all respects. At the time, however, no one could check. So why care that much? After all, there were plays and a literature in Sicilian. I could get away with that. There was also a grammar, albeit dubious.

But Sicilian was not – in actual fact – taught at school. I am finally vindicated. My opinionated English friends can now treat Sicily and its culture with due respect and stop considering Sicily as a remote island deployed at the outermost boundaries of Europe, to be visited in the summertime.

They might even consider sending their children to take courses in the Sicilian language while in Sicily.

Will they really?


La luminaria utilizzata come immagine di copertine è l’opera ACHIM realizzata dall’artista Fabrizio Cicero in occasione della Rassegna d’arte MAnifesta12 attualmente in corso a Palermo.


Maurizio Caserta è professore Ordinario di Economia Politica presso l’Università di Catania. Dal 2010 fa parte del Consiglio di amministrazione della Fondazione Sicilia. Dal 2011 della Fondazione RES. Affianca alla sua attività di ricerca scientifica, che le lo vede coinvolto in organismi nazionali e internazionali, quella di saggista su temi di economia politica. A Catania, la sua città di origine, è particolarmente conosciuto per il suo impegno civile. È presidente dell’Associazione Mediterraneo, Sicilia, Europa sul cui sito è stato lanciato il progetto Public Space, uno spazio pubblico a disposizione per il confronto delle idee.