Thankfully, Tony Blair was nowhere near my Sicilian holiday

Sicily is far removed from the gracious suavities of Tuscany. With the souk-like atmosphere of its markets and obscure exuberance of life in the old Cosa Nostra towns, the Mediterranean island is halfway to Muslim Tunisia. The British Tuscanites who descend on the hills around Florence during the summer holidays as part of their ‘Toujours Tuscany’ dream – Tony Blair, Sting, David Cameron – are thankfully nowhere in evidence. In our post-Godfather world no history of Sicily would be complete without mention of the Mafia. The word is said to derive from the Arabic mahyas, meaning ‘aggressive boasting’: for almost three centuries until the Norman Conquest of 1061, Sicily was an