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Sicily: A Short History from the Ancient Greeks to Cosa Nostra SOLD OUT

Friday 8 April 2016

1 Hour


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Writer and broadcaster Viscount John Julius Norwich explains how a visit to Sicily in 1961 first inspired him to be a writer and how his latest book is the result of half a century of fascination with the island.

Norwich says the Strait of Messina dividing Italy and Sicily may only be a few miles but the island itself is a world apart from its parent country. He tries to uncover the dark enigma at the heart of an island that has witnessed erupting volcanoes, the assassination of Byzantine emperors, Nelson’s affair with Emma Hamilton and the rise of the Mafia. The island has been fought over and occupied by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, Germans, Spaniards and the French for thousands of years, says Norwich, but has never properly belonged to any of them.

Norwich is author of many popular works of history including The Normans in Sicily, A History of Venice and a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He has written and presented 30 historical documentaries for television. Norwich is the son of the celebrated society figures, politician and diplomat Duff Cooper and Lady Diana Cooper, and has written about his family in Darling Monster: The Letters of Lady Diana Cooper to her Son John Julius Norwich 1939-1952 and The Duff Cooper Diaries: 1915-1951.

Programme of Italian literature and culture.