Our Man in... Sicily. Ciro Grillo Will Show You and Your Family a Good Time
Ciro Grillo takes the author on a moped ride through the terrifying streets of Palermo. (Photo: Jo Piazza)
My father likes to refer to Ciro Grillo as a member of our family.
“Ciro is my cugini,” he says with a flourish of his hand, gesticulating and using a thick Tony Soprano-accent in case you didn’t know that he is a proud Italian-American.
The author’s father, John Piazza, stands outside his family’s town of Caltabellotta. (Photo: Jo Piazza)
Ciro is not related to us. The truth is that Ciro (pronounced Cheer-O) is one of the most competent tour guides you will find in all of Italy, on the often difficult to navigate island of Sicily.
The streets of Taormina (Photo: Jo Piazza)
In the past decade that my family has known Ciro and adopted him as a “cugini” he has picked us up from the airport in Palermo well after midnight and taken me on a hair-raising motor-scooter ride through the city during the rush hour to get a scoop of the perfect Mandorla (almond) flavored gelato. On another trip I just told Ciro I wanted to go somewhere that no one spoke English and drive a boat. He shipped me off to a small fishing village in the Egadi islands to crash at his buddy Pippo’s.
Twice, he has aided my dad with an “adventure” that drove my mother Tracey to curse Ciro’s name: