Italian barbers, such as this shop in Syracuse that dates to 1895, have a history that goes back to the time of Ancient Rome, when a shaved face distinguished free men from slaves. "Il barbiere" is also a social space, where men can talk freely in a male-only setting.
Sicily – Photo Tip

People love showing off their country for your photographs

Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Sicily – Photo Tip People love showing off their country for your photographs

Italians, and especially the Sicilians, are people you cannot ignore. You have to engage with them. They have a charming combination of not really caring what you think of them but at the same time being very proud.

Jurjen Drenth
Jurjen Drenth Travel Photographer

They are also very open to communicating with strangers or tourists. Lots of conversations take place with hands and a big smile, making them probably the best people to understand without speaking their language. Their energy means that, no matter how many tourists might be around, Italy remains very much Italy.

I felt this energy in Sicily at this traditional barber in Syracuse (above). The store is from 1895 and the pride in the craftsmanship of the barber means you feel like a king. This passion is what I love about Italy. I noticed the same with this waiter (below). I asked him if I could take a photo and, of course, he said yes. He posed for me and turned it into a moment of great fun.

These spontaneous moments are typical of the Italian (and Sicilian) joy in life. It is an almost childish quality where there is no pretense and you can really be yourself.

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Syracuse's central piazza has been a site of worship for thousands of years, and its Baroque Duomo was converted from a Greek temple of the 5th century BCE. The cathedral's 18th century facade was recently restored and is considered one of the finest in Italy. Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Canon 5D-III

Aperture
ƒ/8
Exposure
1/350
ISO
100
Focal
14 mm

Syracuse's central piazza has been a site of worship for thousands of years, and its Baroque Duomo was converted from a Greek temple of the 5th century BCE. The cathedral's 18th century facade was recently restored and is considered one of the finest in Italy.

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