Sicily A Heart's Journey: Endorsements


"I was lucky enough to read and be charmed by the book Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici, written by Mary Tolaro Noyes, who describes her personal journey to discover the American family’s heritage in Sicily. It is engaging, poignant, and full of anecdotes that are not found in history books or through research engines on the Internet. It is a book set in the past, based on her American family stories and those of the Sicilian family that remained behind in Pietraperzia, Sicily.

However, the book also speaks to the present and encourages the reader to reflect on today and its problems. She weaves the threads of memories and traditions from both continents that cover a century of family history. The events tell of two worlds, America and Sicily, finally reconnected, thanks to the pilgrimage of the author. There are stories of love; journeys of hope, like those of many Italian immigrants to the New World; and a rethinking of traditions, which does not cancel them but, on the contrary, makes them more authentic. There was a time when great artists like Goethe and Shelley dedicated wonderful pages to their travels in Italy. Using the same ageless and authoritative literary tradition, Mary Tolaro Noyes’ Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici allows us to enter her house, making us feel at home."

Stefano Andrini    Disc Jockey (Rel99), Journalist (Avvenire), Writer (Novels, Sensoinverso and Stories of Emilia Romagna, Giubilei Regnani), Event Promoter


"A wonderful personal account of re-establishing family connections in Sicily.  An inspiration for others who have roots in Sicily and Italy, and elsewhere in the world as well."

Dr. Peggy Kidney    Academic Affairs Coordinator, University of California, Education Abroad Program


"As Americans, we often lose sight of our roots and the importance of our shared history, traditions, and family. Mary Tolaro Noyes has been a driving force in holding onto her family, its stories, and traditions. With each story, photo, or recipe in Sicily: A Heart’s Journey, she keeps the Tolaro and Zarba families alive—in our hearts and imaginations and, of course, on our tables. The book is not only the story of our family but one representing many Sicilian-American families—and the descendants of immigrant families all over the world."

David Scott Allen" Writer, Food Stylist, and Photographer at the blog Cocoa & Lavender


"In Sicilia, Un Viaggio verso le Radici, the author Mary Tolaro Noyes uses a personal story to tell a universal one, a story that touches each of us that came to this country in search of better opportunities, whether we have just arrived or been here for three generations. Our country is one of immigrants and every reader of the book will, in one way or another, recognize her family’s story.

I arrived in the United States sixteen years ago looking for opportunities. Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici touched my heart. I too treasure the memories of growing up, the memories of the times with my mother in the kitchen or with my father in the garden. Though Mary Tolaro Noyes’ eyes I relived those moments. I now treasure more the small little habits that I have and did not even think about, like cleaning the tomato can with water to use all of the tomatoes and juice. Nonna Maria Calogera makes me think of my grandmother, my mother and hundreds of other women. Nonno Filippo reminds me of my grandfather, whom I have met only though my parents’ stories. However, I can now picture him through the author’s stories.

Maria Calogera and Filippo represent hope, love, resilience and freedom. In the early twentieth century they left their country and embarked on a journey that shaped our future. My children were born here in the United States and for them Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici will provide a personal yet tangible historic view of their origins—origins that should never be lost and, thanks to this book, will remembered."

Susanna Rosi    Professor of Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco


"To know where one comes from and where one's personal story begins is important. To be able to visit the land, meet the family, eat the foods, and touch the same piece of earth is a gift. Every family has an immigration story whether they realize it or not. Sicily, A Heart's Journey, will speak to every person who has ever wondered where they come from or celebrated their family's unique story."

Melissa Wagoner Olesen    Niece of the Author, Wife, Mother, University Professor, FellowTraveler


"As the title itself announces Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici tells the stories of Mary Tolaro Noyes' journey to discover the families of her paternal grandparents in Sicily and of her many visits to the island since that discovery in 1989. Simple pages, full of love and emotion, they include numerous anecdotes and describe unexpected adventures. It was a privilege to dedicate myself to the translation of the author’s stories to Italian, ensuring, as she requested, the verbal and behavioral nuances typical of my land: Sicily. In fact, the time spent translating was like being there, in Sicily. I will never forget the emotion I experienced in reading the colors, the smells, the tastes and the sounds perceived by the author during her first ferry crossing in the Strait of Messina towards Sicily, the same emotion that I feel every time I too return . . . Home."

Lucia Scigliano    Translator to Italian: Sicily: A Heart’s Journey


"The Bologna Connect Association promotes Bologna and Emilia Romagna in the world with pride and satisfaction and has collaborated with the American writer Mary Tolaro Noyes for several years. Thanks to her refined sensitivity and passion she has written two books about Bologna and Emilia Romagna in English, giving the international public a glimpse of our territory and allowing the reader to fall in love with it. Her last work Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici, translated and presented entirely in Italian, managed to capture the attention and the heart of the local Bolognese audience. The protagonists of this book symbolize the millions of Italians who have departed and created another life outside of Italy; her family’s story became ours. The human aspects of the history of immigration engage the reader. For this reason, an English version of Sicilia: Un Viaggio verso le Radici would be a gift to future generations, to the descendants of immigrants everywhere, helping them understand the reasons for the journey and the ingenuity and difficulties of immigrants in the world. The book would be poignant and informative especially for the countless Italian-American communities in the United States, and around the world."

Laura Bizzari   President, Associazione Bologna Connect; Founder, Love Italian for the teaching of the Italian Language


"The title of the book says it all. A more appropriate title is difficult to imagine. Author Mary Tolaro Noyes takes the reader on a heart-felt journey, an adventure, one might say, into her heritage and the island that is Sicily. The book is a series of stories, first-hand accounts of Mary’s journey to find and explore her roots. . . . Mary closes the book with an Epilogue that ends with a clear understanding. 'I have realized the world that comforts my soul, quickens my passion, and inspires my life.' Interestingly, I, as a reader, felt the same way about my own heritage. Thanks to Mary, I finally had the words to express my own life-long connection to my roots. Mary’s fondness for family is contagious. And so it should be!"

Catherine Accardi, Author & Editor, excerpt of review in Sicilia Para, Fall 2018.
You can also read the full review here.


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Page Author: Mary Tolaro Noyes

Last update: 15-Feb-2019