Ethnographic Perspective on a Sicilian Cafe

After grabbing an infamous chocolate croissant I sat down at Café D’Oritiga ready to observe the people around me. I looked to my left and saw an empty table with the scraps of the previous customer. I looked to my right and saw two old men sharing coffee, a cigarette, and what looked like an enjoyable conversation. The guy on the right reminded me of my Papa, so I decided to pick them to observe! They looked to be around 70-75 and maybe retired? Do people in Italy retire?

They were dressed nice in blue jeans, over coats, and both wearing casual hats. They were laughing at each other and seemed to be carrying on a great conversation. They started nudging each other sarcastically every time they would laugh, sort of like my Papa and his friends do. I noticed them sit in silence for a couple of minutes and then the man to the left started talking sternly and raised his voice. I thought maybe the conversation had taken a turn for the worse or maybe they were just encountering a serious topic. Soon after there was a short pause followed by a huge outburst of laughter.

It was prime time for coffee and croissants with a busy atmosphere. People were buzzing around, talking on their phones, giving hugs, and even getting their late morning work out in. The chaos in the café had no effect on the two old men. It seemed as if they felt they were alone. They were engaged in each others company and that is all that mattered. I think we can take away an important lesson from them; stop worrying about the people around you or what people think and focus on the person in front of you.