• Dadwagon on Facebook
  • Dadwagon on Twitter
  • Dadwagon RSS feed

The Night Children of Sicily

August 10th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Travel  |  1 Comment

Midnight Foosball, Palermo

DadWagon’s Nathan Thornburgh recently traveled for Roads & Kingdoms to Sicily, where he noticed night children and other strange things.

The day has its phases in Vucciria market. Fruit, produce and meat stands line the alleys north of Via Roma during the day. For lunch and then later mealtimes, carts emerge in front of storefronts, grilling fish in great billows of smoke and steam, keeping fried arancini warm under heat lamps. Then the vendors clear out entirely and the bars take over, pouring shots of Jaegermeister and cold pints of Moretti for the throngs who come to celebrate being young and alive on warm nights in Sicily.

It is during this phase that a foosball table emerges from somewhere and a few players take to thwacking and spinning and shouting around the table. But these are not adults indulging in a drunken round of child-games. The players are children, and they are playing against their parents. Try not to be surprised, as the hour stretches toward midnight, that kindergarten-aged children are playing foosball vigorously without a bedtime story in sight.

Sicily in the summer is an island of night-children, who stay up until they collapse, because they have no school in the morning, no summer camp. They stay with grandparents if they can, but even with parents, summer nights are deeply unregulated.

At 11:30pm in Testa Dell’Acqua, little Salvatore is watching an Italian station called Cartoonito that is not programmed for stoners, as it would be in the States, but for actual little children who want to watch cartoons at 11:30pm.

In Ribera, Sabrina’s niece and nephew finally beg for sleep. They are not forced to it.

And in Palermo, the foosball tourney, age 7 and under in the midnight division, continues on. And what you notice, and admire, about all these night-children, is that they are neither fretted over nor fretting themselves. They are night-children because their parents want to be out at night, and therein lies a simple alignment of interests. It is summer for us all, we all hate sleep, what else is there?


  1. Cecilia says:

    August 22nd, 2012at 4:04 am(#)

    Here in Spain It’s the same. Children stay up late with their parents. There’s no “bedtime routine ” in summer.

Leave a Response


Recent Comments

  • Dee: As one of the impressed moms there last night, and also because my kid ate 3 bowls of that bolognese, thanks for...
  • Drew Wallner via Facebook: I’m totally making this when we get back from holiday travel, I even just got a...
  • Matt: Whoops! Just put that back in. The recipe editor has been fired.
  • Ed Lilly: Looks great – thanks for posting! One question – you did not specify putting the meat back into...
  • Maks: I’m against baby yoga for sure, but want to say something regarding that author is a little wild about...

DadWagon Reads!


BRB, just going out to buy all the Brussels sprouts at Whole Foods...

The perfect treat for children you hate this Halloween


Halloween will be here soon, along with children knocking at your door demanding treats. Here's a brilliantly mean idea...

Oct 27th 9:22am • No Comments


The Right Way to Swear in Front of Your Kids


Context, context, context.

Sep 19th 2:33pm • No Comments

I don't care. EAT IT ANYWAY, KID!

‘Five Second Rule’ for Food on Floor Is Untrue, Study Finds


Researchers concluded that no matter how fast you pick up food that falls on the floor, you will pick up bacteria with it.

Sep 19th 11:38am • No Comments


Why Danish Parents Like to Talk About Death


It's because it makes for happier kids, says new book.

Aug 11th 8:19am • No Comments