Chicago Author Carlo Treviso Celebrates His Sicilian Heritage With Debut Thriller Novel: Siciliana

May 11 07:12 2022
Inspired by a dramatic 13th century uprising, Treviso uses the craft of storytelling to transform perceptions of Sicily and Sicilian culture.

Fact: On March 30, 1282, as the bells of Palermo, Sicily tolled for Vespers, a Sicilian woman crying “Death to the Angevins!” led a people’s uprising against the French garrison occupying the city. Within six weeks, Sicilian rebels slayed more than three thousand Angevin soldiers across the island. The turbulent events of 1282 became known as the Sicilian Vespers.

This spring, Chicago author Carlo Treviso is bringing a revolutionary voice to the historical fiction genre with his debut thriller novel, “Siciliana.”  He hopes to shine a new light on Sicily’s engrossing past and resilient culture, and celebrate his family’s heritage in a way that he wanted to see in popular culture.

Treviso was born the first-generation son of a Sicilian immigrant family. Growing up, if he mentioned Sicily or his Sicilian heritage to any anyone unfamiliar with its past or culture, the typical response included some use of the notorious M word. Mafia. Mention Sicily in literature or film, and one might imagine an aging don stroking a white cat or a low-level mobster running a casino outfit.

“More often than not, Sicilians are portrayed and perceived in popular culture in a negative context—hustlers, gangsters, grifters.” Treviso said. “My Sicilian heritage deserves better.”

Treviso determined that the only way to confront and change these negative perceptions was to change the narrative all together. He set out to paint a never-before-seen portrait of Sicily when the island was still considered its own kingdom. Originally known as the Kingdom of Trinacria, Sicily was once an evocative realm of forbidden knights, forgotten fortresses, and fallen kings.

Enter “Siciliana.” 

Set during the actual events of a bloody 13th century uprising known as the Sicilian Vespers, “Siciliana” tells the harrowing tale of Aetna Vespiri, the daughter of a revered Sicilian knight, who leads a peoples’ rebellion against the French Angevin forces occupying Sicily. Aetna soon finds herself fighting not only for the nation she believes in, but also for the meaning of family.

Kirkus Reviews writes: “An intriguing work that embodies the ferocity of a woman wronged while contemplating complex questions of home and country.”

BookLife by Publisher’s Weekly writes: “Treviso’s engaging historical novel of revolution and revenge deepens the Puzo-fied public perception of Sicily and its history…This vigorous retelling of a 13th century Sicilian revolution will dazzle fans of martial historical fiction… who will find much here to relish, tremble at, and in the end cheer.”

“Siciliana” released on March 30th, 2022 to commemorate the 740th anniversary of the Sicilian Vespers. The novel is available in all formats on and other online retailers.

“Perhaps one day, when a Sicilian daughter or Sicilian son tells someone about their family’s heritage, the response they receive will not be ‘Oh, like the Mafia?’ but rather ‘Oh, like ‘Siciliana!’” Treviso said.

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