Which is correct: arancino or arancina? A trip between flavor and etymology

arancino arancina

Pay attention: the argument is really, really thorny and, as in the case of the real Sicilian granita, it can be an afoot of burning, interminable and especially old debates between the oriental and the occidental coasts. Which one is correct: “arancino” or “arancina”?

It’s not just a linguistic discussion, it’s a real struggle between the Sicily’s west and east coast. And the captains of these two “teams” are Palermo on a side, and Catania on the other. Because (and keep this thing in mind if you’d like to spend a problem-less holiday):

  • In Palermo it’s called arancina
  • In Catania (and Messina) it’s called arancino

It’s all. None of the two factions will never surrender. It’s a matter of principle, and it’s so ancient that no one remember the origin of the name, but everyone keep maintaining his thesis. Advancing the same motivation, but seen  from two different points of view:

  • Obviously it’s called arancina, because it hails from the fruit of the orange three. Orange (Arancia in Italian), which is female.
  • No, it’s called arancino because it has to differentiate from the name of the fruit.

And also the authors say their opinion. The Palermitan Gaetano Basile is a supporter of the “arancina”. While Camilleri, who entitled its famous novel “Gli arancini di Montalbano”, where arancini is the plural of arancino. In this way, both Basile and Camilleri revealed their origins.

Don’t take it easy, the question is serious. Numerous linguists had to say their opinion, and also famous dictionaries. Like the Traina, the Sicilian-Italian dictionary of 1868, that reports the name “arancinu”.

Question resolved? Absolutely no: the Two Sicilies (oriental and occidental) are resolute. And the poor tourist how should say it, an arancino or an arancina? Well, you’d probably do better if you call them arancine in the west side and arancini in the east side. So that you won’t offend anyone and you’ll taste of the most typical Sicilian style flavor.


Image source: Flickr.com/photos/rohypnol

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