I'll post my photos and travelogue later, but I'll tell you one story now:
While we were in the hilltop village of Erice, we stopped at a pastry shop that was made famous in the real life novel Bitter Almonds. On the way out I noticed they had some copies of the book, which I hadn't read before, and saw it was in English so I bought it. When I went to pay, the woman sitting at the cash register smiled and opened it to a photo in the book and in Italian said, "That's me". (Mom translated.) She turned to another photo and said, "Taught me everything she knew." This was the woman the book was about; she co-authored the book about her life. She signed it for me! (The pastries were fantastic too. So light!) The book is half story and half recipes (46 of them).
The group broke up after our trip to the pastry shop, but when we were walking back to meet the bus, we ran into our guide. I told him that Maria had been there and signed the copy of the book I got there and he ran back to the shop. He said that he'd been looking for a copy of the book for a while because it's currently out of print. (As you can see on the Amazon link above, it's only available used or on Kindle.) She was gone by the time he went in, but he did get his copy of the book. The rest of the group was jealous when I told them the story because they hadn't seen the book on the shelves. I'm lucky that I noticed it and checked to see what language it was in. Now I have an extra special souvenir.
I'm slowly catching up on my TV shows and LJ. Feel free to leave me a link if you want to make sure I don't miss something.