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Published: February 18th 2018
The word Trinacria means triquetra and refers to the shape of the island of Sicily (“Sicilia” in Italian), the largest island in the Mediterranean. Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium, meaning “star with three points”. The Trinacria symbol is the head of Medusa who, in Greek mythology, was a monster (a Gorgon generally described as a winged human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair; gazers upon her face would turn to stone) surrounded by three bent running legs, and three stalks of wheat. Due to the island's distinct triangular shape, the symbol has also been adopted by the Sicilian government and is located on the center of Sicily's flag. (Source: Wikipedia)
After a late-morning start, our first order of business today was to walk from our apartment to the public bus terminal on the other side of town, where we'll be taking several excursions next week. The tours depart at 7 AM, and our concern is whether we can manage to reach the station, which is about a mile away, in time to catch the bus. In fact, it turned out to be a longer and slower "slog" than anticipated, with several stretches of roadway without sidewalks, and it took us more than 30 minutes to reach the station. So we'll probably need to arrange for taxis on those days.
From the bus station we continued walking to reach the Villa Comunale
(Parco Duca di Cesarò), a beautiful public garden created by Lady Florence Trevelyan in the late 19th century. The garden offers stunning views of the sea and Mt. Etna. The garden is populated by lush vegetation consisting of palm trees, succulents and a vast amount of flowers that bloom in summertime. The paths are surrounded by magnolias, hibiscus and bougainvillea bushes. The villa was originally inhabited by Lady Florence Trevelyan, a Scottish noblewoman who left her country after having
A new angel gets her wings?
“Angels of our Time” is supposedly a hymn to love, a bronze sculpture created by Piero Guidi in the Villa Comunale (public gardens) in Taormina.
a relationship with the heir to the throne of England, Edward VII. After arriving in Taormina in 1884, she married an Italian professor. The garden became the property of the municipality in 1922, and today it is still possible to admire the peculiar structures erected by Lady Trevelyan for purely ornamental purposes (known as "Victorian follies").
After strolling through the garden's grounds for half-an-hour or so, our wobbly legs struggled for another half-hour to reach Corso Umberto, where we intended to have a late lunch. This walk turned out to be a daunting challenging, with uphill grades and several sets of stairways along the way. We finally arrived, huffing and puffing, at the terrace of the Bar Mocambo on Piazza IX Aprile, where Dee had a salad (with a Bloody Mary), and I ordered a panini sandwich (with a tall beer).
Our next stop was the Teatro Greco
, the ancient amphitheater that was built based on a Greek design (circa 3rd century BC), and later rebuilt by the Romans in the 2nd century AD. It was built in the most panoramic spot imaginable, with views of Mt. Etna and the Ionian Sea, and is still used for concerts
and other performances. I managed to climb and clamber around the upper levels of the arena, and the views are stunning indeed!
On our way back to Corso Umberto from the theatre, we encountered a throng of young bambini
(dressed in various costumes), along with their parents, staging for a parade of some sort. So we took a bit of a detour that, quite by chance, took us to another relic from the Roman era: a monumental, 122-meters-long wall dating back to the 2nd century AD. Known as the Naumachie
, this brick structure protected a large cistern and supported the terracing above which passed a road. Amazingly, to this day the wall serves as a foundation for residential buildings built on top of it.
Upon reaching the Corso Umberto, we plodded our way back to the apartment, barely managing to ascend the final sets of stairs. Hopefully, by the time our stay in Taormina is over, our legs will serve us better. Total walking distance today, according to Google maps, was 3.6 miles; no wonder Dee got a foot blister!
Dee's comments: Great Saturday! Slept-in a little later, then, oh my, a very long walk to the
bus station to see how long it would take; then off to the park, another long, curving walk; exploring many streets and too many staircases. We schlepped around all day, including another "Rock Joint" leaving me with a blister on the heel of one foot!
Things you should know---"puffy" coats still in style here (all age groups wearing them); many women wearing patent leather shoes, high heels, a lot of Michael Kors' handbags, lots of black, stylish hats with matching scarves; children and dogs well-behaved (no barking); noticing a lot more cats than on past travels; clothing, shoe, and grocery prices seem expensive here; clean streets, no litter, lots of garbage workers, and yes, they recycle.
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