Blogs from Sicily, Italy, Europe


Europe » Italy » Sicily » Piazza Armerina December 29th 2022

Mosaics en masse In the 4th century CE a large and elaborate Roman Villa, Villa Romana del Casale, was built in central Sicily. It is a bit surprising that they built it in central Sicily and not somewhere else. Today it is relatively easy to reach the site, thanks to modern roads and cars. But since it is quite far from the coast it still feels like a remote location. The closest town is Piazza Armerina which no more than maybe 21,000 people call home. Also in the fourth century there was some kind of settlement there but I guess this place must have been quite far away from everything. So why would anyone build a magnificent villa in the middle of nowhere? Was it a recluse who built it? One can only guess. The villa ... read more
Room of the Gymnasts
The Great Hunt

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Corleone December 25th 2022

One ancient tomb, several ancient temples, one ancient fortress and one not so ancient ghost town This blog entry covers most of the places I visited in the second half of this trip in Sicily. When I look through the pictures I see that there are a lot of historical (ancient) places there. But there is some other stuff in there too so hopefully there is something for people who are not history buffs as well. Scala dei Turchi Scala dei Turchi is a cliff face that is unusual as it is white. The rock is sedimentary and the white colour comes from it being made up mainly of shells from a certain kind of plankton. Sant'Angelo Muxaro Sant'Angelo Muxaro is one of many small hill towns in Sicily. The towns were built on hilltops... read more
Scala dei Turchi
View from Sant'Angelo Muxaro
The tomb entrance

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Palermo December 22nd 2022

I have seen the volcano that gave us the word "Volcano" Winter in Sweden is something that neither of us really enjoy. We find that it is too wet, too dark and too cold. For more than 20 years Ake has been able to take time off from work over Christmas and New Year and has gone abroad for at least one week to get an antidote to Swedish winter. Due to the pandemic that streak of winter holidays came to an abrupt halt two years ago. So Ake has been staying home for Christmas two years in a row, 2020 and 2021. But in 2022 it was possible to travel again so Ake went abroad. This time Emma could not come along so Ake picked a destination Emma has visited but Ake hasn't - the ... read more
Palermo cathedral
Quattro Canti
Fontana Pretoria

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Palermo September 28th 2022

Our first day in Palermo was really late arvo and evening so we just got our bearings went to the supermarket and bought water, beer, wine and snacks. So second day we did a big walk around heaps of sites walking around 17klms, they soon mount up when you are on the move. After breaky at our B&B off we went firstly to Teatro Massimo which was a lovely theatre built in the late 1800s, scenes from the Godfather were shot here, then Capo Market, I love markets its like the life of any town or city you visit, The Palmero Cathedral, Palace of the Normans or Royal Palace, onto Ballaro Street Market, which is bigger than Capo, Porta Nuova near the Palace of the Normans its a monumental city gate which is something else, truly ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Enna September 18th 2022

Train trip from Catania to Enna was only about an hour and half but the Enna Train Station is about 5klms from the town, uphill and very steep! The buses do not co-ordinate with trains and it was over an hour wait for bus, so after a couple of calls eventually got a taxi for 15 euro up to the town, there is no way you could walk it! We are staying at the cutest B&B called Domus Enna and the owners Giuseppe and Patrizia are just lovely and full of life, its right in the main road Via Roma, so very central. They just have 4 rooms here and the breakfast they put on is fantastic! We were not expecting much of a spread and there were so many choices. Enna is spot on the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Siracusa September 15th 2022

Did get our ferry at 5.00a.m. Tuesday 13th and it all went very smoothly being off the boat by 7.00a.m. It was a very big ferry with heaps of cars and semi trailers. We hailed a taxi to take us to the Pozzallo Railway Station and then waited for our 9a.m. train and wasn't it a shock when it arrived, reminded me of the Flintstones, an old two carriage affair with an engine in the front of one of the carriages, and it was high off the platform with very steep steps, poor John nearly busted a foofer valve trying to lug the cases up the steps and onto the train! Got into Syracuse about 10.30a.m. and were able to easily walk to our accommodation whilst not on Ortigia Island its only about 400 metres to ... read more

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Agrigento August 6th 2022

Today I’ve booked a full day tour to the Valley of the Temples and Scala dei Turchi, both of which are about two hours away near the town of Agrigento on Sicily’s south coast. They do things a bit differently here in Sicily. Issy never had any intention of doing the tour, but when I tried to book for one person I was told it was sold out, but if I booked for two, well no problem…..? It’s an early start so I try very hard to leave Issy in dreamland, forgetting of course that she’s got no chance of sleeping through the earth shattering “shooting of the traditional nine blanks” at the bright and early time of 9am. I was expecting the cross island road to be a goat track, but no, as we remember ... read more
Scala dei Turchi
Temple of Concordia, Valley of the Temples
Temple of Juno, Valley of the Temples

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Cefalù August 5th 2022

I know we should be used to it by now, but the ear splitting blasts from the fireworks awaken us again on the dot of nine o’clock, followed shortly thereafter by the now seemingly daily ritual of the brass band parading glacially slowly down the street outside our apartment. I decide it’s time to find out a bit more about all of this so it’s off to consult the Google machine about the feast that we appear to have landed here in the middle of. Its official title is the Feast of the Most Holy Saviour of Cefalu. The actual feast day is tomorrow, so if the cannon blasts of the past few days are only a warm up we’d better invest in some ear muffs, and quickly. It celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus, but legend ... read more
Cefalu Cathedral
The symbol of Sicily
Cefalu waterfront

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Cefalù August 4th 2022

We’re woken at what feels like the crack of dawn by yet more fireworks, the noise from which would wake the dead. Midday we could understand, but a quick check of our watches confirms that it’s only 9am. We drift back into dreamland only to be reawoken a few minutes later by a noisy parade passing slowly, oh so slowly, down the narrow street in front of our apartment. We’re not quite sure exactly which patron Saint all this is supposed to be celebrating, but we assume whoever it was must have been an early riser. We’re awake now so we set off to climb the 300 or so metre high sheer cliff that towers over the town, up to Cefalu Castle. We pay the entry fee and are given tickets with bar codes on them ... read more
Cefalu from the clifftop
Relaxation Cefalu style
Beauty among the clifftop ruins

Europe » Italy » Sicily » Cefalù August 3rd 2022

We decide it’s time for a morning on the beach. As we look down from our balcony we spy a shady patch of sand directly below us that doesn’t look to be too heavily occupied. The water’s patchy warm, but Issy seems to be struggling to find the patches. She tells me she doesn’t like that fish keep nibbling away at her feet. Don’t people pay a lot of money to subject themselves to just that in places like Bali, although I suppose it could be a bit different when you’re not expecting it. Giovanni has kindly provided us with a small orange rubber ball and two pink bats with pictures of Minnie Mouse on them. We hope these will contribute to the morning’s entertainment. The idea was for us to entertain each other, but the ... read more
Traditional Sicilian pottery, Cefalu

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