While the island of Sicily is “technically” part of Italy, it is somewhat a world of its own.
If there is one word which can characterize it in my mind, it is contrast.
To begin with, it has historically been occupied by numerous populations, Greeks, Romans, Saracens, Normands, you name it.
Geographically, it is a volcanic island with spectacular landscapes, as well as the (Mediterranean) sea.
As contrast number three, if this looks peaceful to you, when you land in Palermo, you will see a big monument as you come out of the airport, in memory of Judge Falcone whose motorcade was blown up on the highway some thirty years ago…Another judge (Borsellino) was assassinated the same year, after famous General Dalla Chiesa had been brutally murdered by the same Palermo mob in 1982.
Still today, many street posters bearing pictures of both judges keep reminding visitors and locals the same that the mob is on everybody’s mind.
From a visit point of view, while some of the art/monuments go back hundreds of years back, some “works” (if considered as such??) are very recent.
Isn’t contrast one of the significant keys to a successful shot?
Early this year, desperately looking for some sun rays after a low light December, we packed our cases and off we went.
We landed in Palermo (west of the island) and drove directly to Catania (dead east of the island).
Catania offers contrasting views.
Southern cities with their own style can be charmful and offer some good photographic opportunities. Remember we are close to year end and the climate is gentle enough to allow laundry to be hung outside to dry. Nice when you are still in Europe!
After a couple of days, we decided to visit the Etna volcano, which is occasionally (very) active, including spectacular eruptions.
That side of the volcano can be reached by car and then cable cars are available to climb to close to the summit.
After Catania, we reached our furthermost destination, Ortigia, which is a peninsula off Siracuse.
This little jewel of a town is clearly isolated from the rest of the island and where numerous sights can be visited.
One of the important economical activities of the island is of course fishing and boats can be seen close up.
But what is most spectacular in Ortigia is the city centre
Since the flights from Belgium were only reaching Palermo, we had to drive back across the island to catch our flight home; we took the occasion and spent a little time there before leaving, enough to visit some of the beauties, but also to emphasize yet again the contrast Sicily offers.
Byzantine times did mean there are numerous sights to visit.
Of course, this is just a short take of what can be enjoyed in Sicily, not to mention food including fish, crustaceans, pasta and the famous Sicilian cannolo, crisp, light tube-shaped pastry dough filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, pistacchio crumbs, chocolate chips or candied fruit.
Many other places deserve a visit, like Piazza Armerina and its famous mosaics, Agrigento, Segesta, Taormina…but that will be on another visit.
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