A trip from Palermo to Taormina, a journey that reveals the lesser-known charms of the magnificent Mediterranean island. There are many ways to reach Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean and epic, but none compares to it by sea. When one approaches the coasts, invites the slow ferry to lose his gaze on the blue-green waves and think that Greek ships sailed on them, Phoenician, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Norman and Spanish over the last two eighteen hundred years.
While the ship engines roar to the dock, the image of Sicily is emerging as a kind of navel of western civilization, a place that bears testimony to almost all events that are part of the normal rate of a history textbook, from the splendor Greek culture to the Crusades, the Napoleonic era to World War II.
Tours through the streets of Palermo:
The first stop on the route for the “real Sicily” is Vucchiria, a poor district of Palermo that has grown around a multicromático seafood market and land. There, Ciccio draws us into an old inn to prove “sangue di Sicilia”, an appetizer fortissimo burgundy color, combining red wine and different kinds of vermouth. To give place at the bar of the inn, the owner of the premises, a Sicilian from over 100 kilos, clean away to slap the customers who rely on their elbows numb and then with a smile of good host, invites us to approach.
In a nearby restaurant to eat paste alle sarde port, the emblematic dish of the island, and then left to walk around the downtown. Ciccio is especially proud to get to the Teatro Massimo, Palermo Columbus, the scene of the final images of The Godfather III. Nearby, in Piazza Castelnuovo, is the other major theater in the city, the Politeama, built between 1867 and 1874, which was the epicenter of high culture in Palermo during the long years when Massimo was closed for renovations.
Vucchiria, a poor district of Palermo:
Via Vittorio Emanuele is the main artery and threaded the major tourist landmarks of the city, so we walked for much of the afternoon. In a succession of architectural styles incredible pass the Piazza Bellini, where the Norman church La Martorana, Piazza Pretoria (one of the centers of nightlife) and Quattro Canti, before culminating in the magnificent Cathedral, built on what was first an early Christian basilica, then an Arab mosque and then a Christian church Norman.
The road crosses a slow and winding route, but very beautiful with the Mediterranean waters always appear on the left. Before going to Agrigento, we stop at the Scala delle Turchi, a cove enclosed by cliffs of pumice to which erosion has shaped staircase. They look a long time the waves and the silhouette of Tunisia that appears in the distance across the sea, and then down to take a bath.
Agrigento is a disappointing town with modern buildings, old town with an insulated, so we left immediately to the Valley of the Temples, where the complex is best preserved Greek temples in the world. It is a truly moving site. It is a city founded in 580 BC. in its greatest splendor was inhabited by nearly 200,000 people. All the monuments of Doric style are complex and include highlights the Temple of Concordia, a sort of Parthenon, 42 meters long which is in perfect condition. Walking down stone paths to other wonders we like the temples of Hercules, of Olympian Zeus and Castor and Pollux, the tomb of Theron and the marvelous Hellenistic-Roman quarter, which preserves the layout of part of the city, revealing visitors many aspects of what was the lifestyle of the inhabitants of Agrigento in antiquity. Late in the afternoon, we sat on the steps of a temple to watch the sunset over the ruins, staining red and gold.
Catania: (Heritage Sites by Unesco)
The last leg of the journey starts for Piazza Armerina, another hidden jewel of the Sicilian interior, which has a historic center where the great baroque splendor reached, as in the town of Noto, which is known as “the garden stone “by the magnificence of its buildings. Just a few miles north of Syracuse is Noto, with its famous Roman amphitheater, the Greek Theater and the peninsula of Ortigia, the original core population of the Corinthians who founded the city.
Close to the coast, we continue north and pass through Catania, the second largest city of Sicily, which was nearly destroyed by an eruption of Mount Etna in 1669. Declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco, is home to a wealth of baroque buildings, many of them clustered around the Piazza del Duomo and the central Via Etnea.
Taormina, the last stop is a beautiful site that is overfished by mass tourism. It stands on a cliff overlooking the sea, on whose summit retains an elegant Greek amphitheater. Her beauty was undeniable that the twentieth century was frequented by writers and Hollywood stars as Truman Capote, Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, while still a hidden and lovely spot.
Sicily may be well worth a trip simply gourmet. As usual in Italy, every city, every region, every village has its particular delight. In Palermo, the stars are pasta alle Sarde (pasta with sardines and pine nuts), the Arancino (rice fried meatballs and parmesan), the caponatta (an entry consists of eggplant, olives, capers and basil) and delicious cannoli ( a kind of sweet cannelloni, stuffed with sweetened ricotta, orange and chocolate). In Erice and Trapani, include sea dishes like tuna cooked with garlic, tomatoes and capers, and granite (slush ice with fruit juices), while the Agrigento area is famous for its wines. The Catania is a typical dish of pasta (pasta with tomato sauce, eggplant and ricotta) and in the vicinity of Syracuse is generally serve the best fish sauce San Ferlicchio Spada (swordfish grilled with lemon, capers and parsley). Furthermore, all regions of Sicily have in common the passion for marzipan sweets.