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Expat Vagabonds "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain


ITALY | Friday, 2 March 2012 | Views [993]

Ancient olive tree, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento

Ancient olive tree, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento

It sounds so beautiful in Italian - see-cheel-ya.  From the Malta ferry, Sicily looks like a pancake floating on the sea; from Catania like a snow-capped breast; and from the car, it is a three-dimensional maze of hills, valleys and winding roads.  

Visiting Sicily has as many ups and downs, twists and turns as the back roads.  Syracuse was a total disappointment. The ruins were over-priced, uncared for and mostly closed.  But B&B Giucalem in Piazza Armerina was one of the best bargains we have had on the trip.  Giuseppe couldn't have been more helpful, despite the fact his English was on par with our Italian.  He calls his place "La Casa negli Orti," my house in the garden, and it is actually a working family farm. (www.myhouseinthegarden.com)

Roman Villa Casale in Piazza Armerina is a work in progress and it will be fantastic when it's finished.  It has arguably the best Roman floor mosaics in the world, but much of it is off-limits until the end of May.  The villa was the private home of a wealthy Roman and mosaics like the "Bikini Ladies" show just how much they enjoyed themselves.

The Valley of the Temples in Argigento is outstanding.  The temples are on par with those at Paestum and the setting is superb.  The blooming almond trees frame nearly complete Greek monuments to the gods with the Mediterranean forming a hazy backdrop.

It will take some work - and more than a little patience - but Sicily is worth a visit, especially in the spring.



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