The Norman castle of Vibo Valentia was built in 1070 by Roger the Norman. It houses today an onteresting museum of archaeology. It showes finds from the 7th century BC to the 2nd century BC, originating from the excavations in Vibo Valentia and its surrounding area.
I was here in 1999 and had to pay 4000 Lire (2.00 €). It worth the money!!
* from October to May:
daily 9.00am - 7.00pm
° from June to September:
Sunday - Friday 9.00am - 7.00pm
Saturdays 9.00am - 11.00 pm
Sant'Elia and Palestine
I woke up this morning to the horrific news of 26 Israelis killed. Each day more and more innocent people die – useless deaths, and tonight, no Palestinian will sleep. Anyone able to fall asleep will wonder what they will awake to: the sound of machine guns, tanks rolling in their streets, the muezzins calling for “jihad”, F-16s flying overhead? How many more will die tonight?
I only left Palestine two months ago…it’s still with me, too much so at times, but it will always be.
So I decided I needed a break from it all – I needed nature to smooth away the frustration and melancholy.
My parents chose the spot: Sant’Elia, a beautiful stretch of cliffy area, overlooking the Straits of Messina. First we’d parked the car in what seemed like someone’s driveway off a road. Then we followed a dirt path, which clearly only locals would know off. Actually, I think only “local” tourists come to this area.
For ½ hour we walked along the top of the cliff. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it a rocky cliff, but it was certainly steep enough that one would want to stay away from the edge. My parents walked way ahead of me as I slowly progressed behind them, shooting photos. I just love sunsets and clouds, and there were plenty of the latter. It’s just amazing how the clouds interplay with the sun’s rays, especially during the winter (when it’s more cloudy!)
Suddenly, around the bend of the road, I saw a shepherd with his sheep way down the slope. It actually reminded me of Palestine. In fact, I’ve come to accept the fact that Calabria reminds me very much of my former home. In fact, some racist Italians refer to the southern Italians as Arabs or North Africans, as if that should be an insult. I don’t see anything wrong with that –why should it be considered an offense to be Arab?
Anyway, the old shepherd was looking up at me. I thought at first he was getting angry since I was pointing my camera at him. But then I suddenly heard him shout: “Chi ‘ure è?
Goodness, that wasn’t Italian he was speaking to me, and my Calabrese dialect is practically non-existent. Still, I put two and two together and figured out he’d meant: what time is it? Che ore sono? So now I know a little bit more of the Calabrese dialect - Calabrese is more similar to Greek and Spanish, I think, than the Italian language itself!
Finally we arrived at the famed look-out where to the left, the seemingly endless Calabrian coast disappears over the horizon, Palmi below us and the industrial port of Gioia Tauro.
As I stood on top of the cliff I could see Stromboli, the volcanic island north of Sicily. I could see the outlines of smoke drifting up into the sky. I could see a lone cargo ship pass through the mouth of the straits as the sun set. I remembered my Palestinian friend Ali, who’d come to visit me here last year joining me in my family’s celebration of my sister’s wedding. One night after a scrumptious dinner at fish restaurant in Scilla, we’d stood on the balcony with a similar view as mine tonight. As I did now, he’d also looked out onto the Mediterranean (a luxury now robbed of him as a Palestinian living in the West Bank). I feel free here, he’d said. I wonder what he’s thinking tonight. At least I’m free and I know he’s glad that I am.