Climb at the top of Etna.
The vulcano is still active and it has an eruption each year or each two years. But, fortunatly, there is no recent big eruption able to reach Catania, which is at only 50 Kilometers, as it occurred in the past.
There were, here and there, sulphur smokes (not a pleasant perfume).
Very impressive landscape.
You can climb alone or with a guide but it is better to pay the coach to go to the mid-slope. It is dangerous to go to the crater without guide. The Etna is 3350 m ca high and the temperature is low even in Summer.
Fondest memory: More to see in the Travelogue
Favorite thing: Beautiful cathedral in the Piazza Duomo. Constructed between 1070 and 1093. G. Palazzolo and architect G. B. Vaccarini restored the cathedral after a 1693 earthquake. Dedicated to the martyred Agata it also has relics inside.
see the Villa del Casale at Piazza Armenina (part 2)
I ignore if the erotic pics are available on VT.
This one has the advantage to be ancient and widely broadcasted. It is a mosaic which is on the pavement of the main slipping room (they did not watch TV).
The scene is reprinted on the t-shirts, the cards and the other souvenirs sold in the surrounding gift shops.
see the Villa del Casale at Piazza Armenina (provincia di Enna).
Built at the end of the Imperial period, this Villa was inhabited by a rich roman family during the 4° and 5° centuries. They used to go hunting from there.
After, came the Bisantins, the Sarrasins, the Normands. At the 12° century, the villa desapeared covered by mud.
These ruins are wordly known because of the 3500 sqm of mosaic which decorate the pavement. You can visit the Villa and see the mosaics using a labyrinth of footbridges.
Our 2O° century, which is terminating, has not invented the bathing suit. It was already existing at the beginning of our era as this mosaic shows. On my knowledge, it is the sole example of presentation of antic bikinis in the Roman culture.
visit Taorminia. It is a small antic town on the sea-side. Known as one of the most beautifull places of Sicily, you can have a walk in the streets of which houses are covered by flowers. You can also sit in 'terrazza' at a coffee shop to drink an 'espresso' or a cool drink.
Nevertheless, do not come at Taorminia to be alone : it is a touristy place.
Visit the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento just before the light starts to go.
Fondest memory: The 'Festa del mandorlo in fiori' in Agrigento. There were people in brightly coloured clothing from much of the world in procession through the city and a terrific firework display and concert on the last day - end of second week in february.
Via Etnea - Main shopping street
A lot of high fashion boutiques and shoe shops.
This coffee shop was on that same street and served unbelievable good cappuccino!
Piazza Universita and Statue of Bellini
Bellini was a famous Sisilian composer whose death has been investigated by a French doctor. He claims the composer was poisoned by the jealous husband of one of the many Parisian women he had an affair with. The rather more prosaic truth is that he died of a gastric infection, nowadays curable with two simple pills.
Saint Giuliana Church
' The highlight of Via Crociferi in artistic terms is this particular Church, a masterpiece of 18th-century religious architecture. It has a curvilinear facade and is built to an elliptical plan.
Anfiteatro Romano and San Biagio church
As one of the first Greek colonies, Catania was already founded in the year 729 a.d.. Not until the Roman epoch, the city became a bigger importance. Nowadays, only the ruins of the Amphitheater remember of the ancient past.
Saint Francesco Borgia
This baroque church as the following one are both on Via Crociferi where you can find at the same time staircases, either simple or with landings, balustrades, staircases topped by marble statues, arched pilasters, classical columns, domes, decorations, loggias, Simetan marble fountains on Parisian marble pilasters. There are bronze reliefs, cornices, stairs with railings, capitals and architraves, which all together make this street the backbone of Catanese baroque!
San Francesco e l'Immacolata
Via Crociferi is lined with an extraordinary variety of churches...
Let's admire these tremendious architectural baroque beauties...
Il Duomo -The cathedral of Saint Agatha
Erected in 1092 and work of Giovan Battista Vaccarini, it was remade in 1169 and also after the earthquake of 1693.
On the piazza there were several artists painting - ME - standing beside that Elephant fountain :-) or was it the church or the statue...LOL?!
That curious fountain has two of the ancient treasures of Catania, that survived the earthquake. One of them is a large elephant made of volcanic rock. Its origin is a mystery.
TAORMINA: THE GREEK THEATRE
One of the most charming places in Taormina is its Greek Theatre, at the top of the hill. You can just sit there for hours and see the sun go down, with the sea, the Etna volcano, all that quiet atmosphere...
The Greek Theatre in Taormina is the second-largest in Sicily after the one in Siracusa. All the Romans did later, in accordance with their well-known ostentatious nature, was enlarge the theatre as it was very small. And it apparently took decades to build. It is fifty metres wide, one hundred and twenty metres long and twenty metres high, which means that about 100,000 cubic metres of stone had to be removed.
Taormina was a big surprise for me. I didn't expect to find such a wonderful tiny village on top of a hill facing both the sea and the Etna. The main highlight is the theatre, started in the 3rd century B.C. by the Greeks and then rebuilt by the Romans. The other classic remains include the ruins of the Odeon (for musical shows) and the Naumachie (an artificial lake which represents naval battles). Palazzo Corvaia (15th century) is located in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, built on top of a pre-existing Arab tower. The Dome (13th century) has a simple stone facade.