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.
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.
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.
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
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.
San Francesco e l'Immacolata
Via Crociferi is lined with an extraordinary variety of churches...
Let's admire these tremendious architectural baroque beauties...
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
You can visit the famous volcano and get very close to the mouth. Wear warm clothes. It's very cold up there!
Following the motorway Messina/Catania as far as the exit for Giarre, you pass the Etna villages of Santa Venerina and Zafferana to a height of about 6.175 feet, where you can admire the Silvestri Craters. From there you can reach the top by cable-car and jeep to the proximity of the central crater (about 9.900 feet). Returning to Taormina via Nicolosi you can see the 1983 lava flow.
The 'Villa del Casale', in Piazza Armerina (around the center of the island), is an ancient roman villa with amazing mosaics. It was built between 330 and 360 AD. The identity of its owner remains a subject of debate. However, three individuals are usually mentioned: Proculus Populonius, governor of Sicily from 314 to 337; Caeionus Rufus Volusianus, also called Lampadius, an influential and wealthy man; and Sabucinius Pinianus, probably of Roman birth.
There are 3500 square meters of mosaics on the villa's floors, and some surviving wall paintings. Many of the structure's walls are still standing. The style of the mosaics is said to be influenced by the North African motifs of the Romans. Some smaller finds from the site are housed in the Piazza Armerina archeological museum.
The second most important city of Sicilyhas a few highlights (Cathedral of Sain Agatha and the Elephant Fountain, with a mysterious volcanic-rock elephant on base, the Roman anfiteatro, several wonderful churches) and is a good 'Basecamp' for trips to Etna, Taormina...