"Ammoninni in Sicila!"
Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
22Trip End Jun 18, 2008
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And speaking of people speaking to us, the Sicilians are SO friendly
But anyway, let's start from the beginning: At the time, we thought that a 7AM flight to Palermo was a great idea, so after waking up at 4, getting to the train station by 4:45, taking the bus to Malpensa at 5, making it to the airport by 6, and finally boarding at 7, we made it to Italy's largest island by 8:45 am (phew!). Immediately after walking out of the airport and getting the shuttle to the city center, we got to see the Mediterranean (Palermo is on a harbor in North Sicily), huge mountains, orange and lemon trees, and palm trees. It was beautiful!
The city of Palermo itself is an interesting place. I wouldn't call it pretty by any means, in fact. Many parts of the city look like they were bombed last week instead of last century, or before
Otherwise in Palermo, we saw the beautiful Cathedral, the Archaeological Museum, and the Teatro Massimo, the largest theater in Italy (exterior-wise, not capacity - La Scala in Milan has the largest seating capacity). It's also where they shot the opera scene in the Godfather III (in the Royal Box, as well as the steps outside), and is said to be haunted by an old Nun, because a church was destroyed in order to build the theater
After one night in Palermo, we got on a bus (there's not too many railroads in Sicily because of the hilly terrain) to Siracusa, a little city on the opposite side of the island. The ride was about 3 hours, but I really enjoyed it because I got to see the whole countryside - complete with miles of orange/lemon trees, sheep, horses, hills and valleys, and beautiful shorelines. It was really gorgeous.
Now, Siracusa (Syracuse) is really a beautiful city. In fact, Cicero described it as the greatest and most beautiful of all Ancient Greek cities (agreed!). When we arrived at the bus station, the couple who rented us the room (Delia and Carlo - SO cute!) even picked us up, and brought us to our room, telling us all about Siracusa on the way. It was so nice to stay in a guest house rather than a hostel for once, and it was on a cute little street right on the ocean. Then Delia and Carlo were even so kind to drive us to the Archaeological park on the outskirts of town. They were SO nice, we even bought them a bottle of wine! The Archaeological Park is home to both a Greek and a Roman amphitheater, as well as the tomb of Archimedes (the famous ancient Greek mathematician who was killed there in a battle), and the "Ear of Dionysius", a huge limestone cave that, because of it's shape, has great acoustics
Then, we walked to the nearby huge church dedicated to the Santa Maria delle Lacrime. Apparently, in 1953, a mass-produced plaster sculpture given to a couple for their wedding wept for three days in Siracusa. Various people who touched the tears were healed of all kinds of ailments, and the tears were scientifically tested and proved to be real human tears. It was officially declared a miracle, and in the 1990s, a huge basilica was built to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who come to see it. (Of course, it doesn't cry any more, but you can still come see it) The church is surprisingly modern looking, and it the tallest building in Syracuse, by a LOT!
But seriously, let's get down to the good stuff: This is why I LOVED Sicily - THE FOOD. Not only was every single thing I eat delicious, but it's so much cheaper than Northern Italy, that I could have more courses! From the extra thin pizza (Sicilian style includes capers, anchovies, and basil - mm mm), the local dish "Maccheroni alla Norma" (Red sauce with eggplant chunks topped in Ricotta cheese - mmmmm), to, obviously, the CANNOLI
In conclusion, much love to all from Sicily: the land where old men still sit at outdoor tables drinking jugs of wine, where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, drives a moped and smokes cigarettes (often at the same time), where you can eat a cannoli with every meal and not feel one bit bad, and where three tall American girls get an awful lot of attention.
Baci e Abbracci-