More from Sicily

I thought I should concentrate to two or three posts regarding my trip to Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. Finally, there will be this one and one more.

I rented a car and made a limited tour of Sicily, starting with…

Syracuse, known for its Greek history, amphitheaters … and for the place where Archimedes was born, lived and died. It was once one of the major cities in the Mediterranean world. The Greek period was followed by Roman and Byzantine dominations interrupted by Muslim influence. During the mediaeval period, like for the rest of Sicily, there was a permanent influence struggle between different European dynasties, followed by the integration in the unified Italy (1865).

It was around Syracuse that the allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) started in 1943.

The historic centre “Ortigia”, separated by the rest of the city by a canal, is dominated by the central place, Piazza de Duomo. The cathedral has still pillars from the time it was a Greek temple. During a first visit I was met by a very strong thunderstorm. I went back the following morning … under a blue sky.

On the hills behind the city centre, you can find what is left of an enormous Greek theatre (rebuilt by the Romans), a Roman amphitheatre…  An enormous cave, the “Ear of Dionysius”, so baptized by Caravaggio, once (built?) used as a water storage.

Further up the hill, behind a statue there are some old graves, supposed to be the burial place of Archimedes (287-212 BC).  I think we all learnt about him in school, but if you want to refresh your memory you can go here.  There is a very interesting Archimedes museum.

Next stop was at Caltagirone, especially known as a town of pottery. The origin of the name is acutally Arabic – “qai’at-al-jarar” – “Castle of the (potter) jars”.  The main landmark is the 142-step staircase, “Santa Maria del Monte” from 1608, with each step decorated with different ceramics.

Piazza Armerina

… is actually best known for the nearby "Villa Romana del Casale", from the 4th century, containing the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaics. It was covered by a landslide during the 12th century. Excavations were made during the 20th century and it has been partly roofed for protection. Especially known are the “bikini girls”, young women performing different sports.

I then drove down to the southern coast, to Agregento

… renowned as the site  of the ancient Greek city Akragas. It was one of the richest and most famous Greek colonies, today known as the “Valle dei Templi” (Valley of the Temples).  They constitute some of the largest and best-preserved ancient Greek buildings outside Greece. One of the temples is surprisingly intact, thanks to its conversion to a Christian church in 597 (see picture on top of the post).

A little valley behind the temples is worth a visit for its luxurious vegetation.

Also, definitely worth a visit is the archeological museum, which in a remarkable way shows a collection of the rich findings on the site.

Here you can see the view I had from my hotel room - on top the total view of three temples - the some zooming.


Kittie Howard said...

Wow, that's an amazing view. Your photos are gorgeous and brought me down Memory Lane when we got to visit Sicily some years ago. There's soooo much on that island to enjoy.

Virginia said...

Love seeing your wonderful photos from you trip. The church made me think of St. Roch. Thank you for sharing your wonderful travels with all of us. Can't wait to talk with you about your trip soon.

Amanda said...

Magical, gorgeous place!

Jeanie said...

I never really thought Sicily would be on my "list" but after reading your post and seeing the fabulous photos, hearing the history, it may move up a bit! Really, that light is fabulous and you know how to make the most of it!

martinealison said...

Bonjour cher Peter,

Bernard Dimey voyait juste en écrivant la chanson de Syracuse.
Et comme dans la chanson, tu as aimé Syracuse pour t'en souvenir à Paris.

Tes merveilleuses photos accompagnent avec douceur les paroles de cette merveilleuse chanson... Et moi j'aimerais bien connaître Syracuse.

Gros bisous

SusuPetal said...

Hej Peter, det känns så som du bara reser o reser o reser! Härliga foton, jag har aldrig varit i Sicilien :(

Hälsningar från regniga Hfors!

Alain said...

Je suis déçu, j'espérais voir la baignoire dans laquelle Archimède avait poussé son "Euréka".

Thérèse said...

Une vraie mine de photos pour aller à la découverte de tous ces trésors. Il me faudrait bien des jours pour revoir tout cela en détail.
The "bikini girls" are superb!

sillygirl said...

So glad you made the trip and have posted lots of info and pictures - we are going there in February - we will be better prepared to understand what we see.

Studio at the Farm said...

Peter, thank you so very much for all your wonderful photos!

Starman said...

I love Europe. Your photos just make me wish I could somehow be able to go again someday.

claude said...

C'est super sympa de nous faire partager tes beaux voyages et nous conter l'histoire de ceux-ci.
Moi aussi, je te remercie very much pour toutes ces beautés que tu nous montres.

Dédé said...

"tout corps plongé dans l'eau ressort mouillé". Dixit Dédé

Parisbreakfasts said...

I hope you got to taste some Tasca d'Almerita Regaleali Bianco while in Sicily

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

A super post Peter ,seeing this reminds me of my trip there 2006 , we only had a week , but did quite a bit , yep I have a photo of me in the EAR .. and one of my hubby at the amphitheatre in Syracuse , thanks for sharing,

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

A super post Peter ,seeing this reminds me of my trip there 2006 , we only had a week , but did quite a bit , yep I have a photo of me in the EAR .. and one of my hubby at the amphitheatre in Syracuse , thanks for sharing,

Cezar and Léia said...

Bonjour dear Peter, I'm enjoying a lot your pictures from Sicily, it's a place that I want to visit someday.

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