After Etna, back to Taormina, for a visit to the Greek theatre and then on the verandah of the Hotel Villa Schuler – where we had a glorious farewell evening enjoying their Etna-grown house wine. Toasting Taormina and other wonders across this extraordinary island. Would love to come back here. Huge thanks to Rosaria.
Something I have wanted to do for a fair while, climb an active volcano. So here we are on the flanks of Mama Etna. The panoramas are out of this world. Didn’t go to the peak, knowing that the height would probably be a problem, given my low heart rate. Totally uplifting, even if the clinkerscape slightly shredded my old shoes.
Would have loved to have got up onto the mountain top behind Cefalù, to see the ruins, given that that was where the town was once located, but Elaine and I did have a wonderful lunch on a verandah overlooking the sea.
Then a stop, en route to Taormina, to view Calabria across the straits from Messina.
Wonderful Norman gothic cathedral today in Monreale, the Moon pale and distant overhead.
I saw the little white building from many miles away – amazing how news images can lodge in the brain. Hugely admire all those of who have fought the Mafia over the decades, including Judge Giovanni Falcone, whose assassination was triggered from that inconspicuous blob in the landscape. That same fated year of 1992 also saw the assassination of his colleague and friend Paolo Borsellino.
Palermo, where we stayed at the Hotel Excelsior, was incredibly noisy. But chapels, churches and cathedrals really were miraculous – particularly the Church of San Cataldo, with its three faded pink domes. Felt something particularly powerful there.