|Tile and Mosaics,|
"Geez you like the ads?" my sister Andy asked, incredulous.
"Yeah, I know, unusual, but it shows all kinds of businesses in Sicily. This is modern Sicily." The above collage includes an ad for IKEA, promoting a new collection (nuovo collezione). Yep, there's an IKEA in Sicily, in Catania. The ad is colorful and upbeat. Ads for cars, retail stores, industrial companies and tech companies also fill the pages. Just like in our newspapers, and online. Sicily is no backwater.
|Some Sicily souvenirs, |
ceramics and glass.
It all started in Palermo, with panoramic views of the hills and the sea, historic cathedrals, fountains and plazas surrounded by multicultural architecture and art, and some of the best cuisine, wine and restaurants in Italy. Like the sweep of its landscape, Palermo is breathtaking in the sweep of its history, which encompasses successive conquests by the Romans, Normans, Byzantines, Arabs and others over the centuries. A side-trip to Monreale, just outside of Palermo, was our spectacular opening to Sicily. Together, these cities are the heartbeat of its historic and modern culture.
Same with Siricusa, a once-flourishing Greek city state that still glistens and beckons. Amazingly, some of the most illustrious names of the ancient world--Livius, Plutarch, Pindar, Cicero, Virgil and Thucydides--described it with enthusiam in their writings. I probably read about Siricusa in my 4th year Latin class at Harley School in Rochester, New York, when I read Cicero and Virgil with Mrs. Bulloch, although the implications didn't register.
Today, Siricusa is an elegant archeological gem, glistening with white limestone buildings from different ages. It's described in Sicily: Art History and Nature (2010), each chapter written by different scholars, as "a harmonious and interesting mixture of remains from the ancient past, medieval essentiality, and baroque exuberance." For a while it looked like petrochemical plants and power stations would take over the beauty of its coastline. Today, thank goodness, efforts are being made to preserve the historic sites and the coastline.
Sicily is trying. It's had to deal with its economy, with social setbacks, with those damned stereotypes. But today's Sicily is full of hope and energy. It is one of the most ancient and most beautiful places on earth. The tourism potential of Sicily is not yet fully realized, even though this land has been visited for centuries by famous travellers, all of whom have extolled it's beauty. I'm discovering them online-- artists, writers, playwrights, scholars, all enthralled by Sicily.
"The Sicilians have inherited from the Greeks a sacred sense of hospitality," my guidebook put it. It was evident everywhere we went. The people, the built environment, the breathtaking natural beauty combine to make Sicily one of the best places to experience.
SICILY TODAY: Here are some recipes, links, and a neat article about what makes Sicily so special today. First food!
Andy and I had this in Palermo, with linquini, or maybe it was a version of it, because it had some fish in the sauce. It was delicious.
Recipes: from www.AmericaninSicily.com THIS IS A GREAT BLOG FOR RECIPIES and all things Sicilian. I copied and pasted these recipes, so the format came through in various styles and fonts, but the recipes sound delicious!
In a salad bowl, place the eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs. Add the vinegar, olive oil and salt. Toss well and let sit for at least 1\2 hour for the flavors to infuse. That’s it! Serve alongside fresh baked Italian bread.