Linguaglossa & Taormina


The drive to Linguaglossa (our only AirB&B stop) was almost uneventful, save the troublesome stops at a couple of toll booths, used by Sicilians to support a depressing socialism, with welfare, obscenely long vacations, childcare, and low crime. Takers! But I digress—as we did on the last kilometer (the American word “mile” is shorter…ha ha ha) trying to find the street listed, deceptively, as our destination. Rick navigated the narrow turns that took us around the target a few times until, by astounding serendipity, Stephanie saw a faded scrawl on the side of a building that could have been graffiti but was in fact our street paved path. This passage was easy to miss—as likely to have been a wide doorway as street, meandered 100 meters uphill, its ungenerous girth regularly narrowed by a pipe or wire on a building. There were, need I say, no sidewalks.

We squandered 30 minutes or so trying to rouse our host or disturb a neighbor enough to pry a free hint as to where to put our bags when a smiling refugee on a bicycle greeted us with limited Italian and no English, coaxing us to follow him to the “House of Stone.” He rode charitably slow, given how easy it is to negotiate streets on a 2-wheeled vehicle—no fair. Nice place, though.

If only all towns had streets as Bertha-wide as the driveway. This view, featured on the AirB&B web site, is not visible from the listed address, on the street below. (The owner should consult for treasure-hunt apps on iPhones.) Basta with the complaints already.

Our spirits undampened by frustration or occasional sprinkles, we set off for the 15 km drive to Taormina, which missing would have been a grievous error.

The popular tourist town is owed another visit, as we did not get down to the beach, at least 100 meters below, or to the castle, a couple hundred meters above. If ever I take a Mediterranean cruise (when I am much older), Taormina must be on the itinerary. Spending a week on its beach is looking more attractive all the time. Lie in the morning sun, hike to the town for lunch, ask the local girls to braid my hair…what is left of it.

image-10-10-16-at-1-14-pmThe town’s fame has been enhanced by the work of the German photographer, Wilhelm von Gloeden, who photographed many nudes, mostly male, in the early 20th century. Today, he could spend three life sentences in an American prison for having models who were younger than 18, though in Europe, he’s considered an artist.
Gloeden lived most of his life in Taormina, which can be considered a tribute to his good taste…as is his choice of subjects [in my homo opinion].

 

 

 

Before we found the primary tourist street inside the town’s walls, we lighted upon a perfectly acceptable outdoor place to lunch with a delicious rosé wine. In Italy, even simple meals are served with care. I saw no fast food in Taormina…or almost anywhere else in Sicily. Fast food in Italy is a stop by the gelato shop on a hot afternoon, not a meal. Meals are fleeting joys, like full moons, to be enjoyed whenever possible. How did Americans come to believe that a chance to sit with friends over a casual repast and conversation is something to be rushed, like the incongruous oxymoron “fast food”?

I am determined to climb to this castle one day. (Better be quick about it.) There is a spectacular Greek theatre on a lesser hill, which we did not visit for lack of time (lines of tourists). A week here, with time invested on a sandy beach, would barely be adequate.

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2 responses to “Linguaglossa & Taormina”

  1. Whoever decided that they would build a castle at Taormina couldn’t have been one of the workers who had to get the materials up there. As you stated, if climbing up to this site is important to you don’t wait until you’re my age, beautiful as it is. I do have limits, lots of limits.
    The picture of Rod and Stephanie outside your rooms, I assume, is one of the few of him that doesn’t reflect the joy he usually exudes when a camera is pointed at him. Perhaps it was your frustration while searching for this place that caused this expression. Rod is very photogenic.
    The town is so different than I would have imagined. I recall old Mafia movies, wherein they go back to get the snitch hiding out in Sicily. The roads are dusty, little plant life, and quite barren. Now you know how little I know about Sicily. Your descriptions and pictures bring out the reality of a fabulous island.
    I hope at some point we can travel with you and Rod on a vacation that is to some degree as memorable as this trip must be for both of you. I sincerely thank you for taking the time to pass your experience on to others.

  2. We like to watch an Italian mystery on PBS called “Montalbano,” where a hot, bald detective scours Sicily in search of criminals. The character is wildly popular in Sicily and he is featured in ads and drink menus. His personal charm makes up more than half of his physical attraction. When he speeds around the island, there is never any traffic. That’s not the Sicily we got to know.

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