Category: Italy

  • Palermo

    Palermo

    The city layout of Palermo is what Shanghai should have been, a wide grid of smart boulevards enclosing neighborhoods that have, except for an ineffective dollop of asphalt, changed little in 100 years. I know this involuntarily from a premature left turn that Rick made when his navigator misread our map while seeking our classy hotel. […]

  • The Isle of Lipari

    The Isle of Lipari

    Lipari is a popular island among tourists, but it does not have the crush of shoppers who waddle the spic and sparkle lanes of Capris. Stephanie had this on her personal agenda because her grandfather was imprisoned here (house arrest) by Mussolini for unacceptable political beliefs. It falls short the standards we set with Alcatraz or […]

  • Linguaglossa & Taormina

    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) […]

  • Archaeological Days

    Archaeological Days

    There were two sites of archaeological interest on our schedule. The first, a museum, which starts chronicling the history of Sicily from about 300,000,000 years ago, had a display of great interest at the ticket counter. Stephanie and I agreed he was stunning. The whole museum was peppered (if that’s the word) with such students, perhaps working for a […]

  • Ortigia, Syracuse

    Ortigia, Syracuse

    From the start, Syracuse had promise, convenient parking, a hotel along the water front, a room on the 3rd floor (our 4th in the US, as we object to a floor zero) with a balcony, all in a smartly renovated grand building, and warm, sunny weather. Stephanie had a restaurant recommendation, giving her a mission. […]

  • Via Romana Del Casale

    Via Romana Del Casale

    It must have been some time during the 4th century A.D., because that is what the sign said, a rich Roman decided to build a modest house with a private chapel, hot and cold baths, rooms all over the place…you get the picture, just what everyone needs in a country home. He and his slaves […]

  • Agrigento to Enna

    Agrigento to Enna

    The hotel at Agrigento was modern. We enjoyed a bottle of prosecco on a patio watching the sunset and had a late-night sandwich before bed. Even luxury hotels seem bland in comparison to the old palaces with modern plumbing  procrustean-fitted into odd spaces we have been enjoying. Our luggage loaded, we fled to a local Greek ruin. […]

  • An Italian Experience

    An Italian Experience

    I confess that a part of the joy of this day, not the only part or even the best part, was the knowledge that my brother Bob would experience real envy at my getting meet so many wonderful people. Stephanie’s cousin invited us to lunch with them at their country cottage, set into a Sicilian […]

  • Erice (3 syllables)

    Erice (3 syllables)

    Imagination can disappoint, raising expectations without cause, but in Erice it failed to overpromise. The town is perched above Trapani and the Mediterranean just beyond, so I was prepared for a sweeping view from the third row of a crowded café. It is much more. Erice has what another town has Caprisciously abandoned—good taste. It is warm and charming, without a gauntlet of […]

  • Sicily

    Sicily

    Our automotive tribulations had not ended. We left for Naples airport in the wee hours for a 6:55 flight. We should have been amply early, but when we neared the airport, a snobby voice announced, “You have arrived at your destination.” Our location was a dark underpass with nothing in sight. The GPS then led us…blah blah […]

  • Trip to Capris

    Trip to Capris

    Put the stress on the second syllable at your peril. The geologic beauty of Capris rivals the Hawaiian islands, but the social excesses began when the Roman emperor, Augustus, bought the whole thing as a summer retreat, and that selfish tradition persists to this day. High-end shops gob the streets like coarse sugar on sweet marmalade. […]

  • Amalfi Coast

    Amalfi Coast

    There are three ways for commoners to experience the Amalfi Coast—boat, bus, and car. The boats have vantage, but cannot help the traveler reach the high towns, like Ravello; the bus takes control of the pace away from the individual; and the car requires a competent driver. We unwisely chose the third, with terrible results. […]