Il mercoledí, Dicembre 27th

Finally, a start to my vacation!

I took a chance on the weather, and headed north to the city of Taormina. Hailed as the most beautiful city in Sicily, it is a well-known and well-traveled tourist spot. The city itself sits up on a cliff overlooking the most beautiful clear water I have seen. To get to the beaches, the city offers a cable car to take you down the cliff. As I am not here for the beaches (nor is the weather!), I just watched the car cable on down.

The “centro” of town is a street called Corso Umberto. Here there are many shops, selling items from trinkets to Versace.

I strolled up and down the street looking, but the wares were nothing that I have not already seen before in America.

Taormina also is the home of the Teatro Greco, or Greek Ampitheater. Built by Greeks during the Hellenistic era, modified by Italians in the 2nd century, decimated by the Arabs in the 10th century, it is now the location of the annual Taormina Film Festival.

Overlooking the stage to one side is the sea; the other side shows Mount Etna. Etna was covered by clouds today so I did not get any pictures of it. If you look at their web cam, or any tour guide of Sicily, you will see a picture of Etna! Etna has also been active for the past few months.

I was able to climb down into the area that I guess would be the orchestra pit. I also climbed the stairs and sat in the “cheap seats”. Modern steel bleachers are embedded into the surface for today’s festivals and shows. I tried to cut those out of the pictures.

thestage2.jpg

backwall.jpg

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cheapseats.jpg

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As the shops on Corso Umberto started to close for the lunch time siesta, I found a restaurant in which to wait out the time. Mamma Rosa’s Trattoria. Delizioso!

I started with the caprese. “Prendo una mozzarella e pomodoro, per favore.” Also, the grilled tuna and the Penne Rosa. “Anche, un tonno de griglio e penne Rosa.”

The new word I learned today was affette. This means “slice”, for I ordered lemon slices with my water.

For dessert, I had Crème Caramel; a vanilla custard with a sweet syrup poured over the top. With Tea nero, con latte e zucchero, of course!

To top my visit to Taormina off, I witnessed a scene STRAIGHT from “The Godfather”. Down little Corso Umberto, there was a funeral procession! Complete with Mercedes Benz hearse, a priest walking behind the hearse and a small contingent of mourners about 10 paces behind the priest.

Now, for my California brethren, imagine a car with a casket slowly proceeding down the promenade in Santa Monica. Completely surreal!

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