Saturday, 7 January 2012

Ahhh, Sicily...

At last, a sunny day after weeks of greyness in the weather. My thoughts turned to sunnier climes last night as I relaxed and turned on the telly. After a little brain-training with "Mastermind" I came across a wonderful new series called "Sicily Unpacked". Brit culture-person Andrew Graham-Dixon has teamed up with Italian food-person Giorgio Locatelli to present a short series on this amazing island, its history, culture - and food. For an hour I was whisked away on a diet of Baroque stucco and sardine pasta. Mmm...
I visited Sicily I think it was in 1991, 20 years ago now. I couldn't find anyone who wanted to come with me (ahhh), so I took a sharp intake of breath and booked myself onto a coach tour, my first ever. Stunning. Palermo, Monreale, Erice, Agrigento, Catania, Siracusa, Messina, and unforgettable Taormina. Even their names are beautiful aren't they? The history of the island is one long catalogue of invaders who become settlers. Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, French, Spanish etc etc.  The resulting architecture, culture (and not forgetting food!) carries this rich concoction through to today.
Our TV guides whisked us through some of the delights of Sicily, pausing for a few moments here and there, including the mosaic-covered Palatine Chapel in Palermo, certainly one of my candidates for Top Ten buildings in Europe. It was a beautiful programme in every sense, well made and presented, a delight. BBC2 Friday. Fr M approves.
Pics show the Palatine Chapel in Palermo and the pool at Fr M's Hotel in Taormina (I think - it's a long time!)

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