Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Sunshine Islands - Sicily

Sicily is that wonderfully romantic and mysterious  island sitting at the foot of Italy.

Photo of the coastline of Sicily from TaorminaThe ancient Greek city of Taormina, perched on the hillside overlooking the sea holds a special place in our hearts.
"Reaching the town, it was easy to see how it was built on the mountainside, such was the sheer drop. Taormina is blessed with a glorious jumbled profusion of elegant shops, ancient churches and buildings, many restaurants, narrow streets where you can see glimpses of the sea in the distance, and a huge, wide piazza perched on the edge of the mountain...

Suddenly, the sun took off its hat and the rain came down; we were amused to see the stallholders putting away sun hats and quickly wheel out one of umbrellas. Needless to say, they did a roaring trade as we purchased our umbrella of choice.

Wandering through the arches into the vast expanse of the curved Greek Theatre we unexpectedly found that there was an abundance of orange trees growing and flowering in the sunshine which ripened the oranges nestling among the deep green leaves. From the Greek Theatre, the eye follows a line down a clear view to Giardini Naxos sitting in the
curve of the bay far below. Sheltering under our umbrella, we explored at will. The narrow, low tunnels in the ruins led to small rooms and passages where stone benches were engraved in Greek lettering. What was amazing also was to find words scratched into some of the bricks. Were these the names of the bricklayers who toiled in the Sicilian heat? Or were they simply the names of the streets or area in which we stood?"

Allen was fascinated by a loose brick in the walls of the archway to the theatre which was
Photo of an archway in the Greek Theatre Taormina Sicily
built many years BC. The bricks were red, long, and thin and he [Allen] had a high old time examining and exploring all facets of the brick which he patiently and enthusiastically explained to me He placed his fingers in the finger imprints of that long ago Greek bricklayer and was awed. The brick had finger prints in it where the bricklayer – no doubt in dress/costume of the time of a short tunic – had picked it up before it was quite dry. . .
‘Are you sure that you weren’t here two thousand years ago, making bricks?’ I cheekily queried.
‘They weren’t quite dry.’ Laughingly, he carefully placed the brick back into the wall of the arch.

By now the soft, gentle rain had stopped as quickly as it had started and we were able to appreciate even more the sense of timelessness as we gazed around the curve of this great amphitheatre slumbering in the sunshine. . ."

Author note: All photographs are from the authors own personal collection. Not all the photographs shown in the articles are displayed in the book. 


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