left Alberobello and drove along the sole of the boot, through the
Calabria region to the toe of the boot and boarded a ferry to Sicily.
We passed olive groves and vineyards. Interestingly, the grape vines
in this region were covered with plastic tarps to protect them from
hail storms. We were told that in order to get insurance, a certain
percentage of the vines must be covered. The Calabria region has
rich oil reserves and supplies 16% of the oil requirements of Italy.
Our ferry across the Tyrannian sea took only 35 minutes, including
loading, crossing and unloading. We
landed in Messina on the island of Sicily, the largest of the Mediterranean
islands. Then we were driven to our hotel near Taormina, the Sant
Alphio Garden Hotel and Spa. We spent the afternoon exploring the
grounds and lazing around the pool. We could see Mt. Etna from our
balcony. That evening, we enjoyed a delicious dinner in the hotel.
helped Colleen and Mark celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary
with a surprise Tiramasu cake.
following day we were driven by minibus up to the hilltop town of
Taormina. Taormina's old town clings to the side of Mt. Tauro, overlooking
the Ionian sea and Mt. Etna. We
walked with a local guide to the Greek Theatre. It was built in
the 3rd century BC by the Greeks and used for theatrical performances.
When the Romans took it over in the 1st century AD, they changed
it to an arena where gladiators fought. They added the walls and
columns which were adorned with statues. Today it is used for plays
and concerts by renowned artists such as Elton John and Andrea Bocelli.
From the top of the seating area we had spectacular views of the
surrounding villages, sea and Mt. Etna.
rest of the day we were free to wander and shop the beautiful streets
of Taormina. The area is noted for its ceramics and of course we
had to purchase one with the symbol of Sicily. This is a face with
3 legs coming out which symbolizes the 3 corners of Sicily.
the evening we enjoyed a typical Sicilian dinner at a hilltop restaurant,
Al Fuedo, along with entertainment from local musicians.
To view more photos from Taormina, please go to Taormina
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map