Our flight arrived at Catania on the island of Sicily. Although not showcased as one of the highlights on the island, we found the city to be quite charming. The hotel had a very pleasant terrace where we had breakfast.
View from the terrace
Quoted from Wikipedia: “The symbol of the city is u Liotru, or the Fontana dell’Elefante, assembled in 1736 by Giovanni Battista Vaccarini. It portrays an ancient lavic stone elephant and is topped by an Egyptian obelisk from Syene. Legend has it that Vaccarini’s original elephant was neuter, which the men of Catania took as an insult to their virility. To appease them, Vaccarini appropriately appended elephantine testicles to the original statue.”
The Sicilian architect Vaccarini, who lived in the 18th century, was involved in a lot of the reconstruction after the earthquake in 1693. Many of his works are in Catania or nearby.
Catania duomo. Vaccarini’s principal façade
Chiesa della Badia di Sant’Agata
A visit to the fish market is a must!
But of course other delicacies are offered:
But we opted for fish at one of the restaurants in the market
Walk around town
Alas! We had way too little time and departed for Milazzo to catch a ferry boat to Alicudi, one of the Lipari Islands to the north of Sicily. It is a small, rocky island with no roads and only one restaurant, which was closed when we were there. However, a store was open where we could buy food to cook (great salt capers being one of the island’s specialties). We had rented a beautiful small house on the side of a steep mountain, and we were glad that we had arranged for donkeys to carry up our packs.
It was a beautiful, small house with a great view.
There was a cookbook with recipes and pictures of Sicilian delicacies
But a mosquito net was a must!
We met a Swiss woman on the island who did not have one, and her face was covered with bites.
We spent a lot of the time relaxing and reading, but a hike to the highest point at 675 m was also a must. It was quite steep, but well worth the effort.
At the peak!
Ferry back to the mainland
We went straight to Messina where we spent the night. It turned out to be a quite pleasant city, and once again we were sorry that we did not have more time there.
The bell tower of Messina
On the road
Taormina is a must on a visit to Sicily, but so much a “must” that the hordes of tourist quickly made us change our minds about staying longer there. We stopped long enough to marvel at the ancient amphitheater with a view of Mt. Etna in the background.
We instead headed straight down the coast to Syracuse at the southeastern corner of the island.
Palazzo Beneventano Del Bosco
Ipogeum in Ortigia (used as a bomb shelter during WWII)
Quite a picturesque town!
And back home, way too short a trip! There’s so much more that I didn’t see on the island.