We had the pleasure of a lovely lunch here 7 years ago but regretted not seeing the Greek Theater. So…..guess what we did this time.
Taormina is a charming hilltop town with narrow medieval streets, story book homes, shops and restaurants galore – known to be the most famous vacation spot on Sicily.
The Greek Theater (believed to have been built in the Hellenistic period and then re-built by the Romans in 2 AD) perfectly frames Mt. Edna or the Mediterranean depending on your seat. Renowned for is acoustics it is still being used today for concerts and performances.
We stopped in the port of Palermo on the northern coast – the bustling capital city of Sicily. While strolling we stumbled upon a vegetable and fish market that occupied blocks and blocks.
The fish is delivered fresh at least twice a day and the fertile volcanic ground not only grows vegetables, 4 crops of lemons and oranges a year, it also grows 2/3 of the grain for all of Italy.
One fish stand in particular was bustling – three rows deep – one after another ordering fish. The shopkeeper filled rolled conical paper sacks as fast as he could.
Later in the day we drove from Palermo to the small town of Segesta through harvested wheat fields and rolling vineyards (famous for production of Marcella wine). The deep blue sea sparkled like diamonds on the horizon and without warning – out of the ground rose a 5th century BC Doric Temple, a complete and magnificent surprise. Did we fall asleep and wake up in Greece?
2 days ago we boarded a converted and beautifully restored ferry boat – Voyages to Antiquity – with 170 other passengers for a journey from Italy to Istanbul, Turkey. Trading in the flashy casino and show life of a cruise ship for daily lecturers/speakers who will bring the history of the cities we will visit to life.
The cruise’s first stop was Sorrento on the west coast of Italy just south of Naples. According to Greek legend it was off the coast of Sorrento that the mythical Sirens once lived. Where sailors were powerless to resist their charming and alluring songs sending their ships crashing into the shores. Now a days they are famous for their lemons and tomatoes.
It is here where we visited the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum – both engulfed by volcanic ash (Pompeii) or mud (Herculaneum), sealing and protecting buildings – enough to show us the Roman’s way of life before the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
It is the busy summer season and people are everywhere. The beaches are lined with colorful umbrellas and the Mediterranean coast is full of sun worshippers. Apparently, they did not get the memo about skin cancer.
Espressos, wine and pizzas are plentiful!!!
Our 450 foot boat has a crew of 166 so the service is fantastico.
See you in Sicily, home to Paige’s paternal great grandfather.