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jacquie Dec 1st, 2000 05:49 AM

Italia in November - my trip report Pt 3
* Siracusa, once a powerful Greek city to rival Athens, was an unexpected pleasure. Ortygia, said to be the spiritual and physical heart of the city of Siracusa, was magnificent with its predominantly medieval buildings and Baroque piazza (one of the best in Europe), which was particularly atmospheric after dark when many locals enjoyed a stroll. This was one of the most beautiful nights we spent in Italy, walking along the water, admiring the reflection of the sun setting on the dark water. The sky, with its dark streaks of cloud against the varying shades of orange and purple, appeared as a giant IMAX screen. The next morning we ambled amongst the ruins of the Greek city, enjoying the cool of the shaded green surrounds, such a contrast against the rocks of the ancient city. <BR> <BR>* Piazza Armerina was another highlight enjoyed after a lengthy drive through the centre of Sicily, characterised by quiet, pretty countryside. Villa Romana del Casale, probably the home or hunting lodge of a Roman dignitary, was built between the end of the 3rd and mid-4th century AD before being buried under mud in a 12th century flood. It remained hidden for 700 years before its magnificent floor mosaics (which cover almost all 3500 square metres of the floor) were discovered. We marvelled at the size of the collection, the narrative style and the skill exhibited. My favourite was one depicting girls wearing what must have been the earliest bikinis, whereas my husband got a thrill out of the fishing scenes. The town itself was especially atmospheric at night when the town was covered in mist, with the exception of the green top of the Duomo. <BR> <BR>* Scopello, once a tuna fishing village, was our final destination and a great way to end our trip. The views of farmland, with clearly delineated paddocks, so green against the vast blue ocean made us glad we had chosen this sleepy village for our last two nights. Our last full day ended on a great note-the image of the magnificent but unfinished Doric temple at Segesta, standing proud among the rolling green hills as the sun went down, is one I won't forget in a hurry. <BR> <BR>* Finally, the food was fantastic everywhere we went. Whether it was restaurants or picking up local produce from the alimentari etc, it was always a thrill and I can't wait to get back for some more. <BR> <BR>So thatís it for highlights of our trip to Italy. Sorry it's so long, but I guess that shows how much we enjoyed ourselves-too many highlights to keep track of. <BR>

nancy Dec 1st, 2000 04:41 PM

Jacquie, <BR>Have enjoyed reading all your postings. <BR>sounds like a great trip. <BR>Bringing this to the top. <BR>nancy

deb Dec 2nd, 2000 08:44 AM

just topping the final part...

maureen Dec 3rd, 2000 06:35 PM

Jacquie, Thank you for your posts, It wasn't "too much ", but it was very helpful as I am planning a trip..

bobbi Dec 4th, 2000 06:00 AM

Jacquie, I loved your trip report here but cannot seem to find the previous two. Would love to read them as we are in the early stages of planning a trip to southern Italy next fall. I've tried the search engine here but with no luck. Maybe you could top them? Thanks, bobbi

Marty Dec 11th, 2000 06:48 AM

Jacquie--Where did you stay in Scopello? We are going to Sicily soon and I currently have reservations in Trabia for our last night before flying out of Palermo, but am considering a change to Scopello, since it sounds so lovely. Also, assuming you left for the Palermo/Punto Raisi airport from Scopello, approx. how long did it take you to get to the airport? <BR>Also, any particular restaurant recommendations in Scopello, Taormina? <BR>Many thanks for any insight and for posting your trip report!

jacquie Dec 12th, 2000 04:33 AM

Marty, glad to hear you enjoyed my trip report. To answer your questions, we stayed at Pensione Tranchina in Scopello. The address is Via Diaz 7 and we paid 100,000 per night (incl. breakfast) in November. We also ate there 2 nights and it was 65,000 for a full dinner, not including wine (a good bottle of red was 10,000 or so from memory), for 2 people. The meals were fantastic and are highly recommended. We had unusual pasta (once with cauliflower which was a first for me) to start, then freshly caught fish with salad, fresh fruit and then something sweet for dessert. The pensione is run by a lady and her Italian husband, who was born in Scopello. There is a photo of him at the same place as the pensione 50 or so years ago - amazing how it had changed. The phone number given in my lonely planet guidebook is 0924 54 10 99. <BR> <BR>Re the airport, it took about an hour from Scopello. <BR> <BR>Re eating in Taormina, well this was one of the more disappointing meals (we often ate at places recommended by LP) so I'll give you the name so you can NOT eat there. It was called "Il Baccanale" - said by LP to be a popular restaurant, moderate by Taormina standards. Yes it wasn't particularly expensive, but the food was very ordinary. Not bad, mind you, just disappointing, as most of our meals in Italy were fantastic and worth raving about. <BR> <BR>Have a fantastic trip and email me if you have any more questions.

lisa Dec 12th, 2000 10:57 AM

Jacquie -- How was the weather? I'm curious about the temperatures. <BR> <BR>Would like to read the first two parts of your report, but can't seem to find.

Marty Dec 13th, 2000 06:29 AM

Jacquie: <BR> <BR>Thank you so much for your detailed response; I've responded by e-mail. Thanks again--Scopello it is!!

jacquie Dec 14th, 2000 08:48 PM

Lisa, the weather in Sicily was pretty good. I would guess it was 20-25' C most days. For some reason it was best when we were on the Aeolian Islands and we actually swam even though it was pretty cool in the water. Then again, we're from Sydney, so we're used to cold water. I would say it was a pretty good time to travel in the south of Italy, as we had less people but the weather was still pleasant for travelling around. Will try to find the first two parts of my report for you.

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