This summer I have to pleasure of having some friends and relatives to visit me here in Sicily, which is fab. It has led me to write up a list of places I’d desperately love to go and see this summer.
It’s a very personal list which I don’t think is for everyone as its made up of some pretty far flung places but it’s a real wish list for me.
The sanctuary of the black Madonna of Tindari is located high up in the mountains above Milazzo and is an ancient Greek settlement complete with archeological site and Greek theatre. It’s not this history that attracts me to this place but more for the religious aspect of this place. Tindari is a mecca for religious pilgrims who visit the icon of the Madonna of Tindari in the beautiful cathedral. There is a strange mysticism that draws me back to this place.
Castello di Maniace (or Castello Nelson) is a more recent discovery in the fertile countryside between Randazzo and Bronte. An historical english property which was given to Admiral Lord Nelson as a gift after he rescued the Borbon king of the two Sicilies after Nelson helped him to escape certain death during a revolution in Naples in 1796. I blogged about this place last year and I am yet to make it out to see its beautiful grounds and museum.
Casa Cuseni, Taormina (http://www.casacuseni.com/ ) is a historical house that became almost a real personified character in one of the best books around about Sicily by the late great Daphne Phelps ‘A House in Sicily’. The book is a wonderful love letter to this Sicilian villa which became Daphne’s home after inheriting the grand old house built and designed by her talented Uncle, painter Robert Hawthorn Kitson from 1905 to 1907. It has been converted into a luxury bed and breakfast and museum which I hope to visit sometime soon.
The Cathedral of Monreale has the most spectacular mosaics including a giant depiction of Jesus Christ which covers one Dome of the grandiose church, filled with precious stones and gold. I am told it is an ancient wonder. Which I am sad to say I still haven’t seen!!
Along the same theme of mosaics is the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina which is an ancient Roman villa which has been preserved so well that you can walk through the different rooms and marvel at the beautiful mosaic decorated floors.
There is so much of Sicily to explore from it’s food, wine, history and literature that is defiantly can take a lifetime to see it all. I think this is a pretty good personal top five.