Friday, September 26, 2008

Involtini di pollo al pistacchio

Kelly joined me for lunch last week and we decided to pass by Enzo and pick up some fresh chicken breast. I had some finely ground pistacchio's from Bronte on hand, and a soft cheese in the fridge, so we were all set.

Kelly was put right to work!

She covered the thinly sliced chicken with a mixture of Parmigiano-Reggiano and pistacchios, then a slice of soft cheese. She then rolled them up and placed them on a baking sheet.

Very delicate and very tasty!

La Festa della Vendemmia 2008

It's that time of year again!! You can feel it in the air, the time for the Vendemmia. The rain has fallen on the dry land of Sicily, and the grapes are plump and ready for picking. Tonight begins the first night of the three day celebration, and the town is all ready for the thousands that are expected. It is an amazing sight! Pictures from last years vendemmia are posted here if you'd like to see a quick peek of what's to be expected.

The town has planned a full weekend. Check out the program here.

This morning, the school kids were invited to start the process of stomping the grapes. They all had such a good time!

La Festa della Vendemmia will be from the 26th to the 28th of September.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Permesso di Soggiorno... Not yet...

Yesterday, I drove to the Questura in Catania for my 9:30 Permesso di Soggiorno appointment. I must say that having an appointment makes it so much easier. The lines in the Questura can be very daunting and eye opening. My first Permesso di Soggiorno had expired, and I renewed the document a few weeks ago through the post office Kit. I was so surprised to hear back from them so soon. Thinking that I would be walking away with a new 5 year Permesso di Soggiorno was a crazy thought! And in fact, I was wrong. The appointment was only to collect my pictures and take my finger prints. (Again) But, I'm in no rush... :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

casa dolce casa

It feels good to be back! First thing I did in the morning was pick up fresh everything... Bread, fish, and vegetables to make a nutritious lunch.
A presto...

A day on the island of Malta

Sailing into Malta you could see the heat in the air...
We ported in Valletta, Malta’s capital city. The newly restored “Valletta Waterfront” welcomed us once we disembarked.

The Azure Window is a 50 metre high rock arch in the Dwejra Point cliffs. The sea has worn a hole through a narrow headland forming "the window" called Tieqa in Maltese.

These little window balconies are everywhere in Malta.
The streets of Valletta, the city of the Knights.
Malta was the last port on this journey. Everything was packed and ready to return home to Sicily.

Passing Capri

As we left Naples, we followed the coast line south on our way to Malta. The views from my cabin were amazing. Here is a glimpse of Capri when we were sailing by...

Around midnight we entered into the straight of Messina. Everyone was on the open deck to see this passage through the narrow section of water separating the Italian Peninsula from Sicily. The Strait joins the Tyrrhenian Sea in the north with the Ionian Sea in the south and has a reputation for its hydrological peculiarities – namely whirlpools, strong currents and internal waves.
"Throughout history the Strait has received a lot of attention because of its dangerous waters. In Greek mythology, a six-headed monster named Scylla lived on the Italian Peninsula and would pull sailors up and devour them if they came within her grasp, while an all-consuming whirlpool called Charybdis, on the Sicilian side, would suck passersby to their deaths." European Space Agency
We passed through without harm, and shortly after I could see home, Etna lit up for us.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

un giorno a Napoli

The beauty of the ship is that it ports right in the heart of the city at the Stazione Marittima, a large terminal near Piazza Municipio. Once you step off the gangway, you can feel the difference as you have arrived in Naples.

I am not a very aggressive person. At first, it was a bit difficult for me to adjust to the pace of the city... I just let Antonello lead! He let me just observe and absorb. The character and culture of Napoli is immense, and even the craziness has its own flavor.

The Church of Gesù Nuovo was built by Jesuits in Naples with its splendid "diamond point bugnato" facade. It was dedicated to the name of Jesus and Immaculate Conception of Mary. The volcanic piperno stones with their bugnato finish are the work of "Master piperno-masons" who were part of a powerful and secret society that handed down the art of cutting Campanian stones, from Roman times, under oath by the apprentices.

The Spire of the Immaculate Virgin stands at the center of the square that was built to invoke the Lord's protection from the plague. Depicted on the spire, among other scenes, are the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple; The Birth of the Virgin Mary; and The Annunciation. Its rich ornamentation is considered the epitome of Neapolitan Baroque sculpture.
We, however, spent most of our time looking on the reverse side of the spire, the back of Mother Mary. (One very kind old man tried to inform Antonello that he was looking at the wrong side. ) We heard that the sculptor created something, in his creation, that if you find the right angle you can discover. Was it his true feelings for the church? Can you see something?
As good visitors of Naples, we found a pizzeria for lunch. I enjoyed the original authentic, D.O.C, pizza Margarita with cherry tomatos, fresh basil, and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Something worth coming back for!

un giorno a Roma

Once we arrived in the port of Civitavecchia, we decided to take the train into Rome and spend a few hours there. We sat by the window and enjoyed the view...

A city filled with History... The little cobblestone streets will lead you to so many amazing places. Many people have been here, and many pictures have been taken. Mine, however, are not worth posting. :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

un giorno a Livorno

The monument of The Four Moors, placed at the gate to the city, is one of the most famous in Livorno. The monument is made up of a marble statue, portraying the Gran Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici, surrounded by four bronze Moors at his feet. The realistic naturalness of their manners are so very suggestive. The monument is commemorative of the Order of Saint Stefano's Knighthoods founded in 1561 by Cosimo I de' Medici who engaged in a fast struggle against Turkish pirates who acted cruelly in the whole Mediterranean Sea.

Places that caught my eye...

Living in Sicily, bikes unfortunilty are not a popular means of transportation. So, seeing families riding with their children in tow, and those on their way to work was a great thing to see.

Being that we were in Livorno, we wanted to try their signature dish the Cacciucco alla Livornese. With this in mind, we followed the guide of Via Michelin and dined at Da Galileo run by Ivo Piagneri, an eminent chef in the full historic city center of Livorno. This fish stew is on the menu at nearly every restaurant in the area that serves local dishes all in varied versions. Eel and squid are always included, as well as a variety of shellfish and firm fleshed white fish, octopus, and cuttlefish. Actually, I read that thirteen different species of fish make up this Chowder tradition: cuttlefish, shark, octopus, trigla lucerna, eel, capon, scorpion fish, goby, blenny, grimace, cicada, and sugarello. Yeah, I wasn’t aware of that when I was eating… But, we are certainly willing to try anything. One thing is for sure, I truly miss the Sicilian Simplicity.

We enjoyed the lovely town of Livorno...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sights from Barcelona

It isn't easy to post just a few pictures from Barcelona. Around every corner there is something beautiful to discover. Here is just a taste of our day...

The Monument of Columbus on the waterfront stands tall in the sky.

Around each corner there was something new as we walked down the narrow streets filled with antique shops and little bakeries.
La Rambla, the busy street in central Barcelona.
Turists were everywhere... :)
See the bikes behind Antonello? These rental bikes are the greatest things. Pick up one where you are, and drop it off where you are going.
Barcelona Cathedral
The elevated site occupied by the cathedral has always been the spiritual center of Barcelona. First there was a Roman temple here, then a mosque, and then a church that preceded the cathedral. Pure beauty is all I can say...
It's graceful spires can be seen from most of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic quarter) of Barcelona.
(I didn't get a good picture of the outside, but found this online.)
Here the 14th-century cloister, which the historian Cirici called "the loveliest oasis in Barcelona." Its vaulted galleries overlook a lush garden filled with orange, medlar, palm trees, and a mossy central pond.

Underneath the well-worn slabs of its stone floor are the tombs of key members of the Barri Gòtic's ancient guilds.
The lofty, handsomely sculptured choir.

The crypt within the Cathedral contains the remains of Santa Eulàlia, the first patron saint of Barcelona and the saint to whom the cathedral is dedicated. According to Catholic tradition, the young virgin who suffered martyrdom during Roman times in Barcelona was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snow fall in mid spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street called 'Baixada de Santa Eulalia'. The crypt beneath the high altar contains the impressive alabaster sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia. The virgin daughter of an upper-class Barcelona family, Eulalia was burned at the stake for her beliefs.
The white geese in the 14th century cloister are said to represent her purity.
There just never is enough time to explore everything... Guess we'll have to come back!