Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sunday Road Trip: Erice and Trapani

Last Sunday we were off on another Sunday Road Trip, and this time our destination was western Sicily. With my road map in hand, I watched as we passed all the towns on our way towards Palermo. We had wanted to visit Trapani, the place where Antonello spent many months in the Navy when he was younger. Just before Trapani, we decided to follow a small winding road that brought us to the beautiful town of Erice. Located on high ground, overlooking the town of Trapani and the northern coast of Western Sicily, we enjoyed the view from this medieval city, walking through the many charming old stone streets.

An old man told Antonello that during the II World War so many fighter planes thought this piece of land, off the coast of Trapani, was an emerging submarine. As a result, this poor island called "scoglio dei porcelli" was bombed over and over again. (You can see it in the center of the picture.)

On our way down from Erice we stopped to admire the landscape of the Salines, and the city of Trapani from above.

Down by the sea, Trapani is an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands. It was originally named Drépanon from the Greek word for "sickle", because of the curving shape of its harbour.

Here we are at the "Ligny Tower", which is at the farthest point on the penninsula forming the sickle.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Concerto Jazz

"Il rotary club randazzo valle dell'Alcantara a favore della rotary-Foundation ha organizzato PER 22. GENNAIO il concerto del " QUARTETTO SICILIANO" presso i locali del museo della musica ORE 20,30 ingresso 15,00 euro. Si invitano tutti gli appassionati, e non, a partecipare all'iniziativa che ha uno scopo nobilissimo ovvero la raccolta di fondi a favore della ROTARY: FOUNDATION. I componenti del Quartetto sono:Dino Rubbino Tromba flicorno, Giovanni Mazzarino Pianoforte, Nello Toscano Contrabbasso, Fabrizio Giambanco Batteria."

Last night our coral group, LE SETTE MUSE, was invited to perform along with the “QUARTETTO SICILIANO” for the Rotary Club of Randazzo. It was a great night! At the last minute, actually yesterday afternoon, I was asked to sing a few solos for the concert. Luckily, I found tracks from my days when singing on cruise ships. I sang "Open Arms" from the group Journey, and "Get Here" by Brenda Russell. It felt great to sing again…

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bike Trip: Troina

The name Troina derives from the ancient term Tragena, that means "sheep farm". Afterwards, the name changed into "Traina", and ultimately "Troina". "Sheep farm" seams in keeping, as its land is rich of forests and pasture areas.

Here is a woman's encouter with Troina...

Bike Trip: Cesarò

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a bike ride! We packed our lunch and were off, first stop Cesarò...

The artistic and monumental bronze statue of Cristo Signore Della Montagna (Christ the Lord of the Mountain), watches over the town of Cesarò from high above. Bringing this 21-foot bronze statue of Jesus Christ with a 20-foot arm span to a 10-by-10-foot platform, at the top of the highest peak, was an unusual mission indeed. Weighing in at 7,000 pounds, a US team from Sigonella, operating their helicopter, rose to the challenge on August 19, 1996. Our friend, Natale, told us a little extra information about this story. Apparently, the town was originally quoted an unbelievable price from a local company to transport their statue. Word got out and spread to ears near Sigonella. The team didn’t ask for any money, in return they just asked for a nice Sicilian Meal!
You can read the full article here and see a photo of the transport…

Friday, January 18, 2008

A day out with the girls…

This week, while shopping for vegetables, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Justina and Rosaria. Both of them happen to be from Australia, so it was an absolute pleasure to speak in English! Rosaria is passing through for the moment, as she is off onto another travel destination next week. Justina and her husband happen to be neighbors of ours, living just a few houses up the road from us. We got together this morning for coffee, conversation, and a stroll in the sunshine at the Linguaglossa street market. While there, we were introduced to Annalisa, a friend of Justina who lives in Linguaglossa and studies languages in Catania. There we were, all four speaking in English, while every person that passed turned his or her head to hear this strange language being spoken…
I look forward to many more get-togethers…

We'll see you soon Rosaria!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Have you ever seen a cauliflower so beautiful? If you’re from these parts, this bright purple beauty is very common to see. I read that it is actually called “violetto di Sicilia”. I had never seen this type before living here. At the supermarket, we had the white head variety, “palla di neve” (ball of snow) and I never remember it being that good. (If I were to try it here, it would be completely different.)
Antonello’s father grows this cavolfiore in our garden, so we have plenty of them to eat. Usually, I make it for dinner simply steamed and served with it’s broth. I read that cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A; it is advised to those who suffer from anemia. The broth, or cooking water, is rich of sulfur and is excellent for the cure of eczema and inflammation in general.
This day I made the cauliflower as a light second. No oil added, I just dipped the steamed cauliflower in egg then breadcrumbs mixed with parmigiano reggiano. Simple, light, and very tasty.

Check out the link on the title. This site, Italia Donna, is a great source of information...

Buon Compleanno Carmelo

Surprise! Carmelo, Antonello's Godfather, came home Monday night to a house full of people anxiously awaiting his arrival. We were hidden in the kitchen, and once he walked into the house, the festa began... There was singing and dancing all night long! Rita, Carmelo's wife, created a great atmosphere for us all to enjoy...

Cucuzza Mieli con Riso e Mascolini

Let's hope the rain is over! This winter we were saturated with rain. Almost every day there were clouds, something very unusual for this place. We have been fortunate to have some beautiful days this past week. I say that, however, today it happens to be a bit of a dreary day. In any case, I took a picture to remember the sunshine shinning through my kitchen window when I was cooking.

Cucuzza Mieli con Riso (Pumpkin risotto) was on the menu for this day. My mother in law gave us half of a very large sweet pumpkin, from our garden. Nothing is better than the vegetables grown in the rich Sicilian soil.

For second, I bought Mascolini at the fish market. They are very inexpensive and they are not cultivated! Therefore, when they are available, I buy them. These little fishes are rich in omega 3, excellent blue fish, and oh so good.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shooting Range

I shot my first gun yesterday! Near the town of Maletto, where Antonello’s grandfather was born, we joined our friends in a shooting range. After a brief lesson, I was filling and firing a very powerful handgun. Let’s just say it is not something I plan on doing very often…

A view of Maletto and Mt.Etna