PHONE: (+39) 3289132504


Email *

Message *

July 30, 2008


If Taormina is Sicily's resort town par excellence, then Cefalù is its eager younger sibling, desperately trying to catch up. Just over an hour by train or bus from Palermo, this attractive beachside town is now the top spot on the Tyrrhenian Coast. Its popularity is reflected in the number of tour buses that hit town during summer and the near-exorbitant prices. Still, the town's location, backed up against the towering mass of a crag known simply as La Rocca (the Rock), plus its unspoilt medieval streets and historic sights, make this a wonderful place to spend a couple of days.
Air tickets, Car Rental and Apartments click here.

July 26, 2008


Spectacularly located on a terrace of Monte Tauro, dominating the sea with views west to Mt Etna - it is difficult to exaggerate the charm of taormina, Sicily's glitziest resort. Over the centuries Taormina has seduced an exhaustive line of writers and artists, aristocrats and royalty and these days it is host to a summer film festival that packs the town with the international jet set. The city is far removed from the banal economic realities of other Sicilian cities, as it is cushioned by some serious wealth. However, the charm and beauty are not manufactured. As capital of Byzantine Sicily in the 9th century, Taormina is an almost perfectly preserved medieval town, and if you can tear yourself away from the shopping and sunbathing it has a wealth of small but perfect tourist sites. In July and August the town is packed with tourists; it is difficult to find accommodation and even dining can be a problem. A good time to come is at either end of the high season (April to May or September to October), when everything quietens down a bit.

July 25, 2008


Sicily's most prominent landmark is Europe's largest live volcano and one of the world's most active. At 3323m it literally towers over the Ionian Coast, dwarfing everything beneath it; its smoking peak is visible from almost everywhere on this side of the island, and is a heart-stirring (and sometimes heart-stopping!) sight. As a symbol of power, creation and destruction, it's hard to beat, and the effect of this extraordinary volcano should never be underestimated. Since 1987 the Etna Volcano and its slopes have been part of a national park, the Parco Naturale dell'Etna, a territory that encompasses a fascinatingly varied natural environment: from the severe, almost surreal summit, with its breathtaking panoramas, to desert of lava and alpine forests.

Triggered by a combination of volcanic and regional tectonic activity more than half a million years ago, a number of eruptive centres appeared off the east coast of Sicily. The most recent phase of volcanism, about 35,000 years ago, created the present-day stratovolcano known as Etna. In ancient times Etna's summit was frequently lit up by spectacular pyrotechnic displays. Not surprisingly, the eruptions featured in some very early writing. The classical world saw the volcano in mythological terms as the home of the god Plutone and of the Titans who predated Zeus and rebelled against him. In the 18th century BC Homer mentioned Etna in his story of Ulysses (Odysseus) and the Cyclops, and in Prometheus, Aeschylus describes Etna as a 'column holding up the sky', with the giant Tifone (Typhoon) at its base. Recorded history is littered with eruptions, including major ones in 475 BC, AD 1169, 1329 and 1381, all of which saw molten rock flow right down to the sea. The most devastating eruption occurred in 1669 and lasted 122 days. A massive river of lava poured down Etna's southern slope, destroying 16 towns and engulfing a good part of Catania. The first documented visitor to Etna was in 1493: Pietro Bembo, who wrote De Aetna, telling of his adventures. This encouraged an influx of English, German, French, Dutch and Danish travellers. In 1773 English physicist, Patrick Brydone, published his Tour Through Sicily & Malta, and his lyrical descriptions of the ascent to the crater inspired many aristocrats to visit. In more modern times, Etna has claimed its faire share of victims, despite the fact that it is monitored by 120 seismic activity stations and is under constant satellite surveillance. In 1971 an eruption destroyed the observatory at the summit, and another in 1983 finished off the old cable car and tourist centre. Nine people died in an explosion at the southeastern crater 1n 1979, and two died and 10 were injured in an explosion at the same crater in 1987. In 1992 a stream of lava pouring from a fissure in the southeastern slope threatened to engulf the town of Zafferana Etnea. The town was saved when the Italian Air Force dropped a pile of breeze blocks in the lava's path. In 2001-02, Mt Etna's most spectacular explosions in 40 years caused immense damage to the infrastructure on the southern side of the mountain.
The volcano is made up of four summit craters and is surrounded by 200 major and secondary cones ditting etna's flanks. Measuring roughly 7km by 5km, the Valle del Bove, a depression on the eastern side of Etna, is a caldera formed after a cone collapsed several thousand years ago.

July 24, 2008


The site of Paternò was occupied before 3500 BCE, when in the prehistoric vulcanetto that overhangs the town the first livings installed themselves. The inhabitants of the region were Sicani, although it lies in predominantly Siculi territories, and since its founding, the settlement was called Inessa. Shortly thereafter, citizens of Catania, in this era called Aitna, called the ancient Paternò Inessa-Aitna. Hence the name Paternò that perhaps derives from Paeter Aitanon, that is to say the "Fortress of the Etnei". In the vicinity of Paternò, however, it is very likely that two towns existed, in fact there is not only Inessa-Aitna, but many authors indicate also the presence of Hybla Mayor or Galeatis, that rose in the district northwest of the present town.
A town of middle importance during the Greek period, under the Romans it was severely depopulated after 300 BCE. In the period of the Saracen domination the village was called Batarnù. Later on, the Norman conquest, begun in the 1040s, the town was renamed Paternionis, and thus began an economic and civic Golden Age, due to its importance to the Norman Aristocracy. The territories of Paternò, in fact, were so valuable, that they constituted a wedding gift from Frederick III of Aragon to Eleanor of Anjou . Paternò's period of splendor lasted until the 15th century, when the town was removed from the Queen's ownership and began a slow, but irreversible, decline.
Of the Medieval Period they are present still interesting depositions among which the magnificent castles, like to the French and Scottish castles fortified in the same period. Characteristic also are the cloister of San Francesco and La Chiesa della Gancia e tutto il borgo(the Church of the Hook and All of the Town). Physical reminders of the Norman period remain in Nordic features among segments of the populace.
One of the main problems of the city historically was malaria, caused by the marshlands of the Plain of Catania. This has since long been remedied, and the urban development of the town had a large acceleration in the 1960s and 1970s.