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Category: Europe: Italy

Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, Sicily

Ironic detective stories by Joanna Chmielewska used to be fairly popular in the country of our births when we were young. One of them, Dead Man’s Tale (its Russian-language title translates more literally as “What the Deceased Said”), jumps between various locations in Europe with a short but prominent chapter…

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #161)

Syracuse, Sicily (WHS #160)

Syracuse is geographically closer to Noto than Catania is, but it enjoys a separate World Heritage recognition as an exceptional record of the development of Mediterranean civilization over three millennia. The WH site is actually a three-part collection that includes the archaeological park of Neapolis over a mile northwest of…

A few from Catania (WHS #160 the end for now)

A few from Catania (WHS #159 part 5)

The second-largest city in Sicily was even less of a certainty on our itinerary than Palazzolo Acreide. It is part of the same Val di Noto World Heritage site as Ragusa, Noto, Scicli, and since a big city always requires a bigger allocation of time, we initially considered leaving it…

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #160 part 3)

Ragusa, Sicily (WHS #159 part 3)

While Scicli is fairly off the beaten path, Ragusa is a common popular feature on Sicilian itineraries. How can it not be?! Just look at this perspective of a quintessential Sicilian hilltop village. What we see here is Ragusa Ibla – the historic and medieval in topography part of Ragusa.…

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #160 part 2)

Scicli, Sicily (WHS #159 part 2)

Scicli is enough off the beaten track so a fair portion of the WH-focused community considers it a favorite among the towns comprising Val di Noto serial site. It is bright and clean, its compact central area is easy on the eye, and the ratio of locals-to-visitors is higher than…

Noto, Sicily (WHS #160 part 1)

Noto, Sicily (WHS #159 part 1)

In the south-eastern part of Sicily, eight towns comprise the World Heritage serial site of Val di Noto, recognized as a great rebuilding achievement in the decades following the devastating earthquake of 1693, which resulted in surpassing examples of Baroque town planning and architecture. It is a varied collection, ranging…

Chasing World Heritage: #158 (Agrigento)

Chasing World Heritage: #157 (Agrigento)

The archaeological area of Agrigento (also known as “Valley of the Temples”) is inscribed on the World Heritage list in large part for its Doric temples dominating the erstwhile Greek settlement dating from the 6th century BCE. Temple of Concordia is the undeniable primary highlight of the site, and clearly…

Palermo

Palermo

Quick show of hands – who has Palermo on their must-see-in-your-lifetime list? The capital and largest city of Sicily does not enjoy a highly-recommended status among the travelers (and, like any other place in the South of Italy, is nowhere near the list of most-visited destinations in the country). It…

Italy wrap-up

Italy wrap-up

Our November trip to Italy was relatively short, befitting a getaway, and structured around visiting a few places that we had not explored in the past. We spent time in Milan (city highlights, Last Supper), Bergamo (city highlights, fortifications), and Turin (city highlights, royal palaces). My photographic output was not…

Turin

Turin

My writing skills being what they are, I frequently struggle with finding original or at least not overused ways to express my positive impressions of places and points of interest. But that is nothing compared to the search for ways to describe a lukewarm impression. The places that do not…

Bergamo

Bergamo

We have not set foot in Bergamo in the past and made it a defined target on this trip. It is a kind of town that invariably leaves a positive impression on any visitor without tipping the scales on the exceptional side. Città Alta, the historic core of Bergamo, is…

Third time the charm in Milan

Third time the charm in Milan

Milan, a renowned Mecca of shopping and fashion, is rarely considered to be a sightseeing destination. That reputation is largely deserved, as even the most ardently patriotic locals are likely to agree that their city is not at all pretty. Impressive buildings pop up here or there, some residential streets…

A postcard from Vernazza

For me, Vernazza is the most beautiful of the five villages that comprise the incomparable Cinque Terre. It could be because Vernazza was our base when we explored the coast and, subsequently, we got acquainted with it to a larger degree than with any of the other villages. Or it…