I’ve just been to Sicily, the south east of the island. The tour is titled ‘Montelbano’s Sicily’. You may/ may not know that Montelbano is a fictional Sicilian policeman, whose stories are written by Camillieri, a Sicilian detective writer. In a recent tv interview, Camillieri, now eighty, says : ‘These stories are really about a love affair with Sicily, a token crime going on in the background.’ It worked on me – I wanted to come to Sicily.Here are some images and comments.
Did you know, there was a catastrophic earthquake in 1693, in this part of Sicily. Three quarters of Ragusa’s population then were killed. The survivors set about re-constructing their towns, sometimes dividing the sites for the old town from the new- as in Ragusa.
Noto next, golden stone, exquisite Baroque buildings, all of a piece. The guide explained why there ‘bulgy balconies’ ( as I thought of them). Either for convent nuns who are never allowed outside, to look down on life going on beneath their convent. Or for women with crinolines who couldn’t fit into a regular balcony.
Then Saint George, clearly slaying the dragon. I now realise what a universal saint he is, perhaps claimed by each country as their own. In this depiction, he looks curiously child like in spite of the dragon conquering.
Then a trip out of the city of Noto, to visit the Buonivini vineyard, deep in the rural countryside. There, to sample wine and olive oils. They combine local methods with modern technology and marketing, I felt impressed by this. For one part of the wine making process, they store new wine underground, so don’t need refrigeration. Here I am going underground.
To be continued…..