Francavilla and the Alcantara river

 This next walk took us up the Alcantara river to Francavilla, a hill town with a ruined castle. Following directions from a group of happy ladies in the square we climbed the precipitous pathway to the top and were rewarded with even more excellent views and photo opportunities.
From there we followed a nature trail down to the river through orange groves. Lots of oranges had fallen from the trees so we decided to help tidy them up. The river was in full spate and showed why we could not visit the gorge last week. On the trail we saw large Raptors which we could not identify and a meter long snake shot through the air across the pathway right in front of Sarah.
Another hot day.

Castelmola walk

Our friends Cathy and Graham had just left to start their journey home so we needed cheering up.
We got old Hannie the Honda, scooter, for the first time in six weeks and drove to Taormina. Then on up the hill to Castelmola and a walk from the book.
We climbed to the top of Mte Venere only 885 meters but I was absolutely on my knees. It was warmer than of late and I had too many clothes on, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Sarah had no problems. The view from the top made it worthwhile and the way down was a lot easier.
We bought some figs and oranges from an old lady on the way up and managed to eat most of them for lunch.

Forza d'Agro

 The little hill top town of Forza d'Agro was a very busy little place for a Sunday. Nearly all the restaurants and cafe's were bustling with people and parking was at a premium, it is obviously a popular place for the locals to have Sunday lunch.
We took the track out of town and walked an old donkey route through the hills. We found an old building which was a wine press at some time in it's life, Graham and I thought it would make a good renovation project as it was for sale.
The girls did not seem so impressed.


Taormina proved to be a delightful city with its traffic free centre and quite "up market" air.
It has been a tourist centre since Roman times and is very pretty.
The views of Etna are of course stunning and  from the 3rd century BC Greek amphitheatre even more so.
To see video go to this site.


Today we visit the City of Caltagirone the centre of the Sicilian ceramic industry and famous for it's flight of 142 ceramic edged steps. At festival times they decorate and candle light them. All up the side are shops and more shops all selling ceramics and with workshops where they make the goods. We visited one, and our pals Graham and Cathy bought a lot of dishes as presents for their family. We were treated to a demonstration by the owner of throwing a pot and his sister decorating a plate by hand with a fine brush in 30 minutes.
The museum houses pottery from as far back as 300 BC and has an extensive collection of the most beautiful pottery we have yet seen.
We found a little shop in a backstreet selling chicken and chips and feasted on them in the park. The picture shows the chip shop staff and an old man of 92 years which they insisted we needed for our album.

Noto and Noto Antiqua

 This trip took us to Noto and then to Old Noto up in the hills. This old town was destroyed in 1693 by an earthquake which killed around 1000 people and left the site abandoned. They built the new town down in the valley below. It is now known as the loveliest Baroque city in Sicily.
The buildings and churches are very ornate with balconies everywhere and fine stone work. The interior of many of the churches are quite plain compared to the exteriors.
The old town and the walk down the gorge is a must. The cave dwellings and mill workings down at river level are extensive and amazing. 
The only downside to the day was that Graham's truck was robbed of his tool kit and chairs while we were walking.