Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mineo and Giardini Naxos

For mom & dad's first full day back in Sicily I thought I'd start them off with Italian coffee and a pastry. We went up to Mineo to my favorite bar for breakfast, Bar Salerno.  As we were about to leave they brought out a fresh tray of arancini, a fried rice ball usually filled with ragu (meat sauce), my dad's favorite Sicilian treat.  Needless to say we stuck around for a few more minutes so he could enjoy his arancine.

Mt. Etna from Mineo

After breakfast we walked through the weekly outdoor market and then into the town to explore.  Mineo, perched high up on a hill, isn't very big, you can easily walk from one end to the other on steep, narrow streets. We burned off our breakfast over the next couple of hours while exploring the nooks and crannies of  Mineo.

Mom & Dad with Mt. Etna in the background

Another shot of Mt. Etna

After we finished our exploration we headed home for lunch. Before my parents arrived I collected massive amounts of Italian goodies - salami, prosciutto, cheeses, olives, fresh bread, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. We had fabulous lunches (and snacks) with these yummies whenever we were at home.

Later that afternoon, after Les was off of work we headed up toward Taormina.  As an afterthought we decided to go to Giardini Naxos, a place that Les and I had been briefly in the first few weeks we were on the island. I knew that there was something historically significant about this location but couldn't remember what.  Here is what my handy guidebook had to say:
This vast archeological sit on the promontory of Capo Schiso contains the ruins of the earliest Greek colony to be founded in Sicily by the Chalcidians. Its foundation the 8th century BC started the Greek colonization of the island. Prior to this, they had though that it was populated by monsters and fierce pirates. The settlement was destroyed in 403 BC by the tyrant Dionysius of Siracusa. Today, visitors can see the walls and fortifications built of lava rocks, the residential areas built on a regular grid plan and the walled area used for sacred rites, including the remains of a temple dating from the early 5th century BC. Finds from the site are housed in the small site museum. (Authentic Sicily, Touring Club of Italy)
Unfortunately the museum and ruins were closed when we arrived, but we walked the length of the charming beach town, along the water. Les and I will go back soon to see the museum and ruins.

A weathered angel sculpture near the edge of the sea

Mom & Dad with Taormina in the background

The town of Giardini Naxos with Mt. Etna in the background

Another sculpture along the waterfront

What a GREAT name for a ristorante!

 The lights of Taormina

We explored until it was dark and we were hungry. We decided to head back toward home and grab dinner on the way. We stopped in Motta St. Anastasia at one of our favorite restaurants. I can't ever remember the name (and it has changed since we moved here) but they have a wonderful garlic soup. I can make a reasonable copy of it at home but the restaurant always seems to do it better.  Anyhow, we had a delicious dinner and then made our way home.


Trav'ler Jenn said...

The statue of the angel is amazing! Wanna make one for me? I mean I know you took the pictures, but if you can just make me a statue, that would be perfect.

Angela said...

Jenn - hmmm...I'm not so good in the sculpture department but I could be persuaded to send you a print :)