Island of fire

Dear all!

Thank you so very much for your comments on my pink ballerina dress, both here and on facebook!
(to those who came here via facebook and may wonder why my post don’t show in their RSS-feed anymore: I had to change my url a few months ago, so when you started following before it can’t work anymore. The bloglovin-link at the bottom of the page was updated, so please renew your feed if you want to keep updated).

a beautiful balcony, somewhere in Taormina
a beautiful balcony, somewhere in Taormina

Sorry for my radio silence here since the last post. I was on holidays and hadn’t had any time to prepare some posts in advance. And as you can imagine, I didn’t sew very much, either (though I tried to make myself a dress for the holiday, but I didn’t finish it in time).

The Naumacchia, a wall with niches of still unknown purpose
The Naumacchia, a wall with niches of still unknown purpose

Normally I have a very strict policy when thinking about blog posts and holiday-photo-posts aren’t what this blog is about. But because I have nothing else to talk about and because I visited a city with a lot of history and art (so there is the connection to this blog) I decided to give you a little glimpse of what my holidays looked like.

Me wearing my Stevie Nicks dress next to Via d'Orville
Me wearing my Stevie Nicks dress next to Via d’Orville (the post presenting it doesn’t exist anymore, sorry)

These were the first holidays since a short trip to Florence 2012. Because all the holidays my boyfriend and I had had together were domitated either by sightseeing or art and museums I had to promise my boyfriend to accept bathing-relax-holidays this time. For this reason we chose Taormina on Sicily, a beautiful little city directly above the mediterranean sea with lovely old churches and enough art to keep me entertained, but not large enough to seduce me with loads of museums and giant cathedrals (the reason we didn’t go to Palermo).

The interiour of San Pancratio, built on the ruins of a greek temple
The interiour of San Pancratio, built on the ruins of a greek temple

Our hotel wasn’t located in Taormina itself, but in Mazzaró, a district of it directly by the sea, connected with Taormina via a funicular or a staircase.

The Centaur-Fountain in front of the Duomo, built in 1635
The Centaur-Fountain in front of the Duomo, built in 1635

This wasn’t only a decision saving money and nerves (because we had rented a car and parking in Taormina is really not relaxing at all), it also enabled us to go to the beach whenever we liked to, the beach being a small natural reserve with the really beautiful Isola Bella. On the island is a very small museum, showing photos of the surrounding reefs and with beautiful terraces from which you have a spectacular view over the mediterranean sea. Unfortunately large areas and even some rooms were closed, but in hindsight I should be lucky that it was open at all.

La Isola Bella
La Isola Bella

Taormina itself is famous for its beautiful buildings and its long history. The oldest buildings to witness this history are the greek ruins like the antique theatre. Today it is often called the roman theatre, because the romans enlarged and altered it, leaving no visible trace of the greek predecessor. This place gives you an amazing view on mount Etna. Unbelieveable, but the Romans built a brick wall behind the stage, so the view onto the island (as the greeks wanted it to be) was completely blocked, fortunately not much of the wall is left today and the vulcano is visible again.

Theatro graeco
Theatro graeco

Most of the town shows medieval and younger buildings, but some of the old looking landmarks are in fact reconstructions from the 19th century, so you have to be careful when judging them.

The Porta Messina, restored in the early 19th century
The Porta Messina, restored in the early 19th century

Now the maddening part of this city. I said it is famous for its history, its art. Is has rare and beautiful antiques, lots of interesting Palazzi and Churches. And it has a Saracen Castle on the hilltop above the town as well as two museums, an archeological Museum and an Antiquarium next to the antique theatre (website tells me that there are two more museums, I didn’t visit any of them and apparently they are smaller, because they didn’t appear in any of the guides I had). All three, the castle and both museums, are closed. Not for maintainance or because of anything special, in fact I have bo idea why and my guide writes that they have been closed for quite some time now.

Castello Saraceno - the locked gate
Castello Saraceno – the locked gate

So although I expected them to be closed, I am quite disappointed by this. I mean, this is a city famous for its antique heritage, attracting thousands of visitors each year and they don’t manage to keep at least one of the antique museums running?

Antique mosaics, hidden in a smelly hallway leading to the stage, that is installed inside the theatre in the summer months
Antique mosaics, hidden in a smelly hallway leading to the stage, which is installed inside the theatre in the summer months

At one day we made a trip to a nearby village called Savoca. I was confused to see numerous tourist groups stroll through it, not because of the cute little town or its monuments, but because they made guided “mafia”-tours, visiting some film-locations of F.F. Coppola’s “Godfather”. All you heard were things like “And here Coppola shot this scene” and “Look, this is the church where the marriage was filmed”. I overheard a german-speaking tour-guide telling his group that in this area of Sicily your risk your life when photografing people on the street, never knowing who they really are. Well, yes, I know that the Cosa Nostra is active in Sicily, no doubt, but still this sounds like a story a tourist guide wants to tell because it sounds so threatening.
And before someone asks: I wanted to visit this village, because there is a small Capucin convent. The rich and noble men of the village had themselves mummified and burried in the curch’s crypt, you can see their bodies, fully clothed in 18th and 19th century attire, until today (photos of the mummies can be found in the italian Wikipedia-article about Savoca)

Savoca. The church on the rocks left is the chiesa de San Nicolò, where the marriage in "The Godfather" was filmed. And the little silver car between the two busses is our hired car
Savoca. The church on the rocks left is the chiesa de San Nicolò, where the marriage in “The Godfather” was filmed. And the little silver thing between the two busses is our hired car

Savoca has a little museum, too and this was open! Though my italian is so bad that I didn’t understand a word it was really cute and I was happy to pay the 2€ entrance fee to support it. Beside an old loom and an (to me undatable but presumeably 19th century) table carpet I especially loved this little room.

Sorry I don't have any better photo of the whole room
Sorry I don’t have any better photo of the whole room

The damask on the bed is painted with some cute figures and additional ornament.

love this mermaid!
love this mermaid!

But the oddest thing is this hook rack. In the middle an antique corset (I don’t even dare dating it. The cut seems to be 18th century but I don’t want to imagine something this old hanging on hooks like that), framed by some priest’s stoles (18th as well, I fear). What a combination! And all in deplorable condition, but the women at the counter didn’t speak anything but Italian so I did not want to start a discussion with them.

DSC_0177

Some of you who know me a little better might know that I love art, but that I am absolutely fascinated by nature. I mean, nature is everything, we are nature, art is nature (ok, we are not talking about Jeff Koons’ sculptures here) and no matter how beautiful the things are we create, seing a plant grow from a tiny seed or a small bee working as a part of a whole state is simply breathtaking to me. And so the one thing that impressed me most in this holidays is not man-made:

a little shy, hiding its face in the clouds
a little shy, hiding its face in the clouds

We visited mount Etna on sunday, it already being very active and throwing lava and rock into the air, covering us in a thick smoke smelling like sulphur. If you ever have the chance of visiting it: Do it! Standing in front of a spitting vulcano and listening to the sound of exploding lava is one of the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had.

Eruption of the south-eastern crater, seen from appr. 2550m, near the funicular hill station
Eruption of the south-eastern crater, seen from appr. 2550m, near the funicular hill station (shot with zoom lens)

You can go by car or rent a bus tour to the Refugio Sapienza, where you will find a large parking place and dozens of souvenir shops and restaurants. From there a funicular brings you to 2500m heigth. If you want to, you can walk from there or you can pay 30€ for offroad-busses to bring you as close as possible to the top. Because of the ongoing outbreak this busses stopped much sooner as normally, so you have to decide if you are really willing to spend the money when the vulcano is as active as it was last week.

in case you assumed you would be alone up there - you aren't. Photo taken at 2700m, above the Valle del Bove
in case you assumed you would be alone up there – you aren’t. Photo taken at 2700m, above the Valle del Bove

Our guide advised us to have a look at the vulcano from Taormina when it is dark and so, after having watched the football match on monday evening in a bar we stayed in Taormina until it was dark. And oh my god, I was completely overwhelmed!

Erupting Etna seen from the Piazza IX aprile, Taormina
Erupting Etna seen from the Piazza IX aprile, Taormina

I assume I stood there for over an hour, doing nothing but staring and taking photos (only for the record: from the 665 photos we took, 322 show the Etna, mostly because of the many continuous shootings I made from the eruptions). It was just too beautiful to leave. And though this outbreak endagered our departure flight, I was so grateful to see something this beautiful.

Me on the Corso Umberto I, the main street of Taormina (wearing New Look 6789 and the handbag I won from Goldkind)
Me on the Corso Umberto I, the main street of Taormina (wearing New Look 6789 and the handbag I won from Goldkind)

I hope I will be able to sew something in this remaining days of my holidays. but I definitely will cook. Inspired by the HSF, two bloggers created the Historical Food Forthnightly. And because I would like to revitalize my historical recipes on this blog, I hope I will be able to join some of the challenges.

I wish you all a lovely weekend, yours

ette

8 thoughts on “Island of fire

  1. Ach fantastisch, das sieht ja nach einem wunderbarem Urlaub aus:-)
    Natürlich drücke ich dir ganz, ganz, ganz stark die Daumen, das wird bestimmt!

    1. Danke, das war er wirklich.
      Und danke für’s Daumendrücken, bin schon etwas aufgeregt (ist aber schon das zweite für den Job, also die erste Hürde hab ich schon geschafft).
      lg ette

  2. Hallo, da bin ich aber froh, dass ich deinen Blog gefunden habe. Sollte ich jemals nach Sizilien kommen möchte ich auf jeden Fall die Mumien sehen. Und ich hoffe auch, dass dann das Mieder noch im Museum ist, aber in geretteter Form.
    Vielen Dank außerdem für den Schnitt zum Hosenrock, so etwas suche ich schon lange.
    Viele Grüße, Susanne

    1. Hallo Susanne,
      herzlichen Dank für deinen Kommentar! Die Mumien sind leider in sehr schlechtem Zustand, zudem sind die meisten in schlichten Anzügen bestattet. Also nur für die Kostüme lohnt es sich leider nicht. Aber trotzdem auf jeden fall sehenswert.
      Schön, dass du den Hosenrock nähen willst. Bin gespannt auf deine Version! Werde mich wohl bald mal an dem Cape versuchen.
      So, und jetzt werde ich in aller Ruhe deinen Blog durchstöbern 🙂
      alles Liebe, ette

    1. Yes, we had a wonderful time, indeed. And I bought no fabric at all. Taormina is such a small and touristic city, there is nearly nothing but Souvenir-shops full of ceramic and lava stones or very high priced designer boutiques (never saw a city were you can buy Prada in nearly every shop). But I do have so much fabric already, I desperately need to reduce my stock, so buying new fabrics wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do right now.
      love, ette

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