Tag Archives: Mediterranean Sea

Marsala – Sicily

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Marsala  (Lilybaeum in Latin) is an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily. Marsala is the most populous town in Trapani, and the fifth-highest in Sicily.

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The town is famous for the landing of Garibaldi on 11 May 1860 (the Expedition of the Thousand) and for its Marsala wine.

A feature of the area is the natural reserve of Stagnone Lagoon—a marine area with salt ponds.

The Salt Ponds and the Ancient Windmills used to pump the sea water out are so very beautiful…

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Marsala is built on the ruins of the ancient Carthaginian city Lilybaion, and includes the archaeological site of Motya island, an ancient Phoenician town.  See our visit to that marvelous place by clicking HERE.

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As we traveled to Sicily from Malta it was exciting to see the island coming into view…

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We stayed in our favorite hotel in Marsala, The New Palace Hotel

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We love walking the old city of Marsala, so filled with history and beauty..

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As with any ancient city in Europe, one must visit the Cathedral…

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We dart up the steps and enter the enormous doors …….what do we see…….. a wedding in progress…

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….up the side aisle we sneak, in order to obtain a better view of the goings on….

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What fun to observe this very formal event…we hurry to wait outside to see the newlyweds exit…

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What fun that was!

We had walked into the old town and on our way back we found the most marvelous restaurant…. Bucanieri

Look at the view from our table……..marvelous!!

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What a delightful meal we enjoyed, sitting and watching the chefs in the open kitchen….

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Crostini with Lardo and Fresh Tomato..

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Arancini di Riso and Sundried Tomato stuffed with Sardine…

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Octopus Salad

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Wild Boar Meatballs in a Rich Hunter’s Broth

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Delightful Frutti di Mari

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Tuna Steak in an Incredible Parsley Sauce

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Delightful cup of Rich Minestrone Soup

Then a walk back to the New Palace for some pastries..

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Nothing beats Sicilian Pastries…

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We so love Sicily and Marsala is always a delight to visit…..we hope you enjoyed spending some time here with us….

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Marseille – France

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Marseille

– the second largest city in France, after Paris,

–  located on the southeast coast of France, Marseille is France’s largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port.

– the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region,

– the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department….

We spent little time visiting this wonderful lady and found her street cars to be pure whimsy…

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King Francis I of France visited Marseille, drawn by his curiosity to see a rhinoceros that King Manuel I of Portugal was sending to Pope Leo X, but which had been shipwrecked on the Île d’If.

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His visit becomes important because in the 16th century,  he builds a fort on the hill in Marseille to resist the 1536 siege of Marseilles by the Emperor Charles V.

This for becomes the foundations of the current Basilica known as Notre-Dame de la Garde  – literally Our Lady of the Guard

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 This Neo-Byzantine church was built by the architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu on the foundations of that ancient fort located at the highest natural point in Marseille

It is a major local landmark and the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every year on Assumption Day, August 15.

 The basilica was consecrated on June 5, 1864 and replaced a church of the same name built in 1214 and restored in the 15th century.

We found the a Café across from the Gare de Marseille-Saint-Charles, a most magnificent train station

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The Brasserie de la Gare provided us a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean view….

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We dined al fresco and had some delightful dishes….

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The seafood so fresh and marvelous and the Salad Niçoise absolute perfection….

Hope you enjoyed our brief and wonderful visit to Marseille

Grosseto – Italy

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grosetto3You always know when you are entering Tuscany……the surroundings suddenly begin to look sculpted, as if you were walking in a work of art…

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Our destination is Grosseto, whose origins can be traced back to the High Middle Ages.

Grosseto was first mentioned in 803 as a fief of the Counts Aldobrandeschi, in a document recording the assignment of the church of St. George to Ildebrando degli Aldobrandeschi, whose successors were counts of the Grossetana Mark until the end of the 12th century.

Grosseto is enchanting, in part, due to the fact that the city is surrounded by ancient Medicean Walls.

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The walls embrace this beautiful city and no vehicles are allowed!  Peaceful, quiet and simply divine!

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  Grosseto has a long and turbulent history.  In 1137 the city was besieged by German troops, led by duke Henry X of Bavaria, sent by the emperor Lothair III to reinstate his authority over the Aldobrandeschi.

In the following year the bishopric of Roselle was transferred to Grosseto.

In 1151 the citizens swore loyalty to the Siena, and in 1222 the Aldobrandeschi gave the Grossetani the right to have their own podestà, together with three councilors and consuls.

In 1244 the city was reconquered by the Sienese, and its powers, together with all the Aldobrandeschi’s imperial privileges, were transferred to Siena by order of the imperial vicar.

Thereafter Grosseto shared the fortunes of Siena. It became an important stronghold, and the fortress (rocca), the walls and bastions can still be seen today.

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In 1266 and in 1355, Grosseto tried in vain to win freedom from the overlordship of Siena. While Guelph and Ghibelline parties struggled for control of that city, Umberto and Aldobrandino Aldobrandeschi tried to regain Grossetto for their family. The Sienese armies were however victorious, and in 1259 they named a podestà from their city. But Grosseto gained its freedom and in the following year and fought alongside the Florentine forces in the Battle of Montaperti.

Over the next 80 years Grosseto was again occupied, ravaged, excommunicated by Pope Clement IV, freed in a republic led by Maria Scozia Tolomei, besieged by emperor Louis IV and by the antipope Nicholas V in 1328, until it finally submitted to its more powerful neighbour, Siena.

The pestilence of 1348 struck Grosseto hard and by 1369 its population had been reduced to some hundred families. Its territory, moreover, was frequently ravaged, notably in 1447 by Alfons V of Sicily and in 1455 by Jacopo Piccinino.

Sienese rule ended in 1559, when Charles V handed over the whole duchy to Cosimo I de Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany.

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Later you will see that we had the privilege of dining in an ancient Medici building that was an amazing experience.

In 1574 the construction of the Medicean Walls was begun and we are so glad they survived and protect this beautiful city today.

We knew that our visit to Grosseto would include staying at the marvelous Grand Hotel Bastiani

grosetto4We had stayed here once before and fell in love with the old world charm and elegance of the hotel

It is located just inside the ancient Medicean Walls and on the Piazza Gioberti, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Grosseto…

grosetto6I do not usually gush on about hotels; however, this one is on the top of the list of our favorites…

A beautiful staircase….

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europe2 161Our suite was so very luxurious and comfortable…

europe2 163…..and nothing……….nothing beats an Italian Breakfast……..nothing….

europe2 160Okay, enough gushing…………..onto the city….

The Romanesque cathedral, the main monument of the city, is named for its patron St. Lawrence, and was begun at the end of the 13th century, by architect Sozzo Rustichini of Siena.

It was erected over the earlier church of Santa Maria Assunta, it was only finished in the 15th century (mainly due to the continuing struggles against Siena).

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The façade of alternate layers of white and black marble is Romanesque in style, but is almost entirely the result of 16th century and 1816–1855 restorations: it retains decorative parts of the original buildings, including Evangelists’ symbols.

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The layout consists of a Latin cross, with transept and apse.

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The interior has a nave with two aisles, separated by cruciform pilasters. The main artworks are a wondrously carved baptismal font from 1470–1474 and the Madonna delle Grazie by Matteo di Giovanni (1470).

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The campanile (bell tower) was finished in 1402, and restored in 1911.

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The Church of San Francesco is located on the Omonym Square, it was built in the Middle Ages.

It was an important Benedictine convent, before moving to the Franciscans.

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At the center of the cloister stands the characteristic Pozzo della Bufala (Well of the Buffalo) in travertine; another well is located in the square outside the church.

Then there is the Church of San Pietro. the oldest religious building in Grosseto, it was built along the stretch of the Via Aurelia that crossed the center and was originally a plebeian and stational church along the old consular road.

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The beautiful Palazzo Aldobrandeschi whose origins are medieval.  It is now a Neo-Gothic edifice with ogival mullioned windows and merlons in the upper part of the walls.

It houses the seat of the province of Grosseto. The architect was Lorenzo Porciatti.

europe2 165The city is filled with marvelous shops and the people are all so relaxed and friendly……………

…..I do believe it is the absence of vehicles!

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europe2 173As we venture about town we stumble upon an ancient structure whose upper portions have collapsed over the years…

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The Ristorante Locanda de Medici de Peccianti…WOW……….we must eat here!

europe2 176We find the entrance into the ancient Medici cellars that now house this fantastic restaurant…

We learn that these ancient cellars were used as bomb shelters during World War II…..

europe2 168We venture into a world of culinary delight….

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Leonardo, the Chef – Owner waits on us!  The pasta is hand made………no machines….

grosetto13The Cheeses are aromatic and delightful…

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grosetto14What a delightful and enchanting visit we have had here in Grosseto…….now it is off to bed to dream of the rest of the journey ahead….

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……….until next time ciao!

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Syracuse – Sicily

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Syracuse  is a historic city in Sicily, the capital of the province of Syracuse.

The city is notable for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres, architecture, and as the birthplace of the preeminent mathematician and engineer Archimedes.

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This 2,700-year-old city played a key role in ancient times,

when it was one of the major powers of the Mediterranean world.

Syracuse is located in the southeast corner of the island of Sicily, right by the Gulf of Syracuse next to the Ionian Sea.

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The city was founded by Ancient Greek Corinthians and Teneans and became a very powerful city-state.

Syracuse was allied with Sparta and Corinth, exerting influence over the entire Magna Graecia area of which it was the most important city.

Once described by Cicero as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, it later became part of the Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire.

Our trek to Malta took us to this enchanted city for only a brief time…

on our way we passed by Mount Etna,  the tallest active volcano on the European continent, 10,922 feet high.

It is the highest mountain in Italy south of the Alps.

Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity, which was quite amazing to watch…

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We had met a lovely couple in Messina, who suggested a stop in Syracusa to visit the Piazza Duomo

We stayed in the Hotel Roma which is actually part of the Temple of Athena, now the Syracuse Cathedral….

We arrived at night and the city was magical……with all sorts of promises for daybreak….

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We stayed in the Hotel Roma…….which was once part of the Temple of Athena..

in one section of the hotel you could look though the glass floor and gaze upon the Altar of Atena….quite literally walking on history!

Our room had a marvelous balcony with views of the Piazza Duomo …

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In the morning we dashed off around the corner to see what treasures were hidden at the back of the hotel…

There it was the Temple of Athena, now the Syracusa Cathedral…..

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The charm of this construction of a modern place of worship upon a much more  ancient one is heightened by the fact that some of the columns “trapped” within  the walls have been tilted and twisted by earthquakes that the cathedral has endured  during its history.

In these deformities one can see “frozen” in time the awesome  force of nature that shook Syracuse in its ancient history.

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The temple of Athena in Doric style was erected in the fifth century BC the tyrant Gelo after the victory against the Carthaginians in the Battle of Imera.

The Athenaion had six columns in front, with 14 columns along the sides. Part of the temple is currently visible on the left side of the cathedral…

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In the seventh century the temple was converted into a church by the bishop of the city Zos.

The church, of Byzantine style, was dedicated to the Nativity of Mary.

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The floor dates from the fifteenth century and in 1518 the nave was covered with the wooden ceiling still preserved.

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In the sixteenth century was also erected the bell tower. In 1728 the façade was reconstructed.

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We found being in this structure that survived so many years and served so many people in different capacities so very interesting…

Now off to the markets……..

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The city is brimming with beauty….

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We come upon the Fountain of Diana……

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……so this Siracusa, known to English speakers as Syracuse, was a wonder to behold…..

One of the great ancient capitals of Western civilization, founded in 734 BC by Greek colonists from Corinth which soon grew to rival, and even surpass, Athens in splendor and power.

This magical place became the largest, wealthiest city-state in the West and a bulwark of Greek civilization.

Rulers such as Dionysius filled the courts with Greeks of the highest cultural stature—among them the playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides, and the philosopher Plato

We are left, sitting on the Piazza Duomo, sipping our cappuccino, preparing for the next leg of our journey……

…..suddenly the air if filled with beautiful music…..and there he is…

a young boy sitting on the steps of the Temple of Athena with his accordion….

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……….like a dream, I say…………..like a dream…….

ciao

Avignon – France

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Avignon  is located in southeastern France bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is a place I have dreamed of visiting since I was around ten years old.

When we checked into the hotel and opened the window, we were greeting with an amazing view of the Palais des Papes

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Often referred to as the “City of Popes” because of the presence of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423 during the Catholic schism.

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Avignon is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.

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In addition, its historic center, the palace of the popes,

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 and the bridge of Avignon………..

……… Pont d’Avignon  Only four of the eighteen piles are left; on one of them stands the small Romanesque chapel of Saint-Bénézet.are well-preserved.

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But the bridge is best known for the famous French song Sur le pont d’Avignon.

In 1309 the city, still part of the Kingdom of Arles, was chosen by Pope Clement V as his residence, and from 9 March 1309 until 13 January 1377 was the seat of the Papacy instead of Rome.

The Palais des Papes is an amazing building….

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By choosing to “move” the Vatican to Avignon Clement caused a schism in the Catholic Church.

At the time, the city and the surrounding Comtat Venaissin were ruled by the kings of Sicily of the house of Anjou.

The French King Philip the Fair, who had inherited from his father all the rights of Alphonse de Poitiers (the last Count of Toulouse), made them over to Charles II, King of Naples and Count of Provence (1290).

Nonetheless, Philip was a shrewd ruler. Inasmuch as the eastern banks of the Rhone marked the edge of his kingdom,

when the river flooded up into the city of Avignon, Philip taxed the city since during periods of flood, the city technically lay within his domain…..interesting tax laws!

Here the flood levels were recorded ….

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The Popes who resided in the Palais des Papes were

Clement V: 1305–1314

John XXII: 1316–1334

Benedict XII: 1334–1342

Clement VI: 1342–1352

Innocent VI: 1352–1362

Urban V: 1362–1370

Gregory XI: 1370–1378

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This period from 1309–1377 – the Avignon Papacy – was also called the Babylonian Captivity of exile, in reference to the Israelites‘ enslavement in biblical times.

The inside of the Palais is eerie and haunting…

europe2 799It feels strange to walk these empty rooms and hallways….

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….and of course there is the garden of the Rocher des Doms…

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Now time for some lunch at 46 Bistro……….escargot …….of course…

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…then a walk about town……to the place to be…………the Place de l’Horloge..

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….looks like these two have been sitting around here for a while…

…amazing Carrousel…La Belle Epoque…

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We visited the most wonderful Musee Lapidaire, CLICK HERE to read about that visit…..

……………..we encountered wonderful architecture, as we strolled about….

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….of course the cafes attract our attention….

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….and we decide to have dinner at lou Mistrau….beautiful outdoor dining with wind shields….good because it is quite nippy….

we begin with………….you guessed it escargot…..the best we have ever eaten…

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….followed by my very favorite dish on the planet…..Cassoulet……

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….then perhaps some beef and potatoes….

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……ahhh but let us not forget dessert and cappuccino ….

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walking about we encounter these wonderful ladies dressed in vintage clothing….

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It has been a most wonderful visit, filled with discovery, wonderment, lavender, culinary delights…..

…..but we must move on….

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Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul – Valletta, Malta

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On a recent European tour, we spent eight glorious days in the beautiful country of Malta.  It was an amazing journey and we found the Maltese people and culture to be so very wonderful.  In anticipation of a glorious time, we booked an apartment in the oldest part of Valletta, here is the view from our windows……yes,  stunning 180 degree panoramic sea-views of Marsamxett Harbor and Manoel Island, all the way out to the open Mediterranean sea!!!

Perfect for a leisurely dinner with beautiful Maltese wine….

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While searching for places to stay, I found this photo and decided I had found the perfect place!!

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The Tin Man has many stories to tell about the travels in Malta; however, let’s begin with the Church of the Ship Wreck of Saint Paul…..

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It all started with a shipwreck, as told in the book of Acts, about 60 AD while the apostle Paul was en route to Rome.

Boarding an Alexandrian grain freighter on the isle of Crete, a fierce Nor’easter blew the ship off course.

The tiny ship was tossed, it looked like all was lost.

(you should now be hearing the theme from Gilligan’s Island in your head)

The Books of Acts describes the scene as such:

“On the fourteenth night, they were still being driven across the Adriatic sea when the sailors sensed land approaching.   They took soundings and found that the land was 120 feet deep.   A short time later they took soundings again and found that it was 90 feet deep.   Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, the sailors dropped four anchors from the stern, and prayed for daylight,”

When daylight came, they did not recognize the land.   But they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could.   Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea,”

The anchors were discovered by Ray Ciancio in the 1960’s and are on display at the National Maritime Museum

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A Shipwreck’s Impact

With the storm still raging, the ship struck a sandbar, and began to break apart. With the vessel and her cargo a total loss, the nearly 300 men on board swam for their lives.   Miraculously, everyone survived.

Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta,” the story reveals.

And so began a Christian influence in Malta that has continued down through the centuries.   Today, it is the most religious nation in Europe — 98 percent of its citizens are members of the Catholic Church.

Saint Paul is memorialized throughout the island, no where more than in Saint Paul’s bay,   today tourists come to the Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul to see relics of the Saint who was cast ashore on this marvelous island nation….

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While we had planned to visit this church during our stay in Valletta, on this particular day we were in search of Piadina Caffe, the number 2 rated restaurant in Valletta…

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This wonderful Café is owned and operated by a wonderful woman named, Giada….

There are only 3 chairs inside the tiny place and guests are invited to stand or sit on the sidewalk outside

Here is the interior of the entire place…..

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Delightful and Fresh Creations

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We had such a delightful time and returned every chance we had to this very bohemian culinary paradise.

Click HERE to read my review…….

To our delight, we sat on the sidewalk and there directly in front of us was the entrance to the

Church of the Shipwreck of Saint Paul!!

When we finished our delightful luncheon we stepped across the street to explore the church…..

The church hosts fine artistic works, including the magnificent altarpiece by Matteo Perez d’Aleccio

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The Collegiate Parish Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, also known as simply the Church of St Paul’s Shipwreck, is a Roman Catholic parish church and is one of Valletta’s oldest churches.

 St Paul is considered to be the spiritual father of the Maltese.   His shipwreck is popularly considered as the greatest event in the nation’s history.   For this reason, St Paul’s Collegiate Church is one of the most important in Malta.

The church is incredibly large compared to its humble entrance across from the café.  The inside is packed with all sorts of marvelous art and sculpture.

Here is part of the column on which the saint was beheaded in Rome; you see, he lost his appeal to Caesar and was executed, but his Roman citizenship spared him crucifixion, granting him a more humane beheading instead.

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The choir and dome of Lorenzo Gafà, the paintings by Attilio Palombi, and Giuseppe Calì

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The wooden statue of Paul the Apostle was carved in 1657 by Melchiorre Cafà, the brother of Lorenzo Gafa  who remodeled the church in 1680

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 The statue is paraded through the streets of Valletta on the feast day of St Paul’s Shipwreck, February 10

 One can also view the treasured relic of the right wrist-bone of St Paul……..

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What a delightful time we had wandering these ancient streets……..now it was time to go back to our marvelous apartment, after a few stops at the local markets to buy ingredients for dinner……….oh yes, and more wine!

(http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g190328-d2365752-or3-Valletta_Seafront-Valletta_Island_of_Malta.html#REVIEWS)

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 It was a day rich in history and discovery…..just the beginnings of an adventure that would lead us into the bowels of the earth to a Neolithic city over 5,00 years old

we sat and watched the sun set over our beautiful Malta and wondered what tomorrow would bring…..

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Dinner at Ardigna – Salemi, Sicily

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During a recent trip to Sicily, my hosts decided to take me off to an adventure for dinner.  We drove for a couple of hours up these winding, tiny roads………….full of pot holes and parts of the road unpaved.  I was wondering what sort of culinary temple would be nestled up in this dense Sicilian forest and who in their right mind would EVER take the time, not to mention the risk of traveling to this outpost!  It was late at night, around 10 P.M…………remember the Italians love to dine late.   When the headlights shone off the edge of the road and there was nothing but darkness below,

I was reminded of my ride to the rainforest to visit my Aztec friends and wondered why I was alway being put at the edge of the abyss in my life!

After what seemed to be an all night excursion we rounded a corner and entered a parking lot FULL of vehicles!!!  There were others out there who would take this venture……..feeling more confident now!

We found ourselves at an ancient hunting lodge, in the middle of the Sicilian forest on a mountain top! 

The Ardigna was not always open to the public and for years was the private lodge for those who would hunt in these forests.

The interior was so very warm and inviting, the rustic charm so well blended with most incredible smells coming from the kitchen and the smiles of the staff……..


the meal began with a simple knotted bread, with the taste of pretzels and beautiful olive oil……

…oh a light dinner……..I thought…..

…………..and then it began……the virtual tsunami of antipasto………the first a tray of such incredible delights..quail eggs, some obscure meat on a skewer, grilled eggplant, prosciutto, delightful fresh tomatoes, fried mozzarella, olives and several items that were not of my known culinary universe……however they were delightful….

a stew of fresh lamb………..served in ancient copper pots…

………fava beans……….minus the hockey mask……..

…beautiful fresh cheese…

and we are so very, very lucky to have arrived during artichoke season and are rewarded with the most succulent, delightful artichokes……..

then……….oh might I swoon………..gnocci with saffron and pistachio……

followed by more pasta with fresh lamb………

and just when you think you cannot eat another mosel……….comes the platter full of meats that were hunted that day……
venison…….donkey……quail…….goat…..wild boar…..and more………

a most enchanting evening………oh did I mention the wine…….I consumed liters of it……most fantastic!!!

The Flag of Sicily

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After my recent trip to Sicily, many viewers have asked about the Flag of Sicily, so I thought I might provide a few interesting tidbits of information……..

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Flag of the Sicilian Region Italiano: Bandiera della Regione Siciliana Sicilianu: Bannera dâ Riggiuni Siciliana Deutsch: Flagge der Sizilianischen Region (oder der Autonomen Region Sizilien) Français : Drapeau de la Région Sicilienne Español: Bandera de la Región Siciliana Português: Bandeira da Região Siciliana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The flag of Sicily was first adopted in 1282, after the successful  revolt against Charles I of Sicily. 

It is characterized by the presence of the triskelion in its middle, the winged head of Medusa and three wheat ears.

Sicilian Triskelion

Sicilian Triskelion (Photo credit: NatalieMaynor)

The three bent legs allegedly represent the three points of the triangular shape of the island of Sicily itself.

The present design became the official public flag of the Autonomous Region of Sicily on January 4, 2000, after the passing of an apposite law which advocates its use on public buildings, schools, city halls, and all the other places in which Sicily is represented.

The flag is bisected diagonally into regions colored red and yellow, red representing the municipality of Palermo, yellow representing Corleone, which in medieval times was an agricultural city of renown. Palermo and Corleone were the first two cities to found a confederation against the Capetian House of Angevin rule.

The flag looks somewhat similar to the flag of the Isle of Man,

especially for the use of the triskelion in both of these; today, the triskelion (or ”trisceli”) is also widely considered the actual symbol of Sicily. The symbol is also known as the ”trinacria”, which is also an ancient name of Sicily. The name was also revived and used during the Aragonese period of the Kingdom of Sicily immediately after the Sicilian Vespers (1282) which ended Angevin rule. 

During the period of Muslim rule under Emirate of Sicily.   Sicily used a pure green flag, similar to the former national Flag of Libya, Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1977–2011) under Muammar Gaddafi.

The national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya. Th...

The national flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya. This is a duplication of File:Flag of Libya.svg by Zscout370, anticipating that because of the ongoing civil war, the filename “Flag of Libya” will not be unambiguous in the near future. An unambiguous description of this flag is that it is the flag of the Libyan Jamahiriya introduced in 1977. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coat of arms of Sicily

Coat of arms of Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Flag of the Kingdom of Sicily (1243 to 1410) I...

Flag of the Kingdom of Sicily (1243 to 1410) Italiano: Bandiera del Regno di Sicilia (1243 – 1410) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the flag of the Sicilian Independence ...

This is the flag of the Sicilian Independence Movement of the 1940s and was used by Salvatore Giuliano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pasta Making – Mazara del Vallo – Sicily

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During the second World War, Vito Gallo made a bet with a companion-in-arms that if  he could make a safe return home to Mazasra del Vallo, Sicily, he would set up a large pasta factory where he would produce one of the best Italian pastas.  He was convinced, in fact, that the values of peace, friendship and family could also be enjoyed around a table. 

Since then the Pastificio Gallo has been producing pasta that appeals to everyone’s taste, thanks to its taste, savour and smell.   This is pasta that makes you experience the yellowing Sicilian cornfields, the burning sun and the beautiful sea breeze.

The recipe comes from Vito Gallo’s sons Natale and Calogero who are personally engaged in the selection of the best hard wheat bran of Sicily, as well as the daily monitoring of the various production stages.

Vito Gallo has succeeded in winning this ancient bet with his marvelous pasta and I had the grand privilege of touring his amazing factory and watching the pasta in action.

From the tons of and selected flour that arrives around the clock to the flour silos…

the pasta is made into large sheets that continually pour from the machines towards the bronze dies that will cut the most amazing shapes……..

out come all the marvelous pastas on their way to the drying bins…..

the drying bins turn the pasta and dry it at a very low temperature………the pasta spends from six to twelve hours in the drying bins………

the out comes the most fragrant, beautiful pasta……..

treated like gold by the Gallo sons…….

then it is off to the packaging portion of the process…..

the robots stack and wrap the packages of pasta……


and then it is off to all parts of the world…………

but this is my favorite part of the entire process………

Mangiare Con Gusto!

Flag of the Sicilian Region Italiano: Bandiera...

Flag of the Sicilian Region Italiano: Bandiera della Regione Siciliana Sicilianu: Bannera dâ Riggiuni Siciliana Deutsch: Flagge der Sizilianischen Region (oder der Autonomen Region Sizilien) Français : Drapeau de la Région Sicilienne Español: Bandera de la Región Siciliana Polski: Flaga Regionu Sycylia Português: Bandeira da Região Siciliana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mozia – The Whitaker Museum – Dinner at Fior di Sale

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Mozia is a small island, formerly known as ”Motia” and ”San Pantaleo” in the Trapani province, in Sicily and lies in the Stagnone Lagoon, and is generally included as a part of Marsala.

Mozia at its Peak

Modern Day Mozia

Just 400,000 square meters in size, the history Mozia is very ancient: as a shipping centre and staging post, and due to its presence near the coast of important trade city, it was one of the most important Phoenician and Carthaginian settlements in the Mediterranean Sea area. The Phoenicians transformed the inhospitable island, which they called ”Motya”, into one of the most affluent cities of its time, naturally defended by the lagoon as well as high defensive walls. Ancient windmills and salt pans were used for evaporation, salt grinding and refinement, and to maintain the condition of the lagoon and island itself. Recently the mills and salt pans (called the ”Ettore Infersa”) have been restored by the owners and opened to the public.

In the 6th century BC, due to the struggles between ancient Greece and Carthage over Sicily, Motia sided with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians against the Greeks. The ancient settlement at Motia, founded in the 8th century BC, was destroyed by the Syracuse tyrant Dionysius the Elder in 379 BC.

During the Middle Ages, Basilican monks settled on the island and renamed it San Pantaleo, and in 1888 was rediscovered by Joseph Whitaker (ornithologist).
Today, the island of Mozia is owned and operated by the Whitaker Foundation (Palermo), famous for Marsala wines. 

The Whitaker Museum contains a virtual plethora of artifacts gathered from the island……..

The grounds were not only beautiful, they were cluttered with magnificent artifacts…….

After an amazing day exploring the island it was time to catch the last boat back to Sicily…..

…..and then off to Fior di Sale (Flower of Salt) for a marvelous dinner…..at sunset….

The chef awaits us with some wonderful artistic delights……..

another evening of culinary delights………..

……and the final moments of this marvelous day……….