Category Archives: Sicily
Under the Tuscan Sun
I have seen this movie more times than I care to admit. It is one of my favorite movies and I live vicariously through Diane Lane every time I watch the movie. Maybe it’s because I can relate with her movie character. A woman who divorces her cheating husband, travels to Italy, falls in love with an abandoned villa, and decides to buy it. Her life undergoes its own restoration as she restores her new home.
How many others have wanted to follow her footsteps? Find that place where one goes to heal, the place that restores your soul. A villa in Italy sounds like the perfect place for this life change.
I have been back from Italy for a few weeks and the urge to follow in Diane Lane’s character is even stronger. Would you believe that I’m on a tour bus in Italy and as we pass this villa, I get the urge to jump up and yell “STOP – I’m supposed to get off the bus here and purchase this place.” It’s true, it really happened !
I’m sitting by my daughter on the bus and she is the one sitting next to the window with the camera in her hand. I remember spotting this villa and telling her to get a picture of it. Well, that sounds a little calm doesn’t it? It was more like “get a picture, get a picture, get a picture, that’s my house !” Simultaneously, I’m thinking I should tell the driver to “stop” “this is my Under the Tuscan Sun house.”
Realistically, I know I have to come back home and go to work. I don’t have the money to buy a villa in Italy so I think I will print this picture, frame it, and hang in on my wall. I will look at it and think about my travels through Italy. I will close my eyes and pretend that I did get off that bus. That I purchased the villa, that I’m renovating it, and that I’m enjoying wonderful Italian food in my dining room with my new friends. I will dream that my friends from the US come to visit me all of the time, that my daughter stays with me for months (sorry DJ) as we practice our Italian and that the rest of my life is filled with laughter and joy in my new villa in Italy.
Like most ports we visited in Italy, Palermo, Sicily was beautiful. We arrived on March 10 which was my daughters 25th birthday. She is so lucky, who wouldn’t love spending their birthday in Italy?
We began our excursion with a drive through Palermo. Palermo is Sicily’s cultural, economic, and touristic capital. It is a city rich in history, culture, art and food. Many tourists are attracted to the city for its good Mediterranean weather, its renowned restaurants, and its Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque churches, palaces, and buildings, and its nightlife and music.
The Cathedral-Basilica of Cefalù, is a Roman Catholic church in Cefalu, Sicily, Italy. The Duomo dates back to the Norman era and contains some of the best preserved mosaics in all of Sicily.The building of the cathedral was begun by Roger II, the first king of Sicily, in 1131. He commissioned the artists to make the mosaics which it is so famous for and it is believed that his plan was for the entire nave to be covered in mosaics, similar to his Cappella Palatina in Palermo. However, Roger II died before the work was finished and the cathedral wasn’t completed until later.
If I win the lottery, I have decided I want to retire in Cefalu, Sicily. As soon as I heard of this small fishing village, I knew I wanted to see it. It’s a city and commune in the Province of Palermo, located on the northern coast of Sicily, Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It had the beautiful quaintness of other villages I visited but it wasn’t as steep or hilly. After a week of trekking up and down steep hills, this little fishing village was heaven. It had all of the charm of the other villages I visited such as Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast but I could walk over the entire historic city and not feel like I just completed a marathon.
Cefalù is built on the top of a huge rocky outcrop, which rises straight up from the sea and dominates the coastline. As you approach by road, the sight of Cefalu, with its magnificent cathedral overhanging the sea, takes your breath away.
Most people hear tornado sirens and run for cover, I hear them and grab my camera as I make a mad dash for the door. My heart starts pounding as I search the horizon for a whirling mass. With camera in hand, I watch and wait only to be disappointed time after time.
This strange fascination I have to capture a tornado has been going on for over twenty years. Another item on my bucket list has been to travel to Italy and hopefully my ancestral home of Guardavalle, Italy. I didn’t make it to Guardavalle, but I did’t manage to get close and I also managed to capture a picture of this tornado while traveling in Sicily.
I remember traveling down the highway with a tour group and the guide looks over and says “a tornado, it must be raining somewhere” and that was it. No one seemed concerned that a tornado was so close. I know it looks small and far away in the pictures but it was much larger and closer than it looks.
The pictures don’t show how huge this thing was but I have to admit, it was a little scary though I think my excitement of taking photographs of it far outweighed the scare. I remember turning to my daughter with a big grin on my face, in the middle of my frantic picture taking, and saying “I can’t believe I’m in Italy and I’m photographing a tornado.” It was one of the highlights of my vacation!