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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Greetings From Gallodoro, Sicily

Thanks to a generous friend of Demetrio’s (Thank you Ilario, Lorenza, Alex and Family), we were able to stay in a newly renovated apartment in the town of Gallodoro, not far from Taormina. (Taormina is one of the top tourist sties in Sicily.) Gallodoro literally means “golden rooster”. I haven’t seen much evidence of chickens never mind roosters and no one has told me of some past history of gold mining in this area; so I don’t know how the town got its name.

The hills around Gallodoro are very dry and dotted with singed grass, thorny brush and various types of wildlife. (One evening we even saw a small porcupine.) Many of the hills are terraced; one can find ancient olive trees, grape vines, figs, prickly pear cactus, and almost countless varieties of fruits and vegetables being grown by the locals. Sadly many of the terraces have also been abandoned, the stately olive trees remain but are being slowly overwhelmed by time. The locals make goat’s milk ricotta fresh in the spring and goat droppings are something you have to look out for while exploring the terrain. At the top of one of these hills is a popular site for wind/para surfers. They climb to the top of the hill with all their gear and jump off the edge to the blue-green paradise below. (Someone in town told me that a Rockefeller offered a blank check for one of the beaches at the base of these hills, that is a nature reserve, but the check was refused.) Most of the adventurers land on the beach in the town of Letojanni below, right on target. Looking down towards town below from the hill was beautiful and surreal enough; I could not imagine doing so with my feet not firmly planted on solid ground.

At night the town holds various events such as outdoor movies which are projected onto the church wall. Last night there was a special musical performance by the students of an institute for handicapped individuals. In town there is a bakery, bar, tabaccaia, and general store. Perhaps the most significant structure in town is the church whose bells automatically sound every 15 minutes around the clock. I was bothered by the clanging the first night but after that, the ringing fell onto deaf ears after that evening. 8:15 a.m. is indicated by eight loud clangs and one little tinker. Every 15 minutes a little tinker, lets you know 15 minutes have passed. With life moving so slowly in this quaint town, you end up welcoming the reminder.

**An interesting note: Three of Gallodoro’s residents were extras/actors in the film The Godfather I, which was not filmed on site in the village of Corleone but in a village not far from Gallodoro called Savoca.

The piazza in the center of town on a moonlit night.

The church and its bells that remind you every 15 minutes that time does not stand still even in vacation.

The town of Gallodoro.

Giordano overlooking the bay below.

I love the blue-green of the water along the coast.

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At 1:00 PM, Blogger Tina said...

That looks absolutely gorgeous!

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

great photos! i would love to make it to that area sometime. the porcupine sounds very cool! Antonello has a porcupine collection (little porcupine figurines, not real porcupines). we recently saw a live hedgehog, but never a porcupine.


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