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SICILIAN INTERLUDE

Having spent so much time on so many trips to Sicily, I have been afforded the luxury of covering much of the island at a leisurely pace. Each area of the island—north to south, east to west, and in the middle—has something to offer for every taste: Greek temples, ancient Arab and Norman palaces, and entire towns still reflecting their medieval origins. 

Greek, Arab, French, and Spanish influences have dominated Sicily at one time or another, each having left a legacy of intriguing architecture and monuments, as well as a mark on the culture as a whole—and particularly the cuisine. The Sicilian Baroque, for instance, is a style all its own—fanciful, vigorous, curvaceous, sculptural—and it is especially evident in many of the places of worship on the island. On the exterior and interior of these structures, there is an abundance of detail; sculptures of angels set in relief on the façades and in niches abound. 

Travel outside the major cities and you will discover the ruins of ancient Greek temples, especially in Selinunte and Agrigento. The Temple of Segesta, in the northwest, holds summer concerts and even the occasional fashion show. Likewise, the town of Taormina has its ancient Greek amphitheater, situated high and imperiously upon a hill, from which there are views of smoking Mt. Etna and the glittering Ionian Sea. The amphitheater still fills its seats in summer with plays ancient and contemporary, as well as with musical concerts. 

 

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WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY PETER VITALE

 

This story appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of MILIEU