A few weeks ago, Ben and I were sitting on the couch one Friday evening watching The Godfather. Truth be told, he was watching The Godfather while I had my computer on my lap, looking for terribly exciting things to pin, or some such nonsense. And I was also watching The Godfather. At least enough to see the scenes with Michael Corleone in Sicily, and, as is often the case when I see someplace pretty, I said, “Let’s go there”.
So we did.
We packed up our tiny, Ryan Air approved suitcases and headed to Sicily for an extra long weekend. We landed in Trapani, stood in the longest rental car line, found out they hadn’t bother to tell us we would need international driver’s licenses (which we don’t have), moved one counter over, rented from a different company that didn’t care what license we had, and headed out into the warm, Sicilian sunshine to find some gelato.
First stop, Cefalù.
Cefalù sits right in the middle of the northern coast of the island. A small town with tiny streets and alleys full of stores selling pretty things to tourists. I loved it. If you happen to wander those tiny streets, watch out for speeding motorbikes. Roads that small in the U.S. would have been turned purely pedestrian, but not so in Sicily. I think the rule is, if you can get something motorized down the street without getting it permanently wedged between buildings, it’s allowed. Driving rules and behaviors in Italy are, by far, the worst I’ve ever seen. No one looks when they pull out of a parking spot, red lights are routinely run without even bothering to slow down, “yield” means “go”. I feared for my life more than once and I often used my imaginary, passenger side brake.
Day two saw us driving the stretch of northern coast then heading south for a stop in Savoca. Now Savoca, while a nice Sicilian town, is very small with not a whole lot going on. I mean, very pretty views of the Med far, far below; a nice church; a restaurant or two. But there’s a reason people make the pilgrimage way up the hill to see it. Savoca was the stand in for the town of Corleone in The Godfather. The bar where Michael was sitting when he first asked about Apollonia is still there and looking exactly the same, along with the church where they later got married. Since it was the movie’s fault that we were in Sicily, it was only fitting that we make the trek, too.
Our visit to the altar of Francis Ford Coppola complete, it was time for more gelato. In Taormina.
Taormina is beautiful. And old. I’m talking, like, 800 B.C. old. And full of tourists. Jam packed full. We wandered the streets, tried to avoid being hit by speeding motorbikes again, took lots of pictures, then visited the ruins of the Greek theater. L has been studying the ancient Greeks for what seems like forever so she was very interested to see, rather than just read about, what those old folks built. Taormina’s theater is very well preserved. As well preserved as a set of ruins can be, I suppose. From the seats you can see not only the stage but the surrounding town and Mount Etna smoking away in the distance.
Beach time! Because every day needs a little beach time, don’t you think?
And that’s just the first day and a half. Stay tuned for more sunshine, more beaches, more gelato….