The hackneyed phrase “picture perfect” came to mind on our first day’s walk: a leisurely stroll with a spectacular view of the (probably unfinished) Greek temple at Segesta, introducing us to the inland landscape of western Sicily.
The next day we followed Francesco along the path that circumnavigates Monte Cofano. Views of the Mediterranean lured us on with promises of a swim and a picnic lunch.
Our hike up steep shady paths in the Madonie mountains provided evidence that wild boars had been rooting in the area and then gave us our first view of Mount Aetna, hazy in the distance.
Two new friends make for a blissful way to start a visit to an Agriturismo for lunch.
And the best way to end a locavore’s dream lunch? Learn to dance the tarantella, accompanied by Francesco’s musician friends.
Who knew that the “bikini girls” mosaic floor in the Roman Villa del Casale was only one sixtieth of the treasures unearthed? I was (mosaic) floored!!! Rhinos, elephants, ships, chariot races, hunts — wow!
Our hike in the vertigo-inducing Pantalica Gorge took us back to neolithic times. The limestone cliffs were dotted with hundreds of tombs cut into the rock walls of the gorge. They were explored in the 1920’s, and their contents moved to the museum in Siracusa. Bonus bragging rights: Many friends who had traveled extensively in Sicily had never heard of this area.
What better way to end a memorable trip than to witness an important moment in the lives of some Taormina natives? (And in the photo to capture the couples’ smiles and the airborne rice).
-Text and photos by WT adventurer Patricia Perry, Hiking in Sicily