Agrigento to Scilla

The roads we have driven on in Sicily vary dramatically. We started out today on back roads that were in very poor condition.

Guard rail where the road used to be

We ended as we were leaving Sicily on excellent four lane highways.

Autostrada with Mt Etna in the background.

We left Sicily by ferry.

Ferry from Sicily to Calabria

Tonight we are staying in the picturesque little town of Scilla. It is on the Calabrian side of the Straights of Messina directly across from the extreme eastern tip of Sicily.

After checking into our hotel we visited Castle Ruffo on the strategic tip of the headland

Ruffo castle
Duke and Marion at Ruffo Castle

Then we had gelato next to the beach.

Gelato break
Ruffo Castle from Scilla beach

Our hotel is 310 feet above the beach. They have an elevator from the town center down to the beach. We walked down to the beach but took the elevator back up.

For dinner we hiked down to the beach again and ate at a lovely restaurant out over the water with the waves crashing around us.

Dinner in Scilla
Stuffed anchovies
Mixed seafood grill
Puffed pastry with figs.

After dinner we again took the elevator up to the town center and then walked to our hotel.

From west of Agrigento to north of Agrigento

This morning we had breakfast at our Agriturismo then went for a walk in the vineyards.

Breakfast
Walking near our Agriturismo

Today was a bit of a rest day. We only went about forty miles. Tonight we are at Agriturismo Tenuta San Giovanni Casale Leto, it is a lovely place on the top of a hill with a 360 degree view.

Brian and Jo Ann in the pool

On our way here today we thought we might find a laundromat and do our laundry. We found what might be one on Google and followed Google’s driving directions. This is where we ended up

It’s a car wash!

As we were driving through this town we followed the garbage collector for a while. It was interesting that people hang their trash from their balcony on a hook and the garbage man takes it and tosses it in the truck

Garbage collection

This afternoon we rested and played cards by the pool.

We ate dinner at our Agriturismo. It was a great dinner. We ate outside, started with antipasto, then had casarecca pasta with mozzarella and pesto then had pork and mozzarella rolls with fresh green beans. Then we ended with fresh melon.

Antipasto
Pasta

Pergusa to Palermo

It was a big day today as we headed to Palermo. First we had a lovely breakfast at Villa Pastorelli.

Breakfast at Villa Pastorelli

Our first stop of the day was at Villa Romana Del Casale. It is a large Roman Villa with extensive mosaics dating from the early 4th century AD.

An elephant being loaded on to a ship
Women athletes Competing
Fisherman

According to Wikipedia the mosaics are so well preserved because the site was covered by a flood and landslide in the twelfth century. The Villa is enormous. It covers 3500 square meters.

From Casale we drove to the capital of Sicily, Palermo. Palermo is the fourth biggest city in Italy. Driving to our hotel in the middle of Palermo was a challenge but we made it!

After a brief rest we walked to the opera house across from our hotel and took a tour. The opera house is the third biggest in the world after Paris and Vienna. Parts of Godfather III were filmed there.

The Palermo Opera House
Inside the Palermo Opera house

Next we stopped for a mid afternoon snack.

A snack

After our rest we walked to the Palermo Cathedral.

Palermo Cathedral

We had a great dinner just around the corner from our hotel.

Duke’s fish
My pesto pasta with pistachios and shrimp

Ficarra to Pergusa

We ate breakfast outside on the terrace of Villa Genevra before starting our exploring for today.

Breakfast at Villa Genevra

After breakfast we drove south and a bit west over the top of Sicily. There are excellent main roads around the outside of the island but we chose to drive the back roads through the center of the island.

Back roads of Sicily

We finally saw some cattle for Brian to study and identify. This one has a massive cow bell.

Cow with cow bell

We also saw a lot of wild blackberries. They were very tasty.

Blackberries
Wild blackberries

As we came over the top of the mountains we had some great views of Mt Etna spewing steam.

Mount Etna

Not far from our destination for tonight we just happen upon a Canadian War Cemetery.

Canadian War Cemetery
One of the 490 graves in the cemetery

Tonight we are staying at Villa Pastorelli in Pergusa. Armando and his dog Chromo greeted us. Armando offered us tea, coffee or beer. We opted for beer and sat and talked before he showed us around. Chromo played fetch with us using a pine cone.

Playing cards at Villa Pastorelli

Before dinner we went into the little town of Pergusa and parked near the lake to take a walk. Pergusa Lake is the only natural lake in Sicily. Until we got there we didn’t realize that a motorcycle and car racing track goes around the lake.

Enna-Pergusa Race Track
Pergusa Lake

For dinner we ate at a nearby restaurant, Ristorante Di Carlo. People eat quite late in Italy. By the time we left at about 9 it was very busy, and they don’t close until 3am! We ate outside as we have done for about half our meals in Italy. I’m pretty sure we were the only tourists in the restaurant.

Bruschetta to share
Duke’s seafood mix
My fish
My tiramisu

Naples to the Amalfi Coast

Before I start talking about today I want to mention one thing I forgot to mention yesterday. Museums in Italy are not air conditioned. Both the Vatican Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Naples were not air conditioned. I know that’s a small sample size but that’s my conclusion so far.

This morning we checked out of our hotel and walked to the train station where we picked up our rental car.

Our rental car – a Fiat 500 X

We made our way out of Naples and drove to Sorento, the beginning of the Amalfi Coast. In Sorento we parked and walked out to an overlook to enjoy a the view.

Sorento

From Sorento we drove down the narrow winding road along the Amalfi Coast.

We are staying about 2000 feet above the Mediterranean. It’s called Villa Paradise Resort. The small B and B really is an idyllic spot. We played cards on the deck outside our room.

I guess some of you may be wondering…. Duke has won every game so far! He’s very lucky!

The view from Brian and Jo Ann’s room.
Playing cards on our deck

For dinner we walked to a nearby restaurant, La Selva.

La Selva Restaurante

We had by far the best meal we have had so far. Duke and I started with fresh anchovies, parsley and olive oil.

Fresh anchovies in olive oil

They brought Jo Ann gluten free crackers and olives.

Duke and I each had sea breen which is like sea bass. It was moist and very tasty.

Sea Breen

After dinner we walked back up to our hotel. Look at the view from the terrace! By the way, the weather was lovely today. It was raining and warm when we left Naples, but on the Amalfi Coast the temperature is about 80 and there is a cool breeze. Perfect!

The Amalfi Coast