Finishing my trip in Calabria and Sicilia…
Our last days of vacation were in the town of Scicli. It was like Noto in that there were tourists as well as people actually working and going about there lives in this city. Noto had considerably more tourists, but Scicli had plenty to offer. There is a canal running through the town with all these little bridges. There are lots of piazzas, I’m actually not sure which was the “main” one. The first big one seemed to be setting up for a big out-door dinner while we were walking through. The second had tons of people just sitting outside enjoying the evening there. The convent, set atop a giant rocky mountaintop, sets the backdrop for the whole city.
Our B&B gave us a good dinner recommendation, Trattoria del Ponte. The food was great. We were right by the entrance to another room where a child’s birthday party was taking place, which made the night way more entertaining. When we finished dinner I was impressed how alive the city was. Other places we stayed at seemed dead at night (and sometimes during the day).
I think we got an incredibly authentic Sicilian experience here. We were staying at Casa di Pam, a B&B run by Pam and her brother. Just the year before they had moved to this bigger building to accommodate all their business. Though it appeared at the time we and a man also from Rome (though not originally) were the only guests (off season, after all). The other man was looking to buy something near here for retirement. I learned all of this over breakfast. The four of us: the man, Pam, Daniele, and I sat for maybe two hours talking over breakfast. Pam had lived in Rome for a little while, the San Lorenzo area, so we all had so much to talk about. I learned it is very popular for Italians to retire in Sicily where the price of living is significantly lower. I also learned that salaries in Italy are not scaled for region. So a person with the same job makes the same amount whether they live and work in the center of Rome or a tiny little town in Sicily. Which begs the question, why quality of life (and cost of living) have not caught up in these poorer areas. I think there is a large amount of unemployed residents in these areas. There is a political movement from Milan (where the cost of living is highest) to change this and scale salaries for cost of living, but it will probably fail, as so many people benefit from the system. Pam had interesting insight on the local economy. She said there is much more work now than there was years ago for the people who want it, but not everyone does.
That day we started the journey home. In true Daniele fashion, we needed to get one more visit to a beach first (it should be noted Rome has a beach on the same sea). We stopped at a beach near Sampieri. It was a beautiful day for the beach, like every day we had. It was hot and dry. Luckily I can always go into the water when I feel like I’m gong to faint from the heat. We didn’t stay too long because we had so much to drive still.
We stopped at Messina, where we get the ferry to Calabria, to get some pastries for Daniele’s parents (I got one last cannoli). We also picked up some pizza to go from the place we had arrancini on our way in. Daniele got me pizza alla norma, which was the traditional style pasta I had eaten several times on this trip. It’s made with eggplant, peppers, and tomatos covered with grated ricotta salata cheese on top. The pasta is served hot, but this pizza was served cold. It was delicious!
Daniele drove straight home all through the night so we got in at I-don’t-even-know-o-clock. It was how we came down too, but much further this time, since we added the rest of Calabria and a piece of Sicily.
The rest of the pictures from Scicli and everywhere else are in my Calabria and Sicilia album: