Trapani is an invisible town

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Every day I wake up, brush my teeth and sit in front of pc, answer emails and give away hours and hours of my life surfing on internet, all morning and all afternoon but it’s above all for job, I swear. Today, during my usual nautical activity and while I was trying to follow something called diet (because surfing make me hungry every time ) I bumped into an article about itineraries to do in the west side of Sicily. The diet was proceeding well, till the moment I read ” Trapani isn’t a particularly attractive town” and BUM , the blogger went ahead leaving me with the broken heart.

And an unexpected disappointment (my real reaction was “heyyyyyAndHowDoYouDare,EvilBlogger?!?!?!?!?!“, sorry)

Actually, when I lived in Palermo and my adult life started, I snubbed my hometown too. When tourists said “ But Trapani is so nice, I didn’t imagine, there’s nothing about on guide books“, “Well, there’s no ​accounting for ​taste“, I said to myself.

But now I begin to like this town, I don’t know why, maybe because I met Giovanni or because by now I live here. I hope it isn’t because of the old age. It’s hard to see really the place where you always live, so taking a break for a long time is good to revalue it. And 11 years more in the brain and the heart too. Palermo is hard, you either hate it or you love it, there are no half measures. You have to take all of it, the culture and the crumbling buildings, the theatre and the shouting people. It’s a “passionate” city, I love it because it’s beautiful, dirty and lively, no good for who have a delicate stomach.

Once Giovanni told me about a guest who took the bus to Palermo. He arrived, looked around, frightened himself and returned on the bus to go to Trapani! :’D

Trapani has a softer sicilian character, not less genuine but rather less traumatic, poised between the torpidity of small islands and the colorful roar of big cities in Southern Italy.


It’s a bright town, the sea sparkles and the buildings in the old town give back tens of yellows and off whites and you feel like sunbathing as a lizard. The domes covered by emerald majolicas…
A quite and bright town, but not drowsy.

You go out and see people greet with a smile, old people and storekeepers meet every day but every day find something to say in the middle of road because the traffic and its noises are far.

You can cycle around the old town, from Villa Margherita up to the sea, under the warm sun, tinkling when you meet an acquaintance, without the fear of dying at the crossroads. I love ringing the bike bell, it resounds in the quite of the street, DRIIIIIINNNN (Ok, I’m feeling a little bit stupid 😀 )

Go under the Mura di Tramontana (old northern city walls) and find the sea (and if they removed the seaweeds from the beach you can bathe, but usually they clean the beach in June)

Go to Torre di Ligny (Ligny Tower) and find the sea and overlooking behind the tower is exciting in every season. There are only sea and rocks and a thrill runs down your spine, not only because of dizziness.

Go to the port (and find the sea 😀 ) and your mind runs among all those brighting spots between the sun and the water. In winter it’s cold, you cover the nose with scarf, against the biting wind and watch the seagulls during their immobility exercises in flight. They are strange. They stay there, fixed, suspended on the bursting water, balancing between the winds, neither too high nor too low.

If you pass through Porta Botteghelle you could notice an old table with stripped paint and three chairs. For Heaven’s sake! Don’t touch them, nobody do it. In Sicily you understand if a chair is abandoned or just put aside to use them the next day. It’s almost certain that those chairs have an owner and if you see them, you can sit but you can’t break, move or throw away them.

The handicraft, traditional or reinvented, rediscovered or never forgotten by faithful keepers become artists by now. The red coral, the fishermen nets, the silver and the majolicas, the sweets and the embroideries.

A small town, where you can find the unexpected you don’t expect

For the rest Trapani is always a sicilian town so the markets are always colorful and noisy, with sellers who shout compliments trying to attract some vain girls. If you don’t find a parking spot you can create it. The results could be artistic works, the traffic policemen take a picture before giving a ticket.
Old men set up living rooms in small spaces next their houses or shops to chat with the old friends or the neighbours.
But these things are normal in Sicily, luckily.

I think I’m not even so good at writing and explaining this place but every time I walk along the port and look the swinging boats, I feel a “bright quite” inside of me (do you know the italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti? He said that the real love is a bright quite), maybe because I consider this place as one of many pieces of that puzzle called Love. Giovanni gave me this puzzle.

“You love a city not for its seven or seventy-seven wonders, but because it has an answer to your special question”

And Italo Calvino was right.

Right, that’s enough hearts and flowers, one month ago I wrote a long city walk on Trapani, but I didn’t know where to start because I thought that Trapani was culturally UNINTERESTING. I feel ashamed of this but I made up for lost time. I researched and researched, among scores of bites with the same 4 words and bare (and often wrong) information. The devastation of copy and paste.

I discovered that Trapani is really a nice and small town. As a typical sicilian town, it is a little bit medieval, very baroque and with a pinch of Liberty, scattered where you don’t expect it…


…it has a History but we don’t know it because that church is where my cousin got married or I went to that high school, those buildings and churches have been ever present.

I like the history of this town and you can discover it in a long city walk of one or two days but I’ll write it in the next post 🙂

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in B&B Belveliero in front of Trapani port, you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com;
If you prefer to sleep at Boutique B&B Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops with us, write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Condividi:

Annunci

About “arrustuta” e secret gardens

Easter Monday at Valderice

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

Every post begins with the usual introduction dictated by my guilt: I haven’t time, please forgive me 😥 Pictures increase every day that goes by and they terrorise me. I’m slow like a sloth and I push back the moment to sort them continually. Why do I take so many pictures? Why? Anyway it’s spring and, above all, it’s time of spring cleaning and I began to organize my files 😦 and I found these pictures that, strangely, are only two weeks old, I took them on Easter Monday.
Easter Monday isn’t only the day after Easter in Sicily, or the day during which all museums are open. it’s the first day of a series of “arrustute“. Organizing an arrustuta is simple: buy much sausage (and NOT many sausages. We sicilians buy one very long sausage and roast it or “a tocchi“, to pieces, or complete and twisted. Yes, you can do it), buy much bacon, sometimes lamb meat, artichokes, much bread and charcoal slack (and the necessary to make the embers too, please), meet your friends at 10 a.m. and go to a generous friend’s field to roast all and eat until late in the day. I told about this sicilian event in another post and I’ll share it when I’ll find the pictures…>_>

Anyway this year we spent a troubled Easter, Giovanni was busy with cooking class, our friends were occupied to carry “Misteri” during Good Friday, the girlfriends were busy to support the bearers positioned under Misteri (Misteri are ancient wooden sculptures which represent Jesus Pain and are exhibit in a famous parade in Trapani old town between Good Friday and saturday. They weight many hundreds of kilos and girlfriends are important to accompany the experience with pictures and support the men with an adoring suffering look…mmm) and nobody organized arrustuta, no shopping, no money raising, no land…no big meal??? NOOOOOOOO, IMPOSSIBLE!!!

We hadn’t a mind to give up the meat meal and we did an absurd thing. We gatecrushed to another barbecue party (is it correct???? Help me!) O_O , I came back to high school. But we didn’t want to do it, it was a coincidence. Our friend Natale (Yeah, “Christmas” the translation is correct 😀 ) has a sister, Marzia, and Marzia was invited by her friend to an arrustuta. She knew only that girl and we knew NOBODY 😀 but it wasn’t important, we just needed a grill for meal, a table and a bathroom with water 😀 . We raised money, two saints went to buy food at supermarket and we went in search of this place. It was at Valederice!

Valderice is just 8 Km far from Trapani. It’s only a village and once its name was Paparedda, little duck in sicilian dialect 😀 I don’t know the reason. This village is among hills but its territory includes a long coast and receives many stressed people from the “big town” Trapani in summer. (stressed? in Trapani? are you sure?).

Arrived to Paparedda we began to search the house. It was hidden , beyond a gate at the end of a long tiny street. This is the house we found.

Old villa at Valderice , Trapani - Sicilyù

O_O but who are Marzia’s friend’s friends??? Gatecrushers asked themselves…fortunately they weren’t owners of this villa but of another next one. Second explanation are starting…-3, -2, -1 are you ready?
Valderice is famous for numerous “bagli” (“baglio” is an ancient residence extends around a courtyard and includes rooms, stables, cellars and larders. It was the house for big families, with many generations. The owners of bagli were often well-to-do peasants and these residences were surronded by their lands). Valderice is famous for noble villas too. We were in front of (but only in front of) one of these villas, that is on the top of a hill with Cornino Bay and Monte Cofano view.
“Our” barbecue was at a near villa but in the same plot. Sustaining a such villa and its big garden (see the pictures below) is too expensive and probably owners sold the plot in bits, for this reason there is that horrid grey building back the wonderful amazing dream villa and other houses. Fortunately they kept a part of garden and the spectacular terrace with Cornino Bay view _ and The Poetess and I had to walk and look around it 🙂 …and took pictures of this place, of course, there are Monte Cofano, the yellow jasmine and a mawkish stone girl back wisteria, we couldn’t resist temptation.
Apropos, unfortunately no villa at valderice is open to the public but some bagli yes, you can visit them. At valderice, in the hill area, there is a nice pine forest, where you can harvest wild cyclamens, and the Teatro San Barnaba (it’s also a cinema), open only in summer because it’s open-air, it’s an ex- tuff cave and performances are magic under the stars in August 🙂


Garden of old villa at Valderice
Monte Cofano view from an old villa at Valderice

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something,you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com

Tourist Cards in Sicily: the whole truth (+ list of all sicilian tourist cards)

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

[WARNINGS: THIS POST IS VERY LONG. In the beginning I chat like an old dumb but the useful part is further down]

Yes, I’m here…late. The original version of this post (in Italian) was written in February but I hadn’t time to complete the translation, all sorts of things are happened in the last month.

February was very cold in Sicily this year and we waited the snow on the coast again (fortunately not as in New York). In fact it was rather probable. This winter is totally strange and crazy, it’s snowing under the sea too. Usually it’s not so cold in Sicily, it doesn’t snow near the sea here, maybe the Apocalypse is coming…
During those cold days I thank to stay at my sweet home and do a big research for you. When I began to write this blog, I promised to give you also useful information for your holidays in Sicily, but I’ve got lost chasing the butterflies, as usual.

I noticed that the tourism season is coming (snow in June permitting) and remembered that a very popular question from who wants to come to Sicily is “Are there Tourist Cards in Sicily?”, the pass that allows to travel on the bus free or buy a disconted ticket for a museum.

Mmm, the services for tourists in Sicily are very inadequate because sicilians think that the attractions of the island are enough for tourists and they come in any case here. In this setting sicilians are often indolent and disorganized and all tourists notice that the island is beautiful but services are pathetic or non existent.

Attention, please! Appeal to IDontKnowWho, we want more Tourist Cards because the Tourist Cards are #VeryBello.

Who has more facilitations, wants to do more things durin the holidays because he/she has more money, can discover more (unless the rats in Palermo, I hope), spend more money. The feedback is simple, giving motivation. If you are a 20 years old tourist or a father with three sons or an university student, it could be hard visiting one, two or more museums. But if the ticket is discounted I could spend my time without excessive privations. We are late with services in Sicily, basic services too. Maybe these things are usual for other Europeans but they are extra-ordinary for us. The discount logic is never losing in my opinion. I make an example. There is a shop in Via Roma 178, in Palermo, tiny and busy of things, its name is Miele (Honey. They trade “metal and gothic stuff” (sorry, but my knoledge ends here). This shop is full of stuff, full of rings, full of sculptures, full of clothes but there isn’t the space to damage anything. And back the counter of stinking new truck tires a figure appeares, like a ghost, a little old man with white hair and a simple azure shirt, he’s the owner. The salesgirl is invisible among the exposed merchandise, too dark, too piercings, too laces but the owner stands out seraphic among the skulls. Some years ago I decided to buy the Christmas gifts fon my brothers in this shop, because is the most equipped one in the Western Sicily. I don’t remember the exact conversation but at a certain point I congratulated with the old man for his shop and said that I went purposely from Trapani, it was true. He looked up to me and said “Where do you come from, Miss?“, “From Trapani“, “And how much is the ticket for the bus from Trapani?“. It was about 8 euros, “Therefore I reduce the check of 8 euros, to repay your dedication” (my check was less than 30 euros). I still tell this episode and not because the shop is well equipped. Do IDontKnowWho understand?

[End of appeal]

I know you couldn’t care less about this economy tale, but I think that, sometimes, it’s sad renouncing to something that we would like to do because the money aren’t enough. I like to see works of art which I usually view in the books little like stamps, and I like to talk about them, for many times, to many different people. In this way you have high topics and win a package of “Aunt, you know everything!” and self-esteem from your niece 😀 . Anyway I think that other people have the pleasure to discover new things and all (could) have the pleasure to see happy and satisfied tourists 🙂
Beautiful things start beauty circuits, give ideas, light creativity and…and…I had to talk about the Tourist Cards in Sicily and I’m roaming like an old dumb! @_@

I FINISHED 😛

After this very very long introdution I can say that some Tourists Cards exist in Sicily (Hurrah!, Hurrah!) but their research is hard. Somebody gets a move on and many cards are very recent. I found these cards but I could modify the post sometimes, to add or change some information. I’ve written the general information considering the questions which I could ask to understand if the card is suitable for me and there are all links.

WESTERN SICILY

    – Trapani Area

      1.Trapani Welcome Card
      This Card lets you have discounts for services and visits in sites of naturalist interest in the areas of Trapani, Erice and Aegadi Islands.

        GENERAL INFORMATION
        A. What it looks like? It’s a book of coupons
        B. Concerned AreaTrapani town, erice, Marsala, Salt Pans, Aegadi Islands.
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for 3 days starting from the date written on it.
        D. How much does it cost?If you buy it in the indicated points of sales, it costs 12 euro, whereas it’s 11,50 euro if you buy it HERE with Paypal. There aren’t time limits between the moment of purchase and that one of reclaim, you have to indicate the point of sale where you want to pick up the card. You have to exhibit the printed voucher and an identity document.
        E. Discount size From free entry up to 50% discount. You recover soon the expense for card, considering that a ticket with return for Erice cable car costs 9 euro for non-residents.
        F. How many people is it valid for? One card for one person.
        G. What is it valid for? Examples: all travels by bus are free and one ticket with return for cable car to go to Erice too. There are discounts for excursions to Egadi Islands or the entry for little thematic museums. The detailed list is HERE ( in the drop-down menu)
        H. Where can I buy it? In the points of sales indicated HERE or online HERE
        I. Is there the App? Yes 🙂

      2. Pantelleria Tourist Card
      It’s Pantelleria Tourist Card. It’s the sicilian Cards which offers the smallest discounts but it’s better than nothing, Pantelleria isn’t a cheap isle.

        GENERAL INFORMATION
        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The Card
        • A Pantelleria Tourist Guide with tips about what to do, itineraries, the best beaches and other sights. There are road indications too.
        • A detailed Map of Pantelleria
        B. Concerned Area Pantelleria Island
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for all duration of holiday. They write the expiry date back.
        D. How much does it cost? 10 euro
        E. Discount size From one free drink up to 20% discount for several purchases.
        F. How many people is it valid for? One card for all
        G. What is it valid for? Some restaurants and dress and typical products shops but there are also boating tours and free tickets for some pubs and bars. HERE the complete list
        H. Where can I buy it?
        • At the Policardo car rental desk in the Pantelleria Airport
        • At Policardo rental car in Via Messina 31 (in the village center)
        • At “Consorzio Turistico Pantelleria Island”, Piazza Messina 18 (in the village center)
        I. Is there the App? Yes, it’s detailed, easy and free. You can download it HERE

    – Palermo Area

      3. PMO
      It’s the Tourist Card of Palermo City

        GENERAL INFORMATION
        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The PMO Tourist Card (you can use it to benefit of discounts for visits in cultural sites, the exhibits, shows and purchases)
        • The City Map of Palermo It indicates to you all the museums, churches and cultural sites (look the list at Nota Bene in the description “Palermo City Guide” and at the point 3G), There are also 4 different walking itineraries in the old town and all the bus lines to be found
        Bus Ticket thanks to which any Amat city public bus will drive you “merrily” around the city
        Palermo City Guide. It includes the descriptions of 4 itineraries and the locations of cards selling point . There are also suggestions about private and public transportation and you can find all addresses and opening and closing time of all the museums and shops in town. (Nota Bene 1: you’ll receive also an additional update list of cultural sites and shops where you can have the discounts. They are less than those ones indicated in the printed map. They can’t throw away the old maps, paper costs much and we don’t understand the concept of recycling! Nota bene 2 Among benefits you can receive medical care by phone or outpatient medical aid in an agreed clinic. Good to know)
        Vouchers They can be used for free eating and drinking at bars and restaurants where you can taste typical Sicilian specialities. (But I prefer the nameless little kiosks but well known by citizens 😉 )
        B. Concerned Area Palermo Old Town (Do you really think it’s not remarkable? Therefore I say that it’s one of biggest in Europe)
        C. How many days is it valid for? There are cards valid for 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours
        D. How much does it cost? From €13 to €75 if you buy it at Palermo. If you buy it online, you can save from €2 to €5 ( Look HERE)
        E. Discount size From free up to 50% discount
        F. How many people is it valid for? There are cards valid for one person or two people
        G. What is it valid for? Churches, Museums, Theatres (Teatro Massimo and Opera dei Pupi (Sicilian Puppets Opera) included), Public Transport (Bus AMAT and the City-sightseeing Tour) and Private Transport (taxi, rental car and bike, Ape Tours and even a Theatre-Bus with a live concert show on the road), Medical Assistance, some tours and purchases in typical shops and pubs. The complee list HERE
        H. Where can I buy it? You can buy it at Centro Informazione Turistica (Tourism Info Point – corner between Via Maqueda and Piazza Bellini) and other points of sale, they are all HERE with addresses, opening hours and phone numbers. If you click on the pictures find a detailed info box.
        You can buy it online HERE by credit cards or your PayPal account and you’ll recive a voucher valid for 60 days, within which you must exhibit the voucher and an identity document to reclaim the card in one of the points of sale indicated. So don’t buy the card online 5 months before, because they won’t give back the money! Moeover if you change idea about your card you can revoke the purchase online within 14 working days if you want your money back.
        I. Is there the App? Yes, HERE

      4. Musei Palermo Card

      It’s an unique ticket to access 4 museums and 2 exhibition centers in Palermo. It lasts a long time so if you stay in Palermo for many days or live here, if you come often to Palermo or if you are a group of people with different interests or you like the shopping at museum bookshops this is the Card for you.
      I don’t know why they don’t create a page in english so use Google Translate from the italian page 🙂

        GENERAL INFORMATION
        A. What it looks like? It’s a red card.
        B. Concerned Area Palermo city
        C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for one year starting the date of emission in the first museum.
        D. How much does it cost? 13 € if you buy it at the museum ticket office, €14,50 online.
        E. How many people is it valid for? One entrance for every museum, but the card is not personal.
        F. What is it valid for? One free entrance for following museums: Galleria d’arte Moderna “Empedocle Restivo” (the Modern Art Gallery), il Museo internazionale delle marionette Antonio Pasqualino (the International Museum of puppets. Only for the museum, the shows are excluded) , Palazzo Branciforte, Ecomuseo del mare (Ecomuseum of the Sea), the exhibitions at Palazzo Ziino and at Cantieri Culturali della Zisa (ZAC).
        Cooking class organized by Gambero Rosso, an important italian multimedia editorial group which is involved in all about food and wine.
        A 10% discount for the puchases at museum bookshops and cafés.

          NB 1. the Modern Art Gallery (GAM) is one of sicilian museums of the italian event “Domenica al Museo” (look at the point number 9 at the end of this post)
          2. The tickets for some of these museums are discounted with the PMO Tourist Card (look the preceding point). So consider the best card for your need.
          3. Before the purchase check if you can have other discounts for your age/nationality/job

        G. Where can I buy it? At the museum ticket offices or online HERE
        H. Do I have to book it before? No
        I. Is there the App? NO.

    5. Carnet for “Le Vie dei Tesori”
    “Le Vie dei Tesori” (Treasures Ways) is a wonderful festival born in 2006 thanks to a Palermo University initiative. It’s proposed every autumn, in October, and lasts one month by now, 4 weekends to be exact. Nowadays there are other institutions/partners, as Diocese, the municipality, the Federico I Foundation and the port authority. During the Festival many places and buildings, closed for much of the year, are open to the public, so unknown to most palermitan citizens too. NB Actually, over the years, they included other places in the list, that you can visit on other days of the year, to attract more people. The best thing of Festival is that the Treasures/Places are disclosed and experienced with guided urban walk tour (the guides are volunteers of Palermo university), in Italian and English language, with exhibits, concerts and shows. For the time being it’s only an autumn initiative (October) but the Festival is increased in these years and its duration will extend in the future. Here the link of Festival (you can read it with Google Translate)

    NB In the last few years other Treasures, outside Palermo, are added to the list. They are in isolated areas of Palermo and Trapani territories (but very far from the towns!).

    Below I describe the discounts with the Carnet of Coupons to visit many different “Treasures”

    TIPS
    1 – The guided urban walks are very valued but with a limited number of subscriptions so book it long time before the fixed date.
    2 If you want to visit a particular place, check if it’s open only for this event before. If you can visit that places in other days of the year probably it isn’t advantageous choose these days to see it because the row is very very long, above all during the last weekend. You save few euro but waste your time. To drain the row, often, they don’t open all floors in the villas but just one. So if you want to do a complete tour choose the other days. Sometimes they create surreal situations, for example to visit the Chiesa dello Spasimo. The visit is free for the rest of the year but during the Festival you have to waste a ticket.

      GENERAL INFORMATION
      A. What it looks like? The Carnet of coupons is just a QR code. You can buy it online and they send the code to your email address. Print the code (or bring the smartphone) to avoid to pay the full price ticket at the site. The price for each coupon decreases if you buy more coupons. If you want to visit many places buy the Carnet and not the single ticket each time.
      B. Concerned Area Palermo City and some places outside Palermo and Trapani. Someones are very far from these towns.
      C. How many days is it valid for? The calendar of Festival was 5 weekends in October, last year. Obviously each event has a different duration. The urban walks last from 40 minutes to half an hour, for example.
      D. How much does it cost? The cost is variable. A type of carnet costs € 10 for 10 tickets to visit as much indicated places (there were more than 60 treasures last year); another one costs € 5 for 4 visits and then you can buy just one coupon for one visit spending € 2 . Each urban walk is € 3 whereas the events are free or cost from € 1 to € 6.
      E. How many people is it valid for? One coupon is valid for one person so if you are a group, divide a carnet! 🙂
      F. What is it valid for? The calendar is full of dates and it changes every year. Last year you could visit crypts, libraries and palaces, the Museum of Sicilian Puppets and the wings of Teatro Massimo and Teatro
      Biondo, various naturalistic museums, the catacombs and the Miqveh (Jewish Bath). HERE and HERE the complete lists of places and walks (Only in Italian), they are so beautiful that it turns heads 🙂
      G. Where can I buy it? You can buy all ONLINE, they will send a QR code to your email address. Don’t forget to show the code, printed or on smartphone! If you are more people and want to visit different place you can buy a carnet. Anyway you can buy it at the site but only to visit the places, you need a booking for walks.
      H. Do I have to book it before? The booking is NECESSARYfor the walks, there is a toll free number and an email (The website describes the last Festival so I wait for the new edition to write them in a revised version) to do it. The booking for the events is ADVISED if they don’t write different instructions or if the number of partecipants isn’t enough and you are in those parts you can ask for partecipating. The booking for visits ISN’T NECESSARY.
      NB You can’t book the day before but you have to do within the Wednesday preceding the concerned weekend. I suggest to book some weeks before for walks, to not find sold out.
      I. Is there the App? NO.

EASTERN SICILY

    – Catania Area

      6. Catania Pass
      It’s the Tourist Card of Catania City

        GENERAL INFORMATION
        A. What it looks like?
        You’ll receive:
        • The Pass
        • A Ticket for Transport With this unique ticket you can use all the urban routes managed by AMT, the Alibus fast line
        (Airport-Center) and Ferrovia Circumetnea Metro line.
        • A Bilingual City Map with useful information about Catania and the museums.
        B. Concerned Area Catania City
        C. How many days is it valid for? There are Cards valid for 1 day, 3 days or 5 days
        D. How much does it cost? From €12,50 to €38
        E. Discount size For the time being all sites indicated (see the dots at point G) have FREE ENTRY, except the special exhibitions. In that case you have however the right to a discounted rate. For other places (for example shops and restaurants) there is from 10% up to 50% discount.
        F. How many people is it valid for? There are two types of Card, Standard just for one person or Family, designed for a family of two adults with one or two children under 13 years.
        G. What is it valid for?
        • Castello Ursino
        • Museo Belliniano
        • Museo Emilio Greco
        • Museo Diocesano
        • Terme Achilliane
        You cand find more activities and shops HERE scroll down, there is Discounts and Agreements. There are tours but I’ve found also an antique bookshop and a download mp3 audio-tour of Catania city center (Click on GUIDES)
        H. Where can I buy it?
        • Catania Tourist Info point at Vincenzo Bellini Airport
        • Catania Tourism Bureau (Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 172)
        • All Museums included in this program
        • AMT Subscriptions Office
        • AMT authorized retailers joining the initiative which expose Catania Pass logo
        I. Is there the App? No

DIFFERENT PLACES IN SICILY

    7. Onsicilycard
    It’s a Card that allows to have discounts and to access to a digital tourist guide. The Card is constantly updated both the partecipants list and prices of tickets and opening times. It’s a card/guide in English and Dutch language.

      GENERAL INFORMATION
      A. What it looks like? It’s a Card (but there is the digital version) that allows to have discounts and to download an up-to-date file for navigator to find all partecipating places indicated. Moreover you can find many information about Sicily.
      B. Concerned Area Many different places in Sicily
      C. How many days is it valid for? It’s valid for a whole year.
      D. How much does it cost? It’s free for children younger than 12 years, €5 for children from 12 to 18 years and €10 per adult. If you buy it online there is a 25% discount. You can buy one card and add all people of your group/family.
      E. How many people is it valid for? All people added on the card.
      F. What is it valid for? There are discounts for B&B, restaurants, workshops, activities, shops and others. All partecipants are HERE, just select the category interests you.
      G. Where can I buy it? You can order it online HERE and they’ll mail it, so it’s better if you place the order at least 10 days before your departure. Anyway there is the option “I’m already in Sicily” with a list of places where you can buy the card

    8. Sicily Card App
    It’s a newborn App for various places in Sicily but on the website there are few information so far. When they’ll advertise more information I’ll write them here 😉

      GENERAL INFORMATION

      A. What it looks like? It’s an App
      B. Concerned Area Many places in Sicily
      C. How many days is it valid for? There are versions valid 24 hours, 3 days and one week.
      D. How much does it cost? They’ll advertise the prices to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      E. Discount size They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April. maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      F. How many people is it valid for? They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)
      G. What is it valid for? They’ll advertise it to the end of March (maybe the first days of April maybe first days of June Last post on Facebook, 15th June 4th February: Work in Progress >_>)

I’ve found other tourist cards but discounts are minimal so I decided to not write them here.

9. Extra Tip

There is a wonderful initiative in Italy, #DomenicaalMuseo, every first sunday of month there is FREE ENTRY in all national museums (not for private ones). You find the complete list of interested museums in Sicily HERE

Finally I’ve finished this post 😛

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com;
If you prefer to sleep at Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Cloudy salt pans. Story of two lovers who haven’t time to go to beach…fortunately there is Calcara salt pan!

Trapani salt pans with Erice view

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

If you have a relashionship with a man who works with tourists in a seaside resort, summer doesn’t exist! There aren’t holidays to melt yourself in the beach, your brain doesn’t evaporate while you read Cosmopolitan and there aren’t embarrassing situations in front of kids in beach….but the wrinkles by suntan are a problem only for your friends 3:D

In summer my relashioship with Giovanni becomes a sequence of (very) little romantic escapes, like in a clandestine love story the instant is fundamental, Latins said “Carpe diem“, the tiny “diem” in which the world forgets Giovanni’s mobile number, two fast little hours, during which people are with beautician, at tennis training or at beach with a friend and you, poor lover, very busy girl of which a fleeting thought slips into the realization of her impossible summer love, get that all desired phone call “I’m free until 19.00!“.

HURRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH finally we go to beach!!!!

Finally we can behave like a normal boyfriend and a normal girlfriend among unknown tan experts who don’t want anything for this summer because their cabana has been reserved ten months ago and their oily shaved eyebrows snub your worm skin.

I take out the swimsuit from mothballs, spread three litres of sun cream (kids protection), introduce the beach towel in the backpack, after a search of two hours because it was lost in a forgotten place, like a stupid I think “Hurraaaahhh we are going to the beach, finally we are going to the beach, hurrah! We won’t look like cadavers, hurrah, will I remember how to do it?

HURRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH

It’s in this moment that my boyfriend goes into a coma and recovers energies lost in the first terrible week of August and hours pass.

Dang! And the sea??????

Every adult knows that when kids are disappointed you MUST REMEDY, there’s no excuse. So we decide to run to Calcara salt pans in one hour and half.

Ok!

Also because the lights after 5 p.m. change and among water, salt, flamingos and sparkle it’s a very romantic little escape. So let’s go fast, direction Nubia up to Calcara salt pan gate. Once you can enter, now no longer, but Marruggio is our friend and so we can do it (it’s not indifference, it’s male confidence in the friendship 😀 )

And indeed when we’re surprised they say to go back, the entrance is forbidden, WWF ordered it. Optimistic guy goes back by car and I take some pictures easy and without ringing mobiles near. Only pools and water. Silence.

Calcara salt pans

Calcara Salt Pans View
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Silence Sparkle Soil Sun

Calcara salt pan in Sicily

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Silence
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Trapani salt pans
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But silence becomes to make a noise. The water isn’t all fixed in the pools, there is a little salty river from the sea, where there are those few strange plants, green blots among salt and red soil desert. The water flowing is so soft that you can hear it barely but under the small waves the river is alive and something, maybe a fish, scares you with its sudden spurt, but you can see just the circles. It’ s the place or the moment or both in which you think nothing.

You just see.

You see and listen.

And enjoy it without thinking.

You feel it

Boat in Trapani salt pans

Insect in salt pans

Now birds let their voice be heard, desert is their and their calls are different, strange, they’re similar to a dialog, a tit for tat, not all toghether, maybe because here the Nature is free to express itself. During the breaks of this dialog I hear almost ant steps. Again, I want Nature once again, I want peace just one more time. It’s the time to walk along the thin walleds between pools.

A little way full of unknown plants and water everywhere, by now I’m here and there’s no going back, so I continue the walk among clouds mirrored in the water and pick up shells under webs.

clouds mirrored in the water

plants in salt pan

unknowon plants in Trapani salt pans

clouds mirrored in the water of salt pan

Tuff and shells of salt pan

Here the human presence is far, there are some turists, in the usual big main way, that one seems authorized. I don’t know if I can walk along this wall, simply nobody says me no and for now I enjoy the light desert, where ever and anon I see an abandoned thing, a wheel barrow, the salt harvest is beginning but not today.

shells in salt pans

Trapani salt pans

cocoon on the plant

salt pans particular

In this moment my prince charming arrives and fortunately he doesn’t think “She’s totally fool” seeing me during this strange walking.

Toghether we jump from a wall to another, staying away, for this time, the familiar wind-mill, going around it to see it in a different way, watching the “ammucciati” (hidden) sides, up to a tiny beach, there is also a beach in the salt pan, low shores of martian soil, incrusted with salt and wetted by terrestrial water. The little black fishes swim near the shore without fear of you, you are big but don’t exist for them.

Trapani salt pans view

a beach in the salt pan

red soil encrusted with salt

shells in salt pans in Sicily

salt pans in Trapani with windmill

Trapani salt pan particular

In the end you arrive here, the desert changes, from hot red to “ice” white that burns, makes your skin like leather mirroring a thousand of suns and blind you but the oasis, near and far in the same time, doesn’t realize it and squads of flamingos lift orderly.

By now we are in the main way frequented by turists. One hour and half is past.

clouds in salt pan

my feet in salt pan bridge

prince charming at the salt pan

salt pans pools

salty desert

clouds mirrored in the salt pan pools

salt in the pool

salt pan pools

flowers in salt pan

Also in the salt pan there are flowers!!!!! 🙂

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com

The Mangiapane Cave (“EatBread Cave” :D ), Second part….where the goats say hi!

Grotta Mangiapane a Custonaci
I dont know why but I really do enjoy taking photos of plants :D

I dont know why but I really do enjoy taking photos of plants 😀

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

We left with the terrible Medlars that made fun of me for my photographic passion here… fortunatly they meet Mr Mangiapane and begin to talk with him. He is the old keeper and lives in one of the houses of the village.
He’s relative of the last owners of the cave (yes, there is someone in this world that had a cave 😛 ).

Here one house is still inhabited :)

Here one house is still inhabited 🙂

Giovanni likes old people’s stories and loves this place because when he was a kid, he played here and his grandma’s family lived in the village. Then he and Mr Mangiapane meet again and toghether with Signor Carlino decide to remember the past drinking a glass of red wine (Signor Carlino NEVER says No! so look out for your offers to him! 😀 ). While they are in a authentic ancient kitchen , me and the Poetess can discover this place.

Two inquiring Medlars (+ a well)

Two inquiring Medlars (+ a well)

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secrets....

secrets….

You can't see them but there are chickens here (peacock is a favored animal)

You can’t see them but there are chickens here (peacock is a favored animal)

The cave seems a giant’s house and the little houses his toys, maybe Polifemo is arriving, we hear also a pealing in the distance, two goats are climbing down the mountain to return to their little cabin in the village. Where can you see the goats climbing down today? Here everything is colour and peace and I imagine the primitive men who went home every evening and benefit the panoramic view on Cornino Bay during the sunset. Today the sea is grey because it’s March but before long it will be only shining and the sunset pure rainbow. Considering that tomorrow is monday, I envy Mr Mangiapane. He can forget everybody and everything but maybe others forgot him. Here. When you are in isolated places you can abstract from your routine and forget things to do, duties, responsabilities and you wouldn’t go back, three hours are few but I would forget for a little while yet and stay here, in peace. Egoism (but maybe only it’s only tiredness for daily pressure) and hypocrisy blab for me. Living like primitive men, forgetting home, family, university, staying with goats….also if I can live without a bathroom, running water and electricity for indeterminate period I doubt that I could stay far from everything for long time…..maybe because we want to forget something or somebody for a little while but we don’t want to be forgotten by others. Tiredness, Hypocrisy….I want to forget also you and enjoy the beauty of this place, a quite and wonderful place, with a new air and relaxing green because this short trip is ending and there will be neither tiredness nor hypocrisy but only the peace of this place and tomorrow will be another day

Polifemo's House

Polifemo’s House

No bats (for the time being)

No bats (for the time being)

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Polifemo's ricotta cheese

Polifemo’s ricotta cheese

The mountains are reddish-brown with white injuries, they seem Polifemo’s giant baked ricotta cheese! (yes, food is my perversion, I see it everywhere ) . During our walk me and the Poetess approach to the smithy and find many abandoned rusty things. By now it’s dark and we don’t understand what are but anyway I find a iron heart and I take it with ironic displeasure of the Poetess who will declare to all that I “stole her heart away!” 😀 …. Maybe I wouldn’t have to take it but it was thrown away and I liked the idea of finding a heart here because it was like this one year ago but that’s a different story…… 😉

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Wall's secrets....

Wall’s secrets….

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....and Mr Mangiapane's secrets! :)

….and Mr Mangiapane’s secrets! 🙂

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There aren't only happy goats here....

There aren’t only happy goats here….

I found again my heart :)

I found again my heart 🙂

Itinerary: You can reach the Cave
1) by car, from seafront Dante Alighieri go on Nord-Eastward, enter SP 20 (Trapani – Bonagia). At the rotary turn on the left, SP 18 (Via dei Marmi) for Custonaci up to Scurati
2) by bus (AST company)

Distance: 19 Km

Time: 30/40 min

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and have breakfast with me write to granveliero@gmail.com

The Mangiapane Cave (“EatBread Cave” :D ), First part

Carretto siciliano alla Grotta Mangiapane sicilian cart in Custonaci

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

(I drafted this post in March, so some weeks ago, but I publish it only now. I copy it as I wrote because it seems nice and….forgive me, unknown reader 😛 )

Giovanni and me are fond of the cave Mangiapane, so we decided to take a trip together with The Poetess and Signor Carlino, the other exuberant Nespula (Medlar)

As usual we start from our ‘general headquarter’ in the port (but I talked about also here) and drive through seafront on the way to Custonaci.
This drive is relaxing on Sunday afternoon and you can forget the end of weekend for a little while yet, also if you must do many and many and many things at home instead of driving among the lands >_> ….but this street is between the sea and the uncultivated fields, full of yellow flowers and green grass, and farther there are the mountains, sliced to extract the marble. Ever and anon we surpass little groups of houses and old people who, complicit the good season, exit and talk about the priest and the grandchildren , because yesterday the gossip wasn’t enough and by now there is the time for everything and Monday isn’t a working day. It’s so strange going through these lands during this hour on this day of the week.

The time dilates also if the break is finished and the atmosphere is so weak, but the air so fresh and lively that you can feel that there is time for everything (actually it’s an illusion. I hate you, Monday). During almost all the journey, we drive through a large street surrounded by the fields but, in the end, it becomes very tight, between small houses built nearer the mountain. I don’t know if this is the only way or it’s because my zito (boyfriend) has this passion for millimetric driving but here it’s wonderful! You can harvest the lemons directly from the trees only sticking the arm out the window or count the guys overcrowded in a car, four in front, five in back and three IN the trunk (also the young people have a passion for the ‘optimistic millimetrism’ ). And finally we arrive to Mangiapane cave.

Every time I came here there’s not somebody and then I could benefit the peace of this place.

This cave was the refuge for the primitive men and it was occupied until the ’50s! It’s true! Indeed there is the very little village of Scurati, empty but not abandoned because it’s the seat of a Living Museum of Arts and Crafts during many periods of the year, in particular Christmas. The village begins out but continues into the cave. The houses are closed but in some of them you can see another lost ancient world by a little window.

Village IN the cave

Village IN the cave

The village, the cave, Custonaci view....this place is magic...

The village, the cave, Custonaci view….this place is magic…

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A view to a lost world

A view to a lost world

Oven, Oregano and

Oven, Oregano and “agghia” (garlic) 🙂

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Mr scampering peacock

Mr scampering peacock

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Mrs Peacock

Mrs Peacock

Here there are peace and silence and you can find a peacock walking free or cocks prisoned in the cages. From the cave the view is particular, the lateral rocks seem removed awnings to let look Cornino Bay. This place is so wonderful and quiet that also the two Nespule become calm and respectful…for 50 seconds, then they start again to make fun of me for my photographic mania for the sea, the plants and the houses but maybe they aren’t afraid of forgetting things and changing memories…. 🙂

Cornino Bay.  Primitive men  saw this heaven...(without houses :P )

Cornino Bay. Primitive men saw this heaven…(without houses 😛 )

Here there are ‘zabbare‘ (agaves), purple bouganville, prickly pear cactus with yellow flowers, green medlars, scented white orange blossoms, peacocks and goat’s skulls, milk chocolate mountains, melons and pumpkins abandoned on the roof (it’s our custom, we leave them also in the balcony in summer and autumn, because they are very resistant fruits), dogs like Peter’s Nebbia (do you know Heidi anime?), Friends and Love, I want to take and remember them when this day will be finished.

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“Nature, Nature, I’m your bride. Take me!”

Itinerary: You can reach the Cave
1) by car, from seafront Dante Alighieri go on Nord-Eastward, enter SP 20 (Trapani – Bonagia). At the rotary turn on the left, SP 18 (Via dei Marmi) for Custonaci up to Scurati
2) by bus (AST company)

Distance: 19 Km

Time: 30/40 min

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and have breakfast with me write to granveliero@gmail.com