Sicilian scenes

October 29, 2014

en route valg


The first time I saw Sicily some 25 years ago, I thought, “Now I get why the San Francisco Bay area has always resonated for me.”  Because the island of Sicily so reminded me of the place I live.  Golden hills, mountains, ocean. Ag land.  Green belts. Heat and sun.  It’s very much the same, at least for me.

I love Sicily. I am hardwired for this island.  I hear the whispers of my ancestors around every corner and in every vista.  My Mazzola family was in the business of transporting goods by donkey and other animals. They knew the hills and paths above the coastline at Cefalu intimately and their ghosts must still wander, tapping me gently on the shoulder so I don’t miss anything important. My Cassará family were stonemasons. I feel their work in every footfall on every stone path.  They were simple people without a pretentious bone in their bodies, and I like to think I carry that DNA somewhere in me, too.

As our trip drew to a close I was ready to come home, but at the same time, sad to say goodbye to this beautiful place that speaks to me in ways no other place has.  My almost 800 photos–far fewer than I would have taken had I felt better–serve as reminder of that beautiful place, until my return. And I will return.  Join me in a final look at some of the sights in Sicily.

 pretty hill st valgA common sight in Sicily: hilly street made of stone, hanging laundry, satellite dish, mountain.

valg pretty courtydSimple but exquisite courtyards and piazze.

ratty door niceOld doors everywhere.

valgu pret bldgUnique little buildings and apartments.ancient bldg valgAncient edifices still in use. Or not.

doorway valgThe hangings in the doorway reminded me of the 1960s.

valg street niceSo many narrow streets.

citta on hillCities on every hill.

citta on hill3

Closer view of a citta (city).

cittaZooming in closer still.

arch gorgeousHidden away, holding secrets I couldn’t even imagine.

valg bldgs oldCar parked in front of old building. Old and new.

valg old bldgs2Don’t forget to look up.

castle distanceYou might see a castle on a hill.

keyhole in rockIn these old walls, an aperture for weapons, maybe?

oliv groveOlive groves.

loving couple mosaicA loving couple memorialized for–eternity?– in mosaic.

en route valguarneraUntil we meet again


38 comments on “Sicilian scenes
  1. PatU says:

    Yes, indeed!

  2. Karen says:

    Beautiful, Carol! I feel the same way about Scotland, where most of our ancestors were from. As soon as we arrived, I had a deep feeling of peace, and a sense that this was a place where I was fully at home.

  3. I loved seeing Sicily through your eyes. For the same reasons that you loved going I feel Ireland calling to me as it has for years. Everytime I think I am getting close to going something comes up. Someday it will be my time to fly and I can’t wait to go! Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  4. I’ve felt that feeling before: of visiting somewhere where my family has roots, and feeling the pull of what might have been the spirits of my ancestors. Did they see this? Did they walk these streets? Might this have been home to them?
    It’s a difficult to describe, eerily pleasant feeling.
    Your post makes me want to go back!
    And the first picture really DID remind me of the Bay Area.

  5. So very mad at myself for thinking we had no excursions on Sicily day. Thanks for sharing what you saw and possibly some of what we missed while we were having a spa day. xoxo

  6. Mary says:

    I have enjoyed reading and transporting myself to Sicily through your photos. It’s sad the writings of your Sicilian adventure have come to a close.

  7. Laura Kennedy says:

    So beautiful, Carol! And yes, it does look like here! My parents’ closest friends were Sicilian (Navarra) and one of them built the house I grew up in (where my brother now lives). It has a red tile roof and there is a courtyard with a fountain– and a small olive grove behind the house.

    I have a similar feeling about London and the Kentish countryside…where our ancestral home is. I’ll never forget the feeling of homecoming the first time I saw the English countryside from the plane. Magic.

  8. Meg Root says:

    Only 800 photos? Fortunately you took all the best shots! Gorgeous. I love to walk and Sicily looks perfect for walking. Maybe I’ll get there someday.

  9. penpen says:

    It is strange and comforting the pull we feel when we journey back to the land of our parents. I felt that shiver of recognition when I was in Poland near the Belarussian border–that’s where my father was from. I almsot felt like people there knew who I was. Weird.
    It wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Sicily. So thanks for sharing your adventure cum photos.

  10. kim tackett says:

    Love all your shots, but especially the narrow streets. Thanks for taking us along with you on your travels, my friend.

  11. Lisa Froman says:

    Oh how beautiful. What an adventure. Loved these photos and will have to go back and read some of the blogs I missed. ( I was out of town and at a workshop and have been playing catch up.!)

  12. Just lovely. Thank you for taking us on your journey.

  13. Tammy says:

    Oh, Carol, how wonderful! I had no idea. Have had my head under a rock. So VERY happy to see that you went back to your roots. Your BEAUTIFUL roots! It must have been surreal. Blessings to you, friend. We can always find ourselves where our ancestors once roamed.

  14. Diane says:

    Leaving is always the hardest part! Loved tagging along with you on this trip. I can still smell that air. The distinctive combination of heat, dust, sea water, vegetation and . . . Sicily!

  15. I had no idea what Sicily was like…I have enjoyed having you be our tour guide.

  16. Ruth Currna says:

    Knowing that your family were stone masons put a whole new twist on your photos. I am looking at each arch, each wall, each doorway, and each building through a different lens. Beautifully told story accompanied by the perfect photos. I will miss the photo diary of your trip – maybe you will throw in a few more photo every now and then just because :)?

  17. I can certainly see the resemblance to San Fran!

    Sorry you weren’t feeling well.

  18. I fell madly in love with Italy when I visited – your photos take me back! Thank you for sharing your trip on your blog, it’s been such a treat to see all of the beautiful images and hear your stories.

  19. Oh, I’m sad our trip is over 🙂 Loved following your journey and can’t wait to visit Sicily myself one day!

  20. Oh Carol these photo’s are so beautiful. I started to daydream about how close families must be with one another living so close. Just beautiful!

  21. Lana says:

    Carol – I have been reading along and enjoying reading about your trip – and I love the photos. Haven’t been able to comment, but thank you for sharing it with us.

  22. donna says:

    Someday we will go to Italy…my husband is only the second generation to be here, both sets of grandparents came through Ellis Island. It does resonate, almost more for me than my husband.

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