CASTELBUONO, SICILY

What: the charming village in Sicily where you can get away from the crowds and see the sights. A short drive to Gangi where the dollar or one Euro homes were very popular

Where: about a 45 minute drive from Cefalu on the seacoast. A scenic drive.

When: best in spring and fall to avoid the heat. 

Why: lots of sights and places to dine. Small enough to park your car and walk everywhere.

 

From visitsicily.info

 

A small medieval village in the Park of Madonie with a delightful, still well preserved old town that captivates you from the very first moment, the town develops around the castle of Ventimiglia, near a Byzantine hamlet called Ypsigro. Walking through its narrow streets, is like entering another dimension, it’s like seeing a parade of knights and beautiful ladies wearing rustling brocade clothes and complicated hairstyles. Not by chance, at the beginning of summertime, during the ”Infiorata of Castelbuono”, the historical parades really take place through wonderful tapestries of fresh flowers.

We start our journey from the beautiful Old Madrice. Built in the fourteenth century on the ruins of a pagan temple, the church is preceded by a Renaissance portico added in the 16th century and enriched by a portal in Catalan style. The interior, originally with three naves, has been expanded to four at the end of the fifteenth century. A magnificent polyptych dominates the main altar, a true masterpiece depicting Christ enthroned in majesty with saints, attributed by some scholars to Antonello de Saliba, by others to Peter Ruzzolone.

The lovely marble statue of Our Lady of the Angels by Antonello Gagini and the fresco depicting the Marriage of the Virgin dating back to 15th century, are other wonders not to be missed. Some of the columns separating the aisles, are decorated with frescoes of saints among which stands out for its elegance and delicacy the one portraying St. Catherine of Alexandria. The crypt is entirely frescoed (XVI sec.) with episodes of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ.

 
Castelbuono is, therefore, a little enchanted jewel and, as in any respectable fairy tale, there must be a castle and here’s an impressive one!

It was built by the powerful Count Francesco I Ventimiglia in 1317, upon an existing watchtower of the 12th century. It hosted the court of one of the most influential families of Sicilian history, even more powerful than the Vicerè!

 
These potent counts, who rebelled against the Sicilian rulers, had their Palatine Chapel which is still a precious casket, with wonderful stucco on the bottom of pure gold leaves decorated by the brothers Giuseppe and Giacomo Serpotta (1684-87); behind the altar, kept in a fine, silver reliquary bust of 1521, is the skull of St. Anne, the patron saint of the village.

 
Today the Castle of Ventimiglia is the seat of the Civic Museum of Castelbuono with its several sections: Archeology, Urbanism, Sacred, Modern and Contemporary Art. Its rich program of exhibitions and cultural activities makes it a dynamic landmark for research, meetings and experimentations .

 

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Castelbuono is in the Parco Delle Madonie or Madonie Natural Park. It is not too far from Cefalu and worthy of a two to three day visit. IMG 9689

We enjoyed our three day stay in an Airbnb a short walk from the center of town. The ride from Cefalu was scenic and added to our enjoyment. 

IMG 9687Piazza Margherita, Castlebuno

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Via Castello

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View from our AIRbnb

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Lunch downtown ( in Centro)

 

IMG 9820Flascorano bakery ships all over the world. 

 

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A link to their website. English version

https://www-fiasconaro-com.translate.goog/fiasconaro/?_x_tr_sl=it&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en-US&_x_tr_pto=nui,sc

 

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A performance at the museum in the castle.

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Dinner at one of the many fine restaurants in town.

Time to blog again,

VeneziaIt has been a while, Angela and I hibernated for over a year. Our every other year to Italy trips were now memories.That time is over. Now we will be planning our next viaggio. During the Covid day we purchased a Winnebago and took a 6,900 mile trip across much of the US. We are embarking on a second trip of two to three months and it will give me time to write and plan our next trip. 

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CATANIA, SICILY FRESH SEAFOOD FOR EVERYONE

I recently watched an other episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. It took place in one of my favorite cities in Sicily, Catania.

Take a brief look at the you tube video that shows what he sees in Catania

 

 

Angela and I came upon this frenetic splendor in 2008,. We had a small BnB around the corner and walked to the market after breakfast.

Crowded and lively, it is an amazing spectacle. 

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The market is in full swing by mid morning..

 

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It is not all about fish, the market spill out to the street

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Dinner out was a simple antipasti from Via Monte St Agata which we discovered by accident 

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Trattoria Monte Sant’Agata

 

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Yes we enjoyed the meal. P1010746Not fine dining,but good food at a veru resonable cost

 

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We always stop at an Ikea store.

A one night stay in Catanioa before we haded over to Cefalu 

We found La Canoica on Via Raddusa. What a great little restaurant 

 

 

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Catania night time walks 

GOTCHA, again, and again, Italy’s New Way To Collect Traffic Violations

There is nothing like coming home from an Italy trip and receiving a letter, or email saying you screwed up and it is time to pay. In recent years I have not run afoul of the law recently, but last year they got me good. Our trip to Italy took us to Padua and Vicenza both beautiful cities. The FAMOUS ZONA LIMITATO or limited traffic zone is found in many major cities in Italy which have congestions. My first experience  was in Rome back in 2009 while returning a rental car and enjoying the sights. I went by the Coliseum and several other location while heading to the airport. Never once did I see any  signs saying ZTL. 

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But the camera saw me. This was no big deal and paid by credit card. 100 Euros is not cheap but this was easy and I was notified soon after returning.

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TRAFFIC TICKET PAID BY CREDIT CARD 

This year while in Vicenza and Padua I saw one sign and tried to avoid the area. Apparently I did not do it very well. We were in these town in October 2019 and I received my first notification from Hertz/Thrifty on January 28 2020. A bit of time had gone by. I was told there was a violation in both town and I would be notified by the municipalities shortly and be advised how to handle them.

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ZTL SIGNS

SOME SIGNS YOU SEE, OTHERS YOU DON’T 

A lot to time passed. In fact I was not notified until December 2020 of the amount of the violation and the need to do a wire transfer. International wire transfers are not cheap. These were $45 each for a total of $90. The fines were $139 and $156.  Now we are talking about really money, no cheap lira banknotes from old times. The old way was quicker and easier. Certainly it was less expensive 

My advice is to be aware of limited traffic areas before you arrive in the cities. I did this successfully in Florence. I most likely will go back to Italy again (now that the fine is paid). I will plan more carefully.. Elven years between violations and It is not the end of the world 

 

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DUOMO PADUA, ITALY

 

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DUOMO WITH WATERCOLOR FILTER 

 

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VICENZA , ITALY

 

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SALVATOR DALI VICENZA ITALY

 

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MUSEUM OF JEWELRY , VICENZA ITALY 

 

I have not posted much this month, but will continue with posts about our previous nineteen trips to Italy.  2021 has to be a better year. To escape the virus and so some travel we purchased a motor home and this has helped us travel safely. 

 

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OUR RV IN APALACHICOLA, FL

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ANGELA HEADING UP I95 IN COCA FL

 

TI AUGURO UN FELICE ANNO NUOVO

I WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR

Mi Manca La Sicilia I miss Sicily

We understand that this year Italy and our favorite Sicily is out of the question. 2022 will be in our minds while we travel in a Camper Van where we can in the US. Waiting for time to pass

The ferry from Reggio Calabria to Messina Sicily

It started in 2001 when we made our third trip to Italy and Sicily. The goal in visiting Sicily was to discover relatives of Angela’s family.

The park in Melilli Sicily

This is where it all began. The park in Melilli,Sicily where Angela’s Family came from My wife knew that this was not a huge town and we might find some people at the park where we could get some information. We spoke only a few words of Italian at the time and now we are straining to get some information. One gentleman referred us to a man named Tommy. He had returned to his home town after retiring from a company in Connecticut ( that is where we are from). He referred us to the Girgenti family and arranged a meeting. We met and managed to communicate with help of Enza who spoke some English and Patrizia who also spoke some. We met Ludivico and his wife and we have kept in touch and visited for almost twenty years. This began our love affair with Sicily.

Sicily is sorounded by the sea.
A beach in Taoromina
Enjoying the beach in Milazzo, Sicily
St Sebastian Church, Melilli

St. Sebastian Church in Middletown CT was built to have the same appearance as the one in Melilli. Many residents or Melilli moved to Middletown CT over the years.

The residnets of Erice, a hill town nears Trapani, Sicily
Little angels in Erice for a festival.
The fish market in Catania, everything you could want.
Tuna
Teenagers in Siracusa enjoying the sun.
A Sicilian Cart Wheel
Ceramics
Every day a wedding
Playing a song from the Godfather Siracuas.
the DUOMO in Cefalù, Sicily

So much more.Will continue with this post next time Ciao a tutti.

This post was created with WordPress for the iPad and BIRU for WordPress

THE FOOD OF ITALY IN NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT

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I had lived in Connecticut for fifty years before moving to Florida in 2013. During that period of time I loved the   festivals , food and neighborhoods that denoted Italy and Italians. 

Wooster Street is home to a large number of Italian restaurants in New Haven.  My wife Angela and I returned this summer and took a day to explore the wonders of New Haven  and it’s culinary attractions.

51W2RUG6jCL SX348 BO1 204 203 200Books have been written about the Pizza in New Haven,   Colin Caplan wrote Pizza in New Haven in 2018. I traced the history to the family operated pizza ristoranti in New Haven. Many are still in business today. Some with wood or coal burning ovens. Our favorite was Ernie’s on Whalley Avenue.  The Wooster street area has many surviving restaurants and pastry shops. Many of the residents of New Haven came from Amalfi, Atrani, and Maori and brought their culinary skills with them. 

Ernies Pizzeria , New Haven, our favorite. 

 

27c6e030a303765e6efd5fd22e1ab20e united states connecticut new haven county new haven 694975 ernies pizzeriahtm

 

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Frank  Pepe has been a staple of Wooster Street since the early 1900s. From their web site ” Portrait of Frank Pepe
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana was founded in 1925 by Frank Pepe (b. April 15, 1893 d. September 6, 1969). Born in the town of Maiori, on the Amalfi coast, southwest of Naples, Frank Pepe was the quintessential Italian immigrant. Poor and illiterate, he immigrated to the United States in 1909 at age 16 with little more than his health and a strong work ethic. His first job was at a New Haven, CT factory until he returned to fight for his native Italy in World War 1 a few years late” 

Angela and I have stayed in Maiori  on the Amalfi Coast and many of the residents of the Amalfi  areas immigrated New Haven.  Pepe’s is famous for its white clam pizza. The restaurant does a big business and it is not unusual to see people waiting in line outside the restaurant

IMG 0211Sally’s is also on Wooster Street and have been in business since 1938. It is also a coal fired pizzeria Wooster street. 

Consiglios, Pasta Eatitalina Trattoria Napoletana, Zeneli Pizzeria e Cucina, Abate Pizza and Seafood, are just some of the restaurants in the area.

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Libbys Pastry Shop is the perfect spot for a Cappuccino, espresso,  and a dolce. 

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A great assortment of treats 

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As we leave the Wooster Street area we head over to Liuzzi in North Haven for some Italian treats. 

 

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From their website

Hailing from the Southern Adriatic region of Italy, Pasquale Liuzzi came here in 1961 followed by his brother Nick in 1972. Together they founded Liuzzi Gourmet Food Market in 1981. Dreaming of building their own business and carrying on the proud, hardworking traditions of southern Italy, the Liuzzi family’s persistence and tenacity paid dividends.

 

This is one of the largest salumeria or delicatessen in the state of Connecticut. It make me feel like I am back in Italy.

IMG 0218Smoked Prosciutto 

 

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So many choices

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I stop when the basket gets too heavy

 

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They have large assortment of takeout.

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Real Cheese Wheels, not plastic.

Great video of Pizza in New Haven

 

New Haven Apizza from Full Send on Vimeo.

InfoNewHaven.com

 

Credit for video, 

Full Send  Productions

http://fullsendproductions.com/fsp-demo-reel

 

 

 

 

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A food market in Amalfi, Italy

Learning Italian

I have been trying to learn Italian for several years. Pimsleur, Italianpod101, CD’s, and Duolingo. They all have helped me improve. Duolingo is one of the best products I have used. The free version is an excellent introduction to learning any language. Premium is a better way to speed up learning, no adds, nor stops after making several mistakes.

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This has worked well and I have used Duolingo for many years with both Spanish and Italian .

 

It has worked well, and I have used it daily for over two years. I realized on our trip last year to Cortina d’Ampezzo that speaking to Italians in their language was fun and made our trip so much more enjoyable. One night we had the owners of our Airbnb over for dinner. The conversation was 95% in Italian as Renato, and his wife spoke little English.

 

OUR LIVING ROOM IN CORTINA
At this point, I had reached the limit of my conversational abilities. It was a good conversation, but I wanted to go farther. One year later, I have started to take Italian lessons. Online Italian courses seemed to be the way to go in the ane of Coronavirus.

I searched several websites and looked closely at two of them. Lingoci appeared to be the best for me.

Lingoci 1

 

From the photo, you can see there are several languages to choose from.
Once you choose a language to learn, you see a list of instructors from whom you can choose.

Lucrezia from Milano

 

I chose a sample lesson with Lucrezia, who comes from Milano and now lives in Barcelona. She is fluent in several languages. I was a little nervous about the class, but she put me at ease quickly.

MY LESSON WITH LUCREZIA

Here is a screenshot of my introductory lesson in Italian.

She is very accomplished with all levels of Italian, and I felt very relaxed learning with her. I purchased a package of 10 lessons for $22.90 US dollars (each).  Each lesson lasts for 55 minutes. That is a bargain for a one on one learning experience.

LESSON PRICE LIST

 

Here is a link to the web site 

https://lingoci.com

 

I do not get any payment from Lingoci, and I do this because I enjoy languages and this had made my learning so much more enjoyable. I have scheduled my lessons for consecutive weeks and at the same time. I highly recommend Lingoci and will continue with my studies for the year.

Most lessons are on Skype which enables a student to get vocabulary and downloads of assignments and documents. This is very helpful. 

SKYPE SCREENSHOT

 

Give it a try. One on one is the best way to learn an language, and Lincoci makes it easy and affordable. 

 

Venezia

 

 

https://lingoci.com/italian-lessons-skype#tutors

 

Thie above like will open up the Italian tutors section for Lingoci. Take a look. 

 

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San Pietro at night

Ischia an Island Off The Coast of Naples

I came across and article on Ischia today that appeared in Forbes Magazine a while back. 

I remember it for its beauty and ease of transportation via the city busses.  The food was excellent and thermal baths abound in this little volcanic island. Take the ferry from Napoli and enjoy your stay. 

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It is just s short ferry ride from Naples to Ischia. On the way uou pass the equally enchanting island of Procida. 

CIMG0715The island  of Pricida

A 2018 article in Forbes magazine said “Ischia may be one of Italy’s best kept secrets”. It is certainly a relaxing and interesting place to visit. It is affordable with excellent restaurants. It is more casual than Capri and much less hectic. Thermal hot [springs feed pools for a relaxing warm swim. Parts of the movie “The Talented Mister Ripley” were filmed here. Great seafood abounds on this 18 square mile island

 

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On the ferry  from Napoli to Ischia. We brought our car on the ferry, is was a reasonable price.

CIMG0471 The Castello Aragones  is a medieval castle next to Ischia (one of the Phlegraean Islands), at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, Italy. The castle stands on a volcanic rocky islet that connects to the larger island of Ischia by a causeway (Ponte Aragonese).

CIMG0473Insalata Caprese for our lunch

 

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Lava formations from past eruptions on this volcanic island.

 

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Getting ready to jump. 

CIMG0499Diving into the sea brings relief from the warm summer day.

 

 

CIMG0501Each day the pool is emptied and refilled from the thermal spring. The water is warm, and if filled with minerals.

We took a bus to get to Lo Scoglio, in Sant Angelo. It was s short ten minute drive to an amazing treat. 

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The entrance to Lo Scoglio

 

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Frutti di Mare

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My wife Angela was thrilled with all this fresh seafood.

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A cruise ship passes by.

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Outside dining makes for an enjoyable evening. .

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Samt Angelo, Ischia. Check out the fumarole beaches with steam jets rise up  through the sands.  Food is cooked by burying it in the sand and letting the volcanic steam do its thing.

 

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A salumaria or delicatessen has the real bufala mozzarella. This is best served at room temperature and best kept only on day. It is different from the fresh mozzarella which we find in American supermarkets.

 

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More views 

 

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It is well worth the trip.Stay for a few days to enjoy the shops, dining, and the swimming. You can bring your car over on the ferry. Busses run to many of the attractions.

 

 

https://maps.apple.com/?address=Ischia,%20Naples,%20Italy&auid=12476986191221287559&ll=40.732341,13.944971&lsp=6489&q=Ischia&_ext=Ch8KBQgEEJABCgQIBRADCgQIBhADCgQIChAJCgQIVRAHEiYpt/GC441aREAxdM70t6naK0A5eWwVDs5fREBBwAZEiCvvK0BQDA%3D%3D

 

 

 

 

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