Sunday, 13 December 2015

Saint Lucy's Day 13 December

Saint Lucy / Santa Lucia

The feast day of St. Lucia of Syracuse, known as Saint Lucy's Day, is celebrated in the West on 13 December. Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucy, or Saint Lucia (Italian: Santa Lucia), was a young Christian martyr who died during the Diocletianic Persecution.

She is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Orthodox Churches.

The photo shows a statue of Saint Lucy outside the Cathedral in Siracusa.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Now you can win the book "Palermo: City of Kings" - enter before 9 November

Win a signed copy of the critically acclaimed author Jeremy Dummett's new book "Palermo: City of Kings"on our Facebook page!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

The winner will be announced 9 November!

 You can read about the book here: http://www.jeremydummett.com/palermo-book/

Monday, 27 July 2015

The distance between Palermo and some other cities in Sicily

Palermo-Cefalù 69 km
Palermo-Siracusa 277 km
Palermo-Agrigento 131 km
Palermo-Noto 303 km
Palermo-Taormina 272 km
Palermo-Catania 227 km
Palermo-Trapani 101 km





Roger II receiving the crown directly from Christ and not the Pope. Mosaic in the Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription Rogerios Rex in Greek letters. After the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 the island's nobility gathered in the church for a meeting that resulted in the Sicilian crown being offered to Peter III of Aragon.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

San Cataldo, Palermo

Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo), Palermo


The Church of San Cataldo (Chiesa di San Cataldo), an example of the wonderful Arabian-Norman architecturein Palermo. San Cataldo is one of the sites in Palermo inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. San Cataldo was founded by William I's chancellor, Maio of Bari c. 1160. In that year, Maio was assassinated with the result that San Cataldo's interior never was decorated. After 1787 the church served as a post office (!), before it was restored in 1885.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Sites in Sicily inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015






Capital in the Monreale cloister.


La Zisa, Norman castle in Palermo. 


The Palatine chapel (Cappella Palatina): The wooden ceiling of star-shaped panels, carved and painted by 12th century craftsmen from Maghreb. 


Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo

Christ Pantocrator in Martorana (Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio), Palermo. The 12th century mosaics were executed by Byzantine craftsmen.

Sicilian sites inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2015:

Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale (Italy)

Located on the northern coast of Sicily, Arab-Norman Palermo includes a series of nine civil and religious structures dating from the era of the Norman kingdom of Sicily (1130-1194): two palaces, three churches, a cathedral, a bridge, as well as the cathedrals of Cefalú and Monreale.

Collectively, they are an example of a social-cultural syncretism between Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures on the island which gave rise to new concepts of space, structure and decoration. They also bear testimony to the fruitful coexistence of people of different origins and religions (Muslim, Byzantine, Latin, Jewish, Lombard and French).


The monuments now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Palermo:
- Palazzo dei Normanni (The Norman Palace)
- Cappella Palatina (The Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace)
- Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti
- Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (also known as the Martorana)
- Church of San Cataldo
- Cathedral of Palermo
- The Zisa Palace (La Zisa)
- The Cuba Palace (La Cuba)

Cefalù:
Cathedral (Duomo)

Monreale:
Cathedral (Duomo)


UNESCO World Heritage List

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The distance between Catania and some other cities in Sicily




Catania-Palermo 227 km
Catania-Cefalù 199 km
Catania-Siracusa 66 km
Catania-Agrigento 167 km
Catania-Noto 93 km
Catania-Taormina 53 km
Catania-Trapani 325 km

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The distance between Agrigento and some other cities in Sicily



Agrigento-Palermo 131 km
Agrigento-Cefalù 134 km
Agrigento-Siracusa 217 km
Agrigento-Noto 242 km
Agrigento-Taormina 219 km
Agrigento-Catania 167 km
Agrigento-Trapani 130 km

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The distance between Siracusa and some other cities in Sicily





Siracusa-Palermo 277 km
Siracusa-Cefalù 249 km
Siracusa-Agrigento 217 km
Siracusa-Noto 38 km
Siracusa-Taormina 118 km
Siracusa-Catania 66 km
Siracusa-Trapani 375 km





Thursday, 18 June 2015

The distance between Noto and some other cities in Sicily

balcony, Noto

Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

Noto-Palermo 303 km
Noto-Cefalù 275 km
Noto-Siracusa 38 km
Noto-Agrigento 242 km
Noto-Taormina 145 km
Noto-Catania 93 km
Noto-Trapani 402 km

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Chocolate and espresso

Chocolate and espresso
 Espresso and Sicily goes hand in hand for me. And after having visited Modica, it is impossible not to add salt chocolate to the "must have" list. This picture is taken at a bar close to the cathedral in Modica. Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily



Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica

Chocolate at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily






Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica

Chocolate at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily






Monday, 15 June 2015

Love at first sight?

I have never liked to take pictures of people that I haven't asked beforehand. Street photography is therefore not my thing. I respect the individual's right to not be photographed, not to be a piece in my or another photographer's chess game.

But I do make some exceptions, and take pictures of people I see now and then, like in this example from Naples. I was sitting on the stairs at Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo waiting for some friends. I photographed cars passing by to check and test the settings on my camera. And then this scooter passed. The lady looked at me with an intense look in her eyes. I am not sure, but I think "love at first sight" may not be the appropriate expression to use...

Scooter in Naples




Sunday, 14 June 2015

Photos of Cats in Italy



On the way home from my exile in Sicily, spring 2015, the first stop was Naples. There I met this cat. Dogs and cats have long been among my favourite motives.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wondersofsicily.com




Here are two half asleep cats in Cefalù. As you can see, the camera angle is very low - the camera is actually almost touching the ground. This is possible because my new camera - Nikon D750 - has a flip display, which is perfect when I need to hold the camera high or very low.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wondersofsicily.com


 

This cat breastfeeding her kitten I came across in the (disappointing) archeological park in Naxos, near Taormina.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wondersofsicily.com






Friday, 8 May 2015

Syracuse / Siracusa



The facade of the Cathedral in Syracuse, a powerful Sicilian-Baroque composition erected in 1728-54. It was designed by Andrea Palma.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

The distance between Siracusa and some other cities in Sicily

Siracusa-Palermo 277 km
Siracusa-Cefalù 249 km
Siracusa-Agrigento 217 km
Siracusa-Noto 38 km
Siracusa-Taormina 118 km
Siracusa-Catania 66 km
Siracusa-Trapani 375 km


Sicilian towns and places on UNESCO's World Heritage List

  • Agrigento: Archaeological Area of Agrigento (UNESCO)
  • Aeolian Islands: Isole Eolie. The group consists of seven islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea) and five small islets (Basiluzzo, Dattilo, Lisca Nera, Bottaro and Lisca Bianca) in the vicinity of Panarea. (UNESCO)
  • Caltagirone (UNESCO)
  • Catania (UNESCO)
  • Militello Val di Catania (UNESCO)
  • Modica (UNESCO)
  • Mount Etna (UNESCO)
  • Noto (UNESCO)
  • Palazzolo Acreide (UNESCO)
  • Ragusa (UNESCO)
  • Scicli (UNESCO)
  • Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica (UNESCO)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Scala dei turchi (Stair of the Turks) in Realmonte (near Agrigento, Sicily)

Here are a couple of pictures from my visit in Agrigento this weekend: Scala dei turchi (Stair of the Turks) in Realmonte (near Agrigento, Sicily). Isn't it beautiful?




The Scala dei turchi  was used as a film location in Giuseppe Tornatore's masterpiece "Malèna".

Friday, 1 May 2015

Palermo

Palermo is the capital of the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. It is not a beautiful city compared to Noto, Venice or Florence, but it has a lot of interesting places to visit.


Serpotta

Putto made by the stucco master Giacomo Serpotta in Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita, Palermo.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily



Palermo-Cefalù 69 km
Palermo-Siracusa 277 km
Palermo-Agrigento 131 km
Palermo-Noto 303 km
Palermo-Taormina 272 km
Palermo-Catania 227 km
Palermo-Trapani 101 km





Roger II receiving the crown directly from Christ and not the Pope. Mosaic in the Martorana, Palermo. The mosaic carries an inscription Rogerios Rex in Greek letters. After the Sicilian Vespers of 1282 the island's nobility gathered in the church for a meeting that resulted in the Sicilian crown being offered to Peter III of Aragon.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Earth Day 2015 in Cefalù

Yesterday Earth Day was arranged in Cefalù, Sicily, with numerous activities in town and on the beautiful seaside. Over the last 45 years, Earth Day Network has executed successful environmental campaigns on issues ranging from climate change and drinking water to voter registration and saving the whale.

Here's more about the background: Scientists warn us that climate change could accelerate beyond our control, threatening our survival and everything we love. We call on you to keep global temperature rise under the unacceptably dangerous level of 2 degrees C, by phasing out carbon pollution to zero. To achieve this, you must urgently forge realistic global, national and local agreements, to rapidly shift our societies and economies to 100% clean energy by 2050. Do this fairly, with support to the most vulnerable among us. Our world is worth saving and now is our moment to act.

Earthday.org

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The distance between Cefalù and some other cities in Sicily




Cefalù-Palermo 69 km
Cefalù-Siracusa 249 km
Cefalù-Agrigento 134 km
Cefalù-Noto 275 km
Cefalù-Taormina 207 km
Cefalù-Catania 199 km
Cefalù-Trapani 169 km

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Statue of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) on the cathedral in Syracuse



The statue of Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy) on the cathedral in Syracuse, Sicily. As a young girl, Lucia was martyred for her Christian faith during the persecutions of Diocletian in 304. According to the legend, her eyes were torn out and later healed by God. Lucia is often pictured holding two eyes on a dish. In 1039, Lucias body was taken to Byzantium, and later to the Church of S. Geremia in Venice. To mark 1,700 years from her death, Lucia's body was returned to Syracuse for one week, arriving on 15 December 2004, welcomed by a large crowd. (For more info, see Jeremy Dummett's excellent book Syracuse, City of Legends)
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad / Wonders of Sicily


Monday, 9 February 2015

Cactus


Cactus in Sicily

Cactus in Sicily.
Photo: Per-Erik Skramstad

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Genova - Palermo ferry service by GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci)

If you are heading for Sicily coming from the north, you may want to take the GNV ferry from Genoa (Genova) to Palermo. It departs late in the evening and arrives in Palermo the following evening.

Here is how you find the GNV ferry in Genoa by car:

  • take the motorway exit Genova Ovest
  • keep left and follow directions for "Porto - Terminal Traghetti"
  • Then turn right down the helicoidal road which comes to the end at a set of traffic lights.
  • Go straight on and after about 100 m. take the underpass to enter the Port and perform check-in operations.

The address for the navigation system should be "Ponte Assereto".

GNV = Grandi Navi Veloci. Here is the Homepage: www.gnv.it

Please leave a comment if you find any errors in this description - or if it helped you find the ferry!

We had difficulties finding the ferry. Even with this description, GPS and a passenger looking for the street signs as well, we managed to miss the last exit, which took us on a 20 minutes detour in Genova. Without a GPS we would never have found it, I think. To makes things as inconvenient as possible the Genovese street sign have extremely small letters.

So finding the ferry made the beginning of our GNV (Grande Navi Veloci) experience rather bad. It should get worse. When entering the harbour, the unfriendly and not-English-speaking persons there were not able to explain where we could buy tickets. And as we tried to find out where to buy tickets, a trailer smashed into our car (we were parked), luckily only making cosmetic damage (repairs in Norway costing 1200 euros though) - and later we learned some lessons about the criminals working in the insurance business in Sicily/Italy.

Well, if that wasn't bad enough, the extremely poor and unprofessional customer service on the ship was added to our misfortunes. Disinterested, disorganized and unfriendly is how we must characterize the staff on board (exept for one woman in the cafeteria, who actually smiled occationally).

First we got a cabin that was not cleaned. Three men (!) followed us to the cabing to make sure we were not lying. Then, instead of just giving us a new cabin, they had us waiting for 15 minutes while they cleaned it. But then it turned out that the heating was broken, making it unbearably hot in there, and after another 15 minutes we got a new cabin.

Luckily, our car was trapped in the corner, so we were the last ones to leave upon arrival in Palermo. Because when the time finally came for the cars to leave the ship, all hell broke loose. The leaving was not organized by GNV to make it smooth, no it was "me first - me first - me first", resulting in a totally chaotic situation with Italians honking their horns and behaving like small children because they wanted to get out first. Jesus Christ!


This is what met us when we arrived at the cabin we got.


The entertainment consisted of a character singing karaoke.


"CruiseShow" - heading for Palermo.

My car after having been hit by a trailer in the Genoa harbour area.





Thursday, 1 January 2015

Io m'aggio posto in core a Dio servire (I have a place in my heart for God reserved)

The Sicilian School was a small community of Sicilian poets gathered around Frederick II, most of them belonging to his court, the Magna Curia. Headed by Giacomo da Lentini, they produced more than 300 poems of courtly love between 1230 and 1266, the experiment being continued after Frederick's death by his son, Manfred.

Giacomo da Lentini is credited by many scholars for inventing the sonnet, a literary form later perfected by Dante and Petrarch - and later: Shakespeare. He uses it in a number of poems. Here is the most famous:

Io m'aggio posto in core a Dio servire,
com'io potesse gire in paradiso,
al santo loco c'aggio audito dire,
o' si mantien sollazzo, gioco e riso.
sanza mia donna non vi voria gire,
quella c'ha blonda testa e claro viso,
che sanza lei non poteria gaudere,
estando da la mia donna diviso.
Ma no lo dico a tale intendimento,
perch'io pecato ci volesse fare;
se non veder lo suo bel portamento
e lo bel viso e 'l morbido sguardare:
che 'l mi teria in gran consolamento,
veggendo la mia donna in ghiora stare.

Translation:
I have a place in my heart for God reserved,
So that I may go to Heaven,
To the Holy Place where, I have heard,
People are always happy and joyous and merry.
I wouldn't want to go there without my lady
The one with fair hair and pale complexion,
Because without her I could never be happy,
Being separated from my lady.
But I do not say that with blasphemous intent,
As if I wanted to sin with her:
If I did not see her shapely figure
And her beautiful face and tender look:
Since it would greatly comfort me
To see my woman shine in glory.


(Source Wikipedia)

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