Little towns hang on the mountain hillsides here. I imagine from the day a settlement was established its residents have been activating all their engineering chops to graft their homes, streets, and other built environment modifications onto the landscape. They cantilevered a surface out over a sculpture garden (center, along the street), added the kiosk and pumps, and voila!, the town has a fuel stop.
This is Novara di Sicilia (a town of many names), on the (slow—and scenic) upper north slope of the road between the Tyrrhenian coast and the Ionian coast. At the highest elevations, we saw snow sticks along the road edge, and the leaves were just coming out on the trees. Lots of wildflowers, too—and thistles—this is grazing land.
After Novara we crested the drainage divide, and had our first views of Mount Etna (Mongibello in Italian), although this view is from the free botanical garden in Taormina, where we’re staying tonight and tomorrow night. This is a major tourist stop, and the main walking street is over-run with the buggers. We strolled in clouds of German, mostly, but also Spanish, Italian, a bit of English and Spanish, and several idioms I could not identify.
We plan to visit the archaeological zone in the morning before the heat of the day sets in.
My hand-washing dried in three hours (well-squeezed cotton; faster for the fake fabrics; slower for the padded socks); this place is both warmer and drier than the northeast coast where we were the last two nights. At least today.