We escaped Taormina (not chased by a bull—which may well have been the auroch in ancient times, and not our cattle), descending to the north along the main route into town (we had entered from the south, which turned out to be effectively the back way these days).
We expended what we discovered to be our meager energy given the heat tromping the reflective white limestone ruins of the civic-ceremonial architecture at Siracusa—a Greek theater, a Roman amphitheater, and a couple of other nifty places they still let you visit (most of the zone was walled off, sigh). For me, the highlight was this person-made cave (following a natural crack? I can only speculate) in the wall of the huge quarry from which the ancients (more particularly, their slaves) removed the building stones for the city. The echo is legendary because it only has a single reverb. Unfortunately, we visited this huge cavern with two (noisy) tour groups. One of the guides serenaded all of us with an a capella piece that John ID’d as from Battlestar Galactica. (I believed him, although he says it was a similar tune, but not the same.)
This view is looking out of the cave from around the bend—so striking. Legend has it that the leader Dionysius incarcerated his enemies here and could overhear their planning from afar due to the special qualities of sound transmission in this dramatic space, now called Orecchio di Dionisio.
We are now up in the limestone Hyblaean mountains in the new part of the ancient city of Palazzolo Acreide (which controlled cross-island trade routes), trying out small town life (sorta). We are staying in a nearly new hotel/winery/restaurant. We had the chef’s tasting menu for dinner and it was spectacular, about ten antipastis, including a zucchini flan that was superb, a pasta course with a mint-basil pesto over delicate cheese ravioli over a roasted red tomato sauce, two meats for the secondi, and one strawberry panna cotta with four spoons because we were so full. The Colle Acre’s own Nero ’Avila was outstanding..
Me, my tongue, and I—all so happy!