Planning our trips over breakfast has become one of our favourite new habits. We sit around the big table in our kitchen/living room and contemplate potential destinations for the day. The criteria are fairly simple: we look in the guidebook for an interesting/beautiful sight we haven’t yet visited and a place to have lunch in, all within a reasonable distance from the house so we don’t bore the little one with too much driving.
Today’s first stop took us about 30km west from our village to the little town of Siculiana, mostly famous for its impressive fortress, watching over the valley below.
The town itself seemed very quiet and we noticed some eyebrows were raised as our group of four and a baby walked through the city. Unfortunately everything was closed, including the fortress so the only attraction remaining was the beautiful Chiesa Madre, a Baroque church, dominating the main square.
Inside it was as calm and empty as outside, apart from a nice old man who insisted on silently leading us the around the church. The stained glass window and many other features were beautiful, rich in detail and colour, a world away from the minimalist style of the Nordic Protestant churches. Both in size and presence Chiesa Madre was definitely an unexpected delight.
Since nothing was open in the village we found our way to the marina, where we enjoyed a wonderful lunch with fresh grilled fish, right on the beach, overlooking the golden sand and the light blue sea crashing into the shore.
Before heading home, we stopped at the archaeological site of Eraclea Minoa, where a Greek amphi-theatre and a Roman village were excavated in the 1950s. The settlement was developed by Spartan colonists in 600BC and later became a Roman colony. Walking through what was once the village we could see where the streets would have been and the layout of the tiny homes, but it was difficult to imagine exactly how life would have been back then. Maybe we also got too distracted by the amazing views that the site offered from its position on a hill. In both directions and as far as the eye could see there was nothing but beauty; the sea, the shore, the cliffs the beach – exactly as it probably has been over the centuries. So maybe we could right there and then for a second get a glimpse of what life looked like thousands of years ago.