Islands of the Western Mediterranean travel blog

Ceramics on the park fence

Search for a vase in a Renoir painting

Vases very similar to that in the Renoir

The staircase!

Tiles on the staircase

The going down view

One of the scenes in the villa

The "bikini" girls around 360BC


Travelled out of Siracusa this morning, initially following the coast road. On the coast there were many signs of industry, especially what seemed to be oil refineries and possibly LPG facilities. The countryside showed well kept agricultural activities, orange and lemon groves, olive groves and even plantings of prickly pear and pomegranate.

Our destination was Caltagirone, the centre of the ceramics industry and after a stroll through a lovely park we visited the Museum of Ceramics where ceramics are arranged in rooms according to the era of their making right up to quite modern. A great display with very few people so we could take our time with our guide pointing out special features.

A stroll through the city took us to a ceramics shop where two of our group were interested in making significant purchases so we left one to it and moved to our next challenge which was to climb the Staircase of Santa Maria del Monte. Hopefully my photos will give you and idea of this. The steps were quite wide but the vertical risers were lined with tiles. The down journey was almost as challenging as the uphill.

Lunch in a small cafe set us up for the drive to Piazza Armerina to see the famous mosaics at the Villa Romana del Casale. This villa, obviously belonging to a person of great importance and wealth, was discovered in the 1700's and was a feature of the Grand Tour. Excavation has continued and restoration continues still, with the whole site covered and board walks to allow viewing constructed. Am amazing sight and wonderful workmanship. Very hard to convey all the colours. Apparently in Roman times the staff of the villa would keep them wet to show the colour by keeping them dust free.

Our return journey via a different route became very wet with a severe storm over the mountains, although by the time we arrived back in Siracusa at just on 7 there had been no rain; that came later as Jan, Helen, Dallas and I were eating at a cafe where we'd chosen to eat outside. Big umbrellas covering but a bit of adjustment of tables needed.

We move on tomorrow.



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