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After all those business trips it was time for some days off and with Pizza, Pasta and sunshine Italy is always a good destination. Temperatures are lovely at this time of the year – around 20 degrees, sunshine all day long. The nights are a bit colder, and it is quite important to have a place with heating. The first 5 nights we had a holiday-flat in Taormina – a nice little town on a hill above the ocean. It is currently in the press because the next G7-summit will be there in May. As you can imagine the city is being renovated – streets, houses etc… Right now with not so many tourists around, streets were already quite packed with cars. I got an SUV, so it was a bit tricky to drive sometimes… The flat was beautifully located above Taormina with fantastic views of the Mount Etna. It did erupt quite recently and there was still smoke coming out. One of the most famous views is the view of Etna from the ancient theatre, especially at sunset. Beautiful!
Catania – the city just “below” the Etna is not really worth to visit. Driving up to the Volcano was also a nice experience. I did not know that a volcano can make smoke rings, a very seldom phenomena – I got it on picture. With the car it is possible to drive up to 2000m (above sea level). It is possible to use a cable car and offroad trucks to get further, but it was far too cold (I took the wrong clothes) plus some days later a BBC film crew got caught by some volcanic action and got hurt… But also it was impressive to hear the explosions from time to time…
A place I also liked was Castelmola, a small city above Taormina also with great panoramic views – at this time of the year most of the restaurants and shops had closed…
Next stop on the trip was Cefalu – we stayed here for 2 nights. It was nice to hike up the small mountain/rock just above the Church with a little ancient castle on top. Also the city itself was nice especially at sunset. By train we visited Palermo, the biggest city on the island – a lot nicer than Catania. From Cefalu we drove to Siracusa, where we stayed another 2 nights. The city is famous for Ortigia – the old city but also for the ancient site with a greek and roman theater and the “Ear of Dionysios” a huge man-made cave. Sadly the ancient site was partly in a very bad shape – the roman amphitheatre was almost completely covered with gras, several parts were closed for no reason – a bit of a disappointment.
One full day we spent in Pantalica and the Anapo valley. In the Anapo valley runs an old train track (well no train and no tracks anymore, just the street and the tunnels) which is nice to walk. Pantalica is a collection cemeteries with tombs in the rock high above the valley. Especially in spring very nice to visit.
The last morning we spent in Noto famous for its baroque buildings. Later we found out that due to lava ash from the Etna the flight schedule was a bit chaotic, ours was some hours delayed… but that could have been much worse 😉
Enjoy the pictures

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