September 1, 2014
sicilian landscapes3rd entry – italy 2014
South-eastern Sicily has been a total surprise. The drive through the middle was through rugged, brown landscapes; through fields planted with citrus, pomegranates and corn; Modica is this wonderful place off-the-beaten-track, it’s full of people at night, the shops are open and the is a great home-base; also there are very few tourists. The roads in the area are limited by the terrain so they’re easier for foreigners like us.
Today we drove north to Caltagirone another of the 8 towns in the Val di Noto that was destroyed in the 1613 earthquake and rebuilt in the Baroque style. Calatgirone is also a ceramic center in Sicily. The drive north took us through some beautiful country. We had to stop and just look at the landscape and I went down into the field to shoot the bridge on the white road. (White roads in Italy are paved with a white gravel; they’re country roads in good condition; but they take you off-the-beaten-track; there are no gas stations, no traffic light and no crazy people trying to pass by pulling into the on-coming lane.) The landscape is nothing like the rest of Italy. (The modern building all look the same regardless of where you are, but the ever-present Baroque is unique, the fields are perimetered by dry-stone walls and many of the roads are all elevated providing amazing vistas.)
Piazza Armerina helped me understand why the people left and went to America. The town was a hovel of small streets and alleys, but the Spanish conquers lived in lavish palaces. The fields around the town still have remnants of the feudal system that the people lived under. It was a great example of Spanish power and the indentured people that they exploited.