A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Virgin Of The Rock


You have only to side-step away from the Corso Umberto, Taormina's main shopping street, and you are in another world, a world of tranquil backstreets and flower-filled balconies ...


A brick and stone path zigzags steeply up Mount Tauro (398m), the small peak above Taormina, and the site of Taormina's original settlement and citadel. This is the view from the path looking down over Taormina (you can see the Greek theatre if you look closely) and the clear blue waters of the Ionian sea ...


... and here's snow-capped Mount Etna, the icon of Sicily and spiritual guardian of Taormina ...


Brightly-coloured butterflies and scurrying lizards were everywhere. I had a face-to-face encounter with this Italian Wall Lizard, a really big specimen, the longest lizard I've ever seen in the wild, perhaps a foot from its snout to the tip of its tail. Its large size meant it was almost certainly a male ...



Near to the top of Mount Tauro stands the Santuario Madonna della Rocca ...



Inside the sanctuary, which is partly hollowed out of the rock itself, I lit candles in memory of my father, my mother, and my sister, and spent a few moments in quiet contemplation ...



... before descending the hill on the other side, and guessing my way intuitively back to the Piazza Duomo in the centre of town, past more balconies and shuttered windows ...



... and enticing doorways and cheerful tubs of flowers ...


2 comments:

Bonnie said...

Lovely pics and commentary. So tempting ...

George said...

What a great trip you had, Robert. Sicily is moving higher and higher on my list.