The town of Aci Trezza has a population of around 5000 people and, as unfamiliar as the name might be, it has some serious connections. Read Homer's Odessy and the greek myths and you'll discover that the ghosts of the three Cyclops - Brontes, Steropes and Arges - were banished and consigned to dwell in the caverns of Mount Etna by Apollo. Mount Etna sits behind the town and it is very much alive. From my seat on the train on my return from Siracusa the other day I could see little clouds of grey smoke billowing out and around the summit. The Cyclops, mythical one-eyed giants. were builders and master smiths. So their presence in the caverns of Mount Etna was a classical explanation for the smoke and fire issuing from the crater. The story that is pertinent here is the one of Odysseus and his escape from Sicily. Getting the Cyclops drunk, Odysseus then blinded him with a stake. The next morning when the Cyclops let out his herd of sheep and goats, Odysseus and his men escaped back to their ships by clinging to the underbellies of the animals. Not content with remaining alive, Odysseus also stole the flock and then taunted the Cyclops who responded by throwing three vast rocks into the sea. Those vast rocks are the basalt sea stacks that stand by the harbour here in Aci Trezza. They are referred to as the Isole Ciclopi (Cyclops Islands). I know that geology, geography, and the weather are the reasons for the sea stacks being where they are, but it's a neat tale!
But there's more. The city of Catania is around 10K north of here and the writer Giovanni Verga was born in the city in 1840. He also died there in January 1922 at the age of 81. He is best known for his wirtings about Sicily and Sicilian life. He was also the author of a short story called Cavalleria Rusticana. This story subsequently became a one-act play. But it was also set to music by Pietro Mascagni and first performed in 1889. You may not know the story or the play but I'm sure you'll recognise the intermezzo from the opera. It is a beautiful piece of lilting and haunting music that has been used countless times as a backdrop for emotional scenes in any number of films and TV programs, with snippets of the music being used for adverts too. I've even used it myself to supplement a scene on stage in a play I was directing a few years ago. Check out the link. Intermezzo I guess you can't come to any part of Italy without music featuring somewhere. With the violins playing in my mind I stroll along the the main street in town.
As I pass the pasticceria on my left I can't help but stop and peer in the window. Stunning cakes with mirror smooth glazes
tempt me. I can also see cannoli. These pastries originated here in Sicily but can be found almost anywhere now.
Small crispy pastry tubes filled with riccotta and dipped in chopped
pistachios. They were served for
dessert at my Hotel and they
were delicious. As I look at the
cannoli in the shop I wonder if I should buy one or wait to see what I will be
served tonight. I decide to wait. I make my way up the hill as I
want to spend a little time on my balcony and capture a few last shots of the island.
|The view from my hotel|
You can read more about my little adventure in Sicily, Here Here and Here