It's official! We have an apartment in Sicily. Again, it was challenging to find a long term furnished rental and we went the route of exploring vacation rentals and considered several before deciding on the one we chose. Originally I had wanted to go to Palermo but was talked out of it by many people who said it was too large, too crowded, too dirty, too chaotic etc., etc. Then they said that in that part of Sicily the winters can be very windy and that did not appeal to us either. We looked at a few places near Taormina, which is apparently quite beautiful, but they were either too expensive or too small, didn't have parking or just were not quite right. I was beginning to get panicky as I usually do thinking we had just about a month before we were set to leave and still did not have a place to live! We had thought earlier this summer that when the time came that we would just go there and find a place when we got there. Then we were dissuaded from doing that and decided it would be best to have something lined up before leaving. With the kids coming in October and Art and Chris in November, there was no time to spare and we spent many hours at the Internet café searching.
Finally we found this one and we are keeping our fingers crossed that it turns out to be nice and we like the area. Never having been to Sicily and only having our guide books as reference, plus what we have seen on the internet, we think Ragusa is quite beautiful. This town we have chosen is called Marina di Ragusa and it is right on the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, the terrace has a sea view. It is off-season so we are expecting it to be quiet there and are looking forward to long walks on the beach and quiet nights filled with stars. We like the location also because it seems as if it will be easy to get to the other regions we want to visit, going north to Palermo, west to Agrigento or east to Siracusa, Catania and Taormina, The apartment is larger than the one we are in now, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The kitchen looks much larger with more counter space and has a washing machine and even a garage for our car, a very important feature. Plus it is on the 2nd floor (which in Italy actually means the 3rd) so we are up high, a change from being on the ground floor as we have been here with sometimes-noisy neighbors above us, and we are looking forward to that. The new landlord seems very nice and eager to accommodate our needs. He has offered us bicycles, which should be fun. And, he speaks enough English and with our rudimentary Italian that we think we will be able to communicate well enough. He even has suggestions about how to get email there so he has some technical knowledge as well which should come in handy with the two of us being technologically challenged at times.
We plan to drive down there probably before December 1. I would like to stop and see my distant cousins in Chianchetella and take our time getting there. We plan to drive to Naples and take the ferry to Sicily. Our new landlord has already provided driving directions. We are looking forward to Christmas and what that might bring.
It was hard to tell Sergio and Rita that we were leaving, we have been so happy here and they have been treated us so well. We have enjoyed Perugia very much, if we did find fault with various parts of it, like the large student population, the occasion late night noises, the dog droppings in the street and too much graffiti. But the city is amazing. We love its medieval streets and beautiful palazzi, the views out over the countryside still take our breath away, the twisty, turny streets, the crumbling facades and warm colors. And of course our beautiful garden and its amazing display of flowers from spring through fall has been nothing short of a gift from the gods and we will be forever grateful for the time spent in this magical place.
But the life we have chosen is one that is full of new adventures and we are ready to move on. We will savor this next month, happy to show Art and Chris our beautiful Perugia and the cities surrounding it, a Farewell Tour of Umbria for us, showing her off in a blaze of fall colors (we hope they will not have all blown away by the time they arrive!) and delighted that they will be able to see this place we have called home for the past 7 months now. It's been an incredible time.
Rosemary & Robert