Saturday, December 10, 2005

12.10.05 We are in Sicilia!

December 7, 2005

Here I sit, on the terrace of our new apartment, the sun is streaming through some dark clouds reflecting on the Mediterranean below. There is a square, a piazza below ringed in palm trees. The weather is wonderfully mild. This terrace is huge, with a pretty table and four chairs, plus two chairs, settee and a side table. In the storage room there is an umbrella for the table and an electric grill, which we plan to put to good use with the fresh seafood here.

Marina di Ragusa is a seaside community. It is a summer place really, where people from the surrounding area have second homes that they enjoy when they aren't rented to vacationers. It is located in southeastern Sicily; about 20 minutes drive from the town of Ragusa. Not unlike other modern parts of Italy, it is made up mostly of low-rise apartment buildings and they all have terraces or balconies. It is not an ancient place but a town that grew up I suppose some years after the war when people started to think about leisure time. There are a few small hotels but mostly it is made up of these private residences that are used and rented out for the summer. It is not medieval like Perugia but has a charm that beach towns have and we find it sweet and comfortable and quiet. There is a local population that lives here year round but it is not large. I have much to learn about our new home and as I find out tings I will write them here. If you are interested, there is a web site

There is some work going on in the square below. Since this is off-season, this is the time they must do any repair work on the street, and I hope it will not take long for them to complete. It already looks as if they are half finished and I am convinced there is not a single part of Italy that is not undergoing restoration of some kind. Which really is a good thing even if it disturbs this tranquil morning of looking out at the sea. I can't complain.

On Sundays the people from the town and those who live nearby come here to walk along the shore. They close the street to traffic and young and old take their passeggiata here. Everyone was eating gelato and sitting on the benches that line the streets and shopping in the little shops that face the sea. Families with babies in strollers, young kids and teenagers, grandparents and entire families were out enjoying themselves and visiting with friends. The sun is warm. The gelato is excellent. The bread has a wonderful crust. We are still exploring and discovering what we have here but what more can I ask for? With all of Sicily waiting for us, we have a comfortable base from which to travel.

The apartment is larger than the last, with a full and separate kitchen and a second bedroom. Our bedroom is at the back of the apartment and therefore very quiet. The front room has windows that look out to the sea and glass doors that open to the terrace. This room has two couches and a nice round table with four chairs. Not only do we have a view of the sea, we only have to walk down the stairs (we are on the third floor) and across the piazza to be on the beach. We have spent at least part of every day since we arrived walking along the shore. On Monday we even rolled up our pant legs and put our feet in. The water is cold but not freezing and we had so much fun. The sand is smooth and golden, not like the rocky coast in the Adriatic where we spent some time last summer. This is wonderful fine sand and a long stretch of beach. The piazza we are in is actually a secondary one in the town of Marina di Ragusa and it is located in the "newer" part of the town. The village is larger than we expected and in the "older" part there is the main square, surrounded by trees with shops all around, including the essential gelateria and coffee bar. There is a small grocery store where we bought a few things on Sunday (yes, on Sunday! It seems that is not the same as in Perugia where everything is closed on Sunday). There is a small church, a paneficio (where we bought our bread), and shops selling fresh fish. This morning we bought fresh broccoli and some fruit and vegetables from a guy with a truck on the side of the road near the main piazza, that were delicious.

The apartment building itself is not fancy. It is a simple, white building, four stories tall with balconies on all the floors, with a locked gate we enter at the street. On the street here there is a sandwich shop (Elio assures us it is only noisy in the summer) and a coffee bar/tavola calda (where you can put together a meal, sort of cafeteria-style). The piazza has a basketball court, where the palm trees are. There is a garage for our car, but so far have felt very safe just parking it on the street in front of the building. There are bicycles we can use if we want to and the city is flat so that could be fun. We think we can stay here for 6 months with no problem. Today, looking out over the turquoise-colored water we think we could stay forever. But I have other stories to tell you about our journey from Perugia to here, so if you want to hear about what we have been doing since the 30th of November, you will have to keep reading.

To read about how we left Perugia and traveled to Sicily, see The Journey South (coming soon, along with more photos. Bear with me as I get caught up!)

Rosemary & Bob

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