Monday, January 30, 2006

The Villa Arezzo, Ragusa province, 1.29.06

This morning as I write you, the sun is shining but it is windier than I have seen. Bob bought me a small, red geranium, which I found had blown over when I opened up the terrace this morning. Yesterday was gorgeous after a rainy couple of days but we cannot complain when we look at the weather in the north. Milan had 14 inches of snow! We are very happy with our decision to come south! It's amazing how much warmer it can be in Marina di Ragusa, than even in Ragusa, only about a 20-minute drive inland. We had fun yesterday taking one of the secondary roads from Ragusa, where we had gone to buy a GPS system for our travels - FINALLY - I think this will save us a lot of grief and hopefully keep us from getting lost and being frustrated which usually causes a lot of "friction" between myself and my husband. So I think of this as a savior of our marriage! (I learned recently that the word for Savior is Salvatore, which I did not realize and find interesting, just as an aside!) Elio, our landlord, came with us to purchase it and made sure we had everything we needed including the little gadget that allows us to attach the phone to the dashboard. (The GPS works with "Bluetooth" through our Nokia phone - the same phone that connects us to the Internet on our laptop.) Now the little beauty is charging up and we will take it for a spin later today to see how it works.

The little country road we drove yesterday took us through the rolling countryside around Ragusa where there are all these low, white stone walls we have absolutely fallen in love with. All these stone farmhouses are sprinkled around, with fields of white and yellow flowers (I believe these are wild, and not a crop of some sort, they are growing so thickly there but I do not know for certain!). We found what looked like an abandoned villa and we imagined ourselves buying it and becoming the sort of "Georgia O'Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz" of Sicily, it has the feel of their studio/ranch in Santa Fe, the way it sits on the property. It has a high wall around and a central building of two floors with a balcony on one side and three or four low buildings that could serve as workshops and studios we dreamed! With enough work, it could become a bed and breakfast. Perhaps we could get our friends and family to come out and help with the restoration in exchange for the opportunity to stay here with us, we pipe-dreamed...In the walled in area, there looks to be a courtyard with palm trees. The path leading to the house (on two sides there were gated entries) is lined with almond trees just beginning to bud. There is a plaque on one of the gates with the name "Arezzo" in colorful ceramic tiles but no other markings or signs of life. The paths leading to the house are overgrown with weeds and flowers and it does not appear as if someone lives there. Still dreaming, we left a note asking if the house was for sale and leaving our phone number! It is now obvious there is no way we could ever afford such a place or the restoration that would surely be entailed. But the feeling of peace and tranquility it gives us to be in this area cannot be measured and besides, we can dream can't we?

Our plans for the coming week are to go to Agrigento, to the Valley of the Temples and the "Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore," the festival of almond trees in bloom that takes place there along with an International Folk Festival. We are researching this now. This we have found to be the most challenging experience. We always seem to have some difficulty finding all the details of these events, like what time do they take place (usually in the evening, we have learned), what exactly is the program of events and what exactly can we expect to see. We eventually manage to acquire the necessary information but sometimes we find out about events only after they have taken place! It's not as if all these little towns have functioning websites, but often they do! We have found that some of these so-called "webmasters" are anything but and just when we think we have found something, the page "cannot be found" when we click our mouse.

No matter, we are enjoying ourselves immensely and grateful for all the experiences we have had. Just being here every day, looking out over the Mediterranean, walking on the beach is enough of an experience. Whatever else we can add to it is gravy.

In the month of February, we also hope to track down festivities for Carnivale and have read that the one in Acireale is outstanding. We'll let you know what we find.

Buon domenica,
Rosemary e Robert


Emi & Jess said...

My name is Emiliano and reading your description of Marina di Ragusa and looking at those pictures makes my heart cry! I am studying at Cornell University but I used to live there in Marina di Ragusa in via Gomez all year. I know it is magical there and how warmer than Ragusa can be. My wife is from Syracuse (NY) and we were living there right after we got married and our dream is to go back as soon as I finish with my PhD. We used to work at the Consorzio that is going to Ragusa 12 minutes from Marina. It is a Dairy Research Center that if you are interested to visit I could contact somebody there for you.
Anyway I should stop daydreaming and get back to work in the cold and gray Ithaca! Enjoy your staying there... you are very lucky! Do you know where the pizzeria "L'Angoletto" is? It is next to the main Church close to the main piazza. We used to go there every friday night to take our pizza home... it is one of the best pizza of the world! Say hi to the pizza-guy if you go there from Emiliano and Jessica ("the guys who moved to the US").
Let me know if you need help or suggestions.

Emi & Jess said... me at if you need help!