Roman Odeon

Remains of a peristyle temple have been uncovered by excavations, incorporated into the foundations of the church of St. Caterina, located next to the south-western corner of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. In the absence of other evidence, fragments of the limestone geison (raking cornice) would permit to date the temple to the mid-3rd century BC. Later, in the 1st/beginning of the 2nd century BC, the temple was flanked on the south side by an odeion, abutting onto its colonnade. The odeion, partly uncovered in 1892-93, is entirely built using the brick-faced concrete technique except for the rear corridor, which is a later addition. The cavea, partly resting on a natural slope, has eleven rows of seats, divided by three staircases into four cunei or sectors. The eighth row up from the orchestra served as gangway, being slightly wider than the rest, and the two vomitoria or passages open onto it. Part of the brick-faced pulpitum (or stage) front survives with a semicircular niche, but the back wooden stage was laid on the steps of a third-century BC temple, which served as backdrop to the odeion. *

Roman Odeon

Roman Odeon

Roman Odeon

Roman Odeon

*from a signboard outside the odeon

13 Comments CherryPie on Nov 19th 2019

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.

Raymond Inmon


20 Comments CherryPie on Nov 17th 2019

The Greek Theatre

The construction of the amphitheater starts probably by the Greeks around the third century. BC, at the time of Hiero II.

To allow the construction was necessary to remove manually from the mountain over 100,000 cubic meters of rock.

The plant was later renovated and expanded by the Romans, who inserted columns, statues and ingenious covers.

The Greek theatre of Taormina, who was born to accommodate dramatic performances or musical, it was transformed during the Roman times to make room for games and gladiatorial battles. This involved the expansion of the orchestra, which in Greek times was destined to the musicians, in order to be adapted to the new function arena.

The theater  is divided into several parts:

The scene

The scene is the most important part that remains of the theater and preserves, in part, its original form. But nothing remains of his ornaments and columns. According to many scholars, the first order was made up of nine columns arranged in groups of three, while the second was formed by sixteen columns lowest equidistant. It is said that these columns arrived by sea to Villagonia, were then attached with ropes and pulled by hordes of slaves to the Theatre. During the Middle Ages most of these columns were removed to build palaces and embellish places of worship, including the Cathedral. The scene is obviously where the actors used to perform.

The orchestra

The orchestra of the theatre was the area was for the musicians, but the choruses and dancers also performed there. In roman age it was trasformed in arena for the games of the gladiators.

The cavea

The cavea is all carved into the rock and could hold up to 5,400 spectators. The steps were separated into two parts; in one sitting spectators, who could also make use of the pillow; in the other half, slightly hollowed, rested his feet that sat on the top step. The first places were definitely reserved to the authorities. Even today, the auditorium is divided into nine sections cuneiform, served eight ladders.

The portici

Behind the wall of the upper closure of the cavea, to increase the number of places, were built brick two large porches that accompanied the whole development of the cavea. The vaults of the arcades supported a terrace each. The first porch supported the lower terrace, divided into several rows of wooden seats reserved for women, while the arc of the second porch, which claimed the highest terrace of the theater, without fixed seats, housed the most humble people.

Access stairs

The scale step makes three turns and narrowed as it rose. In the three carried out there were three doors that introduced the auditorium: the first gave the possibility of entry to the authorities and to the important people, the other spectators had to continue to go up in order to enter the auditorium.

The Greek Theatre

The Greek Theatre

6 Comments CherryPie on Nov 16th 2019

Greek Bath-House

Probably, already in the advanced 1st century AD, this side of the forum seems to have already been occupied by the bath-building, which was enlarged in the 2nd century AD, superimposing and obliterating the Hellenistic public building. Excavations carried out in 1964-1966, and later in 1988 found a row of three heated rooms (calidaria) dated from Antanini era (2nd century AD). the ground plan of the baths does not appear to follow the canonical axial type. It has been assumed , that the tepidarium was also formed by three rooms in a row on the opposite side (north), now incorporated in the houses of Via della Zecca, which can approximately give the overall dimensions of the bath-building as about 38 x 27m. These considerable dimensions as well as the marble crustae of paretial coverings and the mosaic ceilings testify the public character of the baths. *

Greek Bath-House

*from a sign board next to the baths.

8 Comments CherryPie on Nov 14th 2019

…and in the morning, we will remember them.

Lights Out - 4th August 2014

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

6 Comments CherryPie on Nov 11th 2019

Early Morning Sunshine

I got up early to finish my packing then I sat on the French balcony for one last time, enjoying the view of Etna in the early morning sunshine. It was heavenly; birds, bees and the occasional butterfly flew around me. A damsel fly landed and sunbathed on a nearby post.

Smoky Plumes

Smoky Plumes

Smoky Plumes

As soon as Mr C had finished his packing, we enjoyed one last Sicilian breakfast. Afterwards Mr C went to the local shop to buy biscuits (as is the custom) for his work colleagues.   While he was doing this, I had time to watch Etna as it started to belch out frequent ash plumes into the sky. The mountain had been obscured by clouds for a few days. When Mr C returned it was time for us to check out of the hotel and walk along the hotel terrace to pick up our taxi to the airport. We arrived in good time, our taxi had already arrived and the driver Francesco, walked down to meet us and helped me with my luggage. Then we were off on our way to Catania airport.

We traveled in luxury, he drove a Mercedes. His driving style was smooth and steady and we arrived at the airport in super quick time. The temperature was 79°F as we arrived and joined the easyJet queue to check in our baggage. As we were queuing someone next to us in the queue informed us that our flight had been delayed due to Volcanic ash from Etna. We learned later that the wind direction had changed blowing ash towards the airport leading to some of the runways being out of action. The fascinating ash plumes I had been watching earlier were now delivering an entirely different experience for me.

Catania airport was in chaos, people all over the place and not enough seats for everyone to sit on. I had a cappuccino and a marmalade croissant whilst we awaited our flight, delayed by 1 hour 10 minutes. Even getting to the food counter to purchase food was difficult with people milling about in the way.

Although no further announcements had been made about our flight, we decided to go through the boarding gate where we found it to be less chaotic. There was a further flight delay but eventually we boarded our plane where the captain announced that we were third in the queue for takeoff, he was just awaiting the go ahead from traffic control. A little while later a ‘rather fed up’ captain made a further announcement; easyJet had changed the flight plans, the doors and boarding steps would have to be re-opened whilst awaiting the new paperwork to be delivered. The captain quipped that we might see someone rushing across the tarmac with papers in hand. Eventually the doors were re-closed and we were on our way 2 hours later than scheduled.

We arrived at Manchester around 17.45, thankfully our luggage came through quickly. Luggage retrieved we proceeded to the ‘meet and greet’ parking to pick up our car for our homeward journey. The delays meant we had to find somewhere to dine on our way home. Our first choice could fit us in but we would have to wait nearly an hour for food. Mr C perused TripAdvisor for nearby eateries and found the ‘Rifleman Inn’. He phoned to see if they could accommodate us and thankfully they could. The pub was quite hidden away but when we eventually found it, the food was delicious and the waitress was a delight. We got into conversation about her upcoming holidays to Gdansk and a November holiday in Cyprus along with reminiscences about previous holidays.

We eventually got home around 22.00, put the heating on and unpacked…

14 Comments CherryPie on Nov 7th 2019

Corso Umberto

We arrived at breakfast bright and early I opted for the Sicilian breakfast option of Granita and Brioche which I found refreshing. Suitably replete we walked to the bus station to catch a bus to Giordanno-Naxos. When we arrived in Giordanno-Naxos I suggested to Mr C that we checked the location of our return pick up point for the bus. He rushed off ahead across a busy road leaving me to catch up whilst I chose the safer walking option via zebra Crossings. I caught up just as he identified the bus office. When I caught up with him he pointed out the bus office to me.


We then started to walk along the bay in glorious 75f sunshine stopping off for a cappuccino along the way. As we walked along, in places the sea was crashing over the road.

Giordanno-Naxos Harbour

We continued our walk along the bay eventually arriving in the harbour where we found a lovely restaurant called ‘La Lanterna’; it provided pizzas at lunch time.

La Lanterna

We ordered a four seasons pizza; ham, egg, fennel and tomato, to share, it was delicious. We accompanied this with a glass of wine for me and a beer for Mr C. The sea view from the restaurant was spectacular. We lingered over our drinks as we were mesmerised by the breaking waves.

Naxos Taormina Archaeological Park

We retraced our steps along the bay and visited the archaeological park that we had noticed earlier. The museum was excellent and the park extensive, the latter we were not able to explore fully due because of the mid afternoon heat. Afterwards we visited a nearby cafe for a refreshing, hydrating drink before making our way to the nearest bus stop; the opposite end of the bay to where we arrived earlier in the day. We noticed that the buses stopped here less frequently so we walked along the bay towards the main bus stop, passing many bus stops along the way noticing the arrival time increments at each bus stop. The bus should have been behind us as we walked but in reality there was not a bus in sight!

Mr C decided to deviate from this route and back to the road where the bus had dropped us off. Back at that road happy that he knew where he was, we returned to the bus route past the bus office, which was not a the stop after all. As we turned the corner towards the bay we saw two buses at the bus stop, both about to leave. We had missed them!

The next bus was due in 30 minutes. We waited, and waited, and waited a bit longer, by this time two buses were overdue. A bus turned up 15 minutes later than the first bus was scheduled to arrive. The bus was full with very few seats left, we ended up on two seats near the back of the bus. Unfortunately they were in the reclined position and the lever was broken causing a problem for the couple that sat behind us.

Eventually back in Taormina, we purchased some bottled water; we had become dehydrated again. As we walked back along Corso Umberto, I visited a shop that Mr C had pointed out to me earlier in the week; a shop selling Italian leather bags where a particular range had caught my eye. I had a particular colour in mind and Mr C helped me find just the right bag. I tried the bag for size and shape, it was perfect. As I made my purchase I was told that there was a 30% discount off the ticket price and that the bag had been hand painted meaning that all the designs were unique.

Back at the hotel we had to rush to get refreshed for dinner at 7.30 rather than the more normal time 8.00. It was our last night and Mr C had his eye on packing before we went to bed.

San Nicolo Cathedral

We dined in ‘La Lanterna’, although the same name not the same restaurant where we had lunch. We were greeted with a complimentary glass of prosecco to enjoy whilst we considered our menu choices. The restaurant was in a lovely setting but sadly we were the only couple dining there until we had almost finished our meal. The food was delicious and the dessert was served with a complimentary liqueur. The host was attentive but for some reason only topped up Mr C’s glass with wine. This was quite blatant at the end of the meal when, my glass empty, the remainder of the wine was poured into Mr C’s glass!

Hotel Excelsior Palace Terrace

Back at the hotel we sat on the terrace to enjoy the view for one last time. There was a bit of confusion when my drink arrived… Mr C had gone to the bar to order drinks and had not returned before the drinks arrived. I had requested a glass of wine and was surprised when the waiter delivered a glass of prosecco, leading both me and the waiter to be confused. It transpired that Mr C had ordered me a prosecco to make up for the wine experience in the restaurant.

Hotel Excelsior Palace

After a while another couple arrived. They ordered cocktails and were served with a smile and complimentary nibbles. A few minutes later the cushions were being removed from unoccupied chairs. I noticed the porter flicked his eyes to the seat next to me, where I had placed my handbag and camera and by sleight of hand the cushion next to Mr C was removed. How rude!

The other couple were left with their row of cushions intact, leaving us with the uncomfortable feeling that we were not welcome. The bartender was on a day of so once again we were attended to by the pool bartender. We were sorry to miss the usual bartender and not have the opportunity to thank him for his hospitality, informative conversations and advice.

Back in the room, after packing my case I peeped out of the window towards the hotel terrace. The other couple had left but their row of cushions was still in place with their empty drink glasses were still on the table…

12 Comments CherryPie on Nov 6th 2019

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