Panorama of one lovely square, and yes, those are jacarandas off to the left and that’s me off to the right
Lots of garlic!
We are extremely happy to be back in Italy, and Sicily no less. A handful of summer commitments means that we are on a bit of a tight schedule, so this is a brief stop, just six days. And we’re dividing it between the two Sicilian destinations we didn’t quite make it to last year, Catania and Taormina.
Catania, Sicily’s second city after Palermo, is really a beautiful place. It’s got everything we loved about Naples and Palermo — grand but crumbling architecture, laundry hanging everywhere, bright and colorful markets. But it’s a little less chaotic and even a little more elegant.
We can partly credit the great earthquake of 1693, which completely destroyed the city. This led to a rebuild in glorious baroque style with countless grand squares linked by broad beautiful avenues. It’s also a university town, so those lovely squares are packed with vibrant cafes and bars.
Those look like white mulberries. Perhaps my agriculture editor in LaSalle will have insights on this.
And then there is the food. No place else does the arugula taste like this. Or the olive oil. Or the bright red cherry tomatoes. Or the fennel. We’ll be in Italy for just over a month, and we’re pretty happy about that.
CORRECTION: My posting of May 26 incorrectly identified some kind of green produce as cauliflower. Our LaSalle-based agriculture editor provided evidence that cauliflower doesn’t look like that at all.
Did I mention the food yet? Our first lunch in Catania started with this little spread of insanely delicious Sicilian appetizers.
The grand baroque streets of Catania
This saint looks pretty serious. Note also the heavy use of lava stone in architecture — something they have in abundance here at the foot of Mt. Etna.
I’ve never had arugula that tastes anything like the arugula in Italy