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Sicily to Rome - RTS1504

Sunday, November 1, 2015 | Ursula Peter / Domenico Schiano Moriello / Guido De Lorenzo | Europe

Goodbye Bonnie, Jim, Laura, John, Ruth, Joseph, Susan, David, Nina, Neil, Igor, Alex, Jeff, Tom, Karl, Bernd and Georg!!! See you hopefully soon and keep in touch!

 

Ciao!

The whole group arrived safe and sound in ESH hotel in Rome!!! Great job!!

We had our last supper - which was very funny

Tom live....

Yes and we had some awards.....

We met an international group of people in Catania, Sicily in the Hotel "Paradiso dell'Etna" directly on the bottom of the volcano to start the Sicily to Rome tour.

Canadians, Americans, Germans, Australians, Austrians mixed with an German-Italian Tourguide team - anything better possible??

We will be the first 5 days on the Sicilian Island. Rain stopped, weather forecast is good, bikes are ready - so let's go....

Riding day 9, Pompeii - Rome

Last riding day of this wonderful tour, unfortunately! We left Pompeii under a cloudy sky but after a few miles the sky cleared up and we could enjoy a wonderful ride!

 

the "fast" group had a last picture stop high above Sperlonga....

... with a beautiful view over the Mediterranean Sea

John an Laura

First stop in Sperlonga, a very nice little village on the coast, half way between Rome and Naples
The view from Sperlonga
coffee break
Alex playing with the dog...
...that after a while scared this cat!
Last stop before Rome and last treats of the tour

8. Riding Day: Restday Pompeii - Amalfi Coast

Good group, quick decisions - 9 am ready to go at the bikes. That`s what we did.

Drove along the Amalfi coast, had fresh squeezed fruit juice,  a little souvenir shopping in a ceramiche shop, lunch in Amalfi and we visited the Cathedral of San Andrea, stopped in Ravello and headed back over the mountain range of Monte Latari. Another big day. The weather could have been better - but a bad day riding is better than a good day working....

Positano

Cathedral of Amalfi

Some of us enjoyed a walk and a pizza in Naples!
no comment!
The babà, typical neapolitan sweet

7. Riding Day: Maratea - Pompeii

We left the dramatic coast of Basilicata and headed north along the SS18, high up above the coast direction Pompeii. 2 highlights today: Paestum and Pompeii.

We have a big day and a tight schedule. As it gets dark by 5.30 pm and we wanted to bring the group to famous Pompeii to a guided tour we have to be there at latest 2.30 p.m. We will see whether it works.

As you can see - we were not so lucky with the weather. We started in pouring rain.

First stop was at Paestum. Founded around the 7th century BC by the Greek and originally known as Poseidonia.

-120 hectares,

- 3 major temple in Doric style

- Ampitheatre, on Unesco World HeritageList 

On september 9, 1943, Paestum was the location of the landing beaches of the U.S. 36th infantry division during the Allied invasion of Italy. German forces resisted the landings from the outset, causing heavy fighting within and around the town. Combat persisted around the town for nine days before the Germans withdrew to the north.

We planned a picnic - but the rain prevented a lot of work for Guido. We had delicous Antipasti at Caseificio Barlotti - on of the most famous Mozzarella producers of Campania.

Guess who found the place???? I bet you know by now, because he told you sooo often!

water Buffalos

Pompeii

the old Roman town, buried under ash and mud during the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvio in 79 BC. The vast ruins provide a faschinating insight into how the ancient Romans lived, impressive temples, a forum, one of the lagest known Roman amphitheatres, luxurious houses with frescoes and mosaics, fast food shops and last not least a brothel

 

we were happy to see this special exhibition running only another 2 days

Antonella our guide did a good job

Mount Vesuvio in the background

Herculaneum

Since Karl had already been in Pompeii, Domenico and him went together to Herculaneum, another town that was buried by mount Vesuvius during the same eruption of 79AD.

in this picture you can see how much material buried Herculeneum
Herculaneum was a wealthier town than Pompeii, possessing an extraordinary density of fine houses with, for example, far more lavish use of coloured marble cladding.
Unlike Pompeii, the deep pyroclastic material which covered it preserved wooden and other organic-based objects such as roofs, beds, doors, food and even some 300 skeletons which were surprisingly discovered in recent years along the sea shore as it was thought until then that the town had been evacuated by the inhabitants.

Riding day 6, Tropea - Maratea

Two routes today, one group decided to follow the coastline of Calabria until Maratea and the other one took a detour through the inland of this region, with nice curvy roads and almost no traffic!

our bikes parked in Amantea for the first coffee break
the cutest car ever
nobody looks at me....
i know why.....
the spectacular road to the Christ the Redeemerer over Maratea
Jeff, Alex and Igor
bike parking in Altomonte, where we had a delicious lunch
Lunch break
Karl
Again the cutest car in the world, isn't it true Nina and Ruth?
The coffee break in Diamante became a "Ice Cream Break"
blue water in Calabria
Christ the Redeemer in Maratea, one of the biggest statues of jesus in Europe
the beautiful coastline of Maratea

5. Riding Day: Taormina - Tropea

We are leaving Sicily today, crossing the Messina Strait by Ferry (the bridge is not finished yet) and riding up the Calabrian coast. Our destination today is Residence Tirreno in Tropea

that how it looks like if an Italian tourguide is trying to do a group picture

this picture is actually done with another camera

a picture stop on the "race track" near Novara di Sicilia
let's take a last look to the Etna before leaving Sicily

Italy we are coming....

our russian sunnyboys....

after our "slow food" excess in "Tischi Toschi" downtown Taormina yesterday evening - the food was excellent the wine even better - everybody requested a "light lunch" maybe a sandwich....

that`s what we ended up with.... 

... Grotte Azzuro - the place to be in Scilla

John and the castle of Scilla

Jim and Bonnie

David and Sue high above the Calabrian coast

4. Riding Day: Taormina - Mount Etna

Mount Etna

Mount Etna - the mountain of the mountains - 11.000 feet high, still active, snow in winter, one of the greatest vulcanos in Europe. In 1669 a disasterous eruption devastated parts of Catania, in 1910 a violent eruption created 23 additional craters, and 1917 the lava fountain reached 2.500 feet. The last 2001 blast swept away parts of the cable car and reached the Refugio Sapienza.

Coffe on the way up at Refugio Bruneck at Michele

Nina our Australian girl

which direction we gonna go???

Jim and Bonnie

Bernd

the lower slopes are extremely fertile - dense groves of oranges, mandarins, lemons, olives, pears almonds and pistachios. The villages around the vulcano are well known for their culinary arts - pistachios of Bronte, honey of Zafferana, strawberries of Maletto.

Neil - both Neil and Nina went up to the top of Etna

the brothers - Alex and Igor

Taormina

From its location on a rock plateau, Taormina looks out from its balcony over the sea to Mt. Etna. Many famous foreigner constructed villas in the city. Taormina became famous for international jet set.

Taormina by night

Baia Taormina - our beautiful hotel along the coast kept open for Edelweiss only!!!

Thanks a lot to the management and all the staff.

3. Riding Day: Cefalu - Taormina

Today we are crossing the island again through the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains - the Sicilian Apennines. Cork oat trees, beech woods, wild olives, juniper, 150 species of birds - falcon, bussards, ravens, golden eagles, grey herons - and about 70 species of butterflies. The Monti Madonie, reaching 1.979 metres, include the highest elevations in Sicily Apart from Mount Etna

Wild, lonely, quiet - beautiful.

Targa Florio - a memory on the days when they raced on public streets

like real Italians on a sunday morning

ice cream in the brioche, typical sicilian... how was it Joseph?
in the main square of Castelbuono
aristocratic parking in Castelbuono, right under the castle

Gangi

Gangi, founded in the 14 th century is clinching to the hill, overlooking the Etna. You can buy a property in the old town for 1 € but you have to renovate the house within 3 years for at least 50.000 €. A local program to preserve the old town.

The view of Gangi, with mount Etna in the background, so beautiful

Sperlinga

We got the key for the Norman castle of Sperlinga from Nino at the bar

the view of Sperlinga and the surrounding countryside from the top of the castle

curves, curves, curves

in the lava fields of mount Etna

there are also a lot of "lava trees"

Forza d'Agrò - the film set of " The Godfather"

Last picture of the day, what a view from Forza d'Agrò!

2. Riding Day: Agrigento - Cefalu

We crossed the Island today through the mountains and the Mafia villages Prizzi and Corleone. The most notable recent event in Corleone was the arrest in 2006 of Bernardo Provenzano, "Boss of the Bosses", who had been hiding for more than 40 years. This gave rise to much celebration. "Liberation Day" on April 11 (the date Provenzano was captured) and naming a street "11 Aprile" shows just how much the arrest has affected Corleone.

Morning briefing at the Hotel in Agrigento

Our morning coffee break was in Prizzi
picture stop in Corleone, a must on this tour
Ursula prepared one of her famous picnics in the "Bosco della Ficuzza" near Godrano. Very tasty!!!

This picture is specially made for Tom`s wife

Ventimiglia di Sicilia
Tom in Ventimiglia
the castle of Caccamo

Cefalu

The Greek "Kephaloidion", a charming fishing village. 

1131-1240 Cefalu Cathedral - gold coloured, a jewel of Romanesque architecture, built by the Norman King Roger II. The eye is immediately attracted by the fabulous mosaics with the figure of Christ gaying down from the apse.

the little harbour of Cefalù, set of the movie "Nuovo cinema paradiso"

what a beautiful little town. We went for a city walk with the group and we regretted not having more time to spend here. "The boys" skipped dinner in the hotel and enjoyed one of the restaurants at the harbour.

1. Riding Day: Catania - Agrigento

Sicily is full of history - and we have some "history freaks" on tour. So we tourguides have to keep up, which is sometimes challenging but also interesting.

the list of invaders in Sicily is looong: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Spaniards, Normans - erveryone introduced a different language, religion, culture, architecture and of course new kind of plants and food. That why Sicily is so different from the rest of Italy.

our first stop today is Villa Romana del Casale - a stunning Roman Villa - built by a Bill Gates of the 4th century, buried under mud in a 12th century flood, it remained hidden for 700 years before the magnificent floor was discovered in the 1950th.

 

3.500 sq of unique mosaics covering the floor of the Villa.

Not the hunting scenes, not the remarkable scenes of Odysseus made it famous....

... the bikini girls - a big surprise when this mosaic was discovered! By the way, 2006 the Bikini celebrated the 50th birthday

 

Agrigento - Valley of the Temples

a Unesco World Heritage Site. It incorporates a complex of temples and old city walls from the ancient Greek city of Akragas. the whloe area was surrounded by a 13 km long wall - safety against the enemies from the sea. 200.000 people lived there. In contrast to that - now - 52.000 inhabitants of Agrigento built the most ugliest skyscapers in whole Italy.

Hotel Colle Verde

the hotel has not only one of the nicest receptionist on tour, but also a terrace overlooking the temple area. The temples are illuminated at night - what an unreal scenery, you feel like beeing in Greece!

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Add a comment Rate this post
Bonnie Hart
Friday, October 30, 2015 at 21:50

Believe it or not, the pictures don't do this trip justice. Amazing tour guides, wonderful new friends, beautiful scenery. I am sorry this trip must come to an end. Thanks to all of you for an unforgettable time.
Claudia
Sunday, October 25, 2015 at 16:42

Hello to Sicily,
The picnic looks so nice !!!!! Was my first picnic Spot t his year with Edelweiss at the same place..... Have fun and enjoy the warm weather, here in Munich is total November feeling.
Hugs Claudia
Domenico Schiano
Monday, October 26, 2015 at 17:44

Hello Claudia, thank you for your comment, here the weather is still very good and today the ride on mount Etna was fantastic! You have to come back to Sicily!
Greetings from all of us!

Boletín

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