Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our last day in Sciacca: 29 Febbraio 2012

We hate to leave.

Arrivederci to the guys at Bar Charlie! They were so very welcoming and generous. The drinks, pastry and foods were so very good! Thanks for being our Poste Italiano too!

We spent most of the day on the rocky beach near Rocco Saint Elmo just off the banchina in the port. I spent most of it sitting there trying to lob rocks to land on a flat reef. Joey searched for coral. We polished off another bottle of Porto Palo vino and snacked under the hot sun!

A last walk out on the banchina and a look and sketch of the city.

Tomorrow at 4:30 a.m. We head up to hill to the bus to Palermo and then home.

Grazie a Mille to Daniele and Emanuela, our hosts at Le Casette del Porto di Sciacca.  You created a very comfortable home away from home with a window on an amazing and beautiful culture.  We really enjoyed watching the action of the port and the everyday lives of the "pesce uomi" (fish men) we endearingly called them.  And many thanks to Manuel and Dilip for all your help (like showing us how to turn the hot water back on after we had inadvertently shut it off, clean linens, answering our many questions, and helping to carry 200 pounds of luggage up the hill to the bus stop).

Thank you all for showing us such a wonderful time in a magical real place!

Our place was on what we call the third floor with the shutters open overlooking Bar Charlie, the hub of social activity for the port.

The rest of this beautiful day: 28 Febbraio 2012

We walked back to our Porto home via the cliff walk promenade overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and had leftover pizza laced with local olive oil and cheese with the doors open to the port below. And local Porto Palo vino! What a fantastic place!

Oh, and Joey went down to Bar Charlie and discovered a new treat! Gelato on a homemade sweet roll!

Then back to Art Cafe for some posting before dinner.

That night we went to the best trattoria yet in Sciacca! The Trattoria del Buongustaio, in the Porta Palermo was so very, very friendly and so very, very, very delicious! Our server helped us, despite the language barrier, with our selections of a antipasto, primo and secondo courses. All fabulous! By the end of the night we understood one another perfectly! Deliciously! Don't miss this place if you are ever in Sciacca (and say ciao from Bernardo and Joey)!

Drying clothes Sciacca style

In some of the photos you have probably noticed our inventive method of drying clothes.

This morning they attacked Joey!

Finding Filippo Benitvegna: 28 Febbraio 2012

By Joey

Twice we have tried to find "fillipo of the heads" and failed. Second to the last day here and we are going to try again. Here's the link to the story about Filippo Benitvegna, the crazy sculptor who carved hundreds of heads in stone and filled his property with them. 

I convinced Bernie to walk there again even though we couldn't be sure it was open (off-season hours). We needed to walk off the cannoli that we had for breakfast.  Beautiful day and we arrived there at 10:30 and the gates were open. I was sooooo happy. It is a really amazing place which I think only pictures can describe. I took a lot of photos. The shear number of heads and how they are displayed is fantastic. I really liked the ones where he very obviously used the shape of the stone to inform the face he'd carve.  

Here is only a tiny fraction of the photos. Bernie worked on a drawing and took photos for future work. We stayed for a couple hours, the only ones there, and when went to leave, we were locked in. A little disconcerting with no phone and not being certain when anyone would return. Bernie discovered a place we could climb over the wall very carefully avoiding the barbed wire. Then we ended up in a field confined by more barbed wire. After searching a bit, we were able to find a place to squeeze through. Whew!

A peaceful place, young artists and seafood stew: 27 Febbraio 2012

Another sunny and warm day is in the making!

After breakfast of Bar Charlie's ricotta filled pastry made by Franco, we go up top. Joey wants to show me a place she found on one of her walks.

It is a very peaceful courtyard shrine and a Norman looking church, Chiesa di S. Maria della Giummare (Church of Saint Maria under the sea).

We discovered Porta San Pietro then threaded our way back down along the old wall.

Back down at Piazza Friscia we found this passageway with tile work. Mosaics composed with fragments of tile, stone and glass from the sea. Up at the end of this Vicolo was a house in the side of the mountain, right in the main part of the city. Workmen were restoring a lower structure. Next time we come back we will have to see the results!

The park across from the Piazza was open so we decided to go in. I wanted to sit and sketch. Joey sat for a while and then went off walking.

While I was working a man stopped and we "talked" and I showed him my sketches. Then a group of four young people stopped. One sat up on the back of the bench and the other ones stood around. I showed them my sketches (and the photos of the finished ones with color, and told them how I did them) and learned they were art school students from Sciacca superior school (high school), Davide, Desiree, Giulia and Francesco. They asked questions and I tried to answer, but we certainly understood enough to make a connection. They are all ceramic majors. Desiree has relatives in the USA one in Brooklyn! Davide's father is a locale ceramiche artistiche and has a shop and studio across the Piazza. Davide gave me the name of "Re di Sicilia"! When Joey came back he took us over to his fathers shop. Lui e stato grazioso (He was charming). They all were! They were really wonderful young people! I am so glad to have met them and shared a moment in time with them. Joey took a picture of me with them that I will post on Facebook. Yes, they all have Facebook pages! Later we went back and met Davide's father Accursio at his shop whose work is molto bello. Bravo. Grazia!

Dinner tonight was a seafood stew with a mix of fresh seafood that Joey bought down here in the Porto. Another tasty dish!

Our time is now winding down here.