How had Friday, the end of our week here, arrived so hastily? And with it came the sadness of farewells to people and place, but also the excitement of embarking for Chiusa Scalfani, the hometown of Sal's father. Arrivedercis taken care of with promises of "la prossima volta in Texas", we left Rosanna, Greta, and Alessandro to enjoy their day on the beach while we made our way inland.
The journey to Chiusa Scalfani was extended by an hour more than planned...thank you, GPS...but did afford us magnificent views of the remote inland of Sicily. Hardly another car passed opposite as we followed narrow highways that snaked and climbed through extensive, rolling countryside punctuated by fields, vineyards, and olive groves. Towns were only occasional, appearing like earth-toned blankets draped casually across sloping hillsides.
What a brilliant Sicilian morning we arose to! Quite possibly the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean pours itself into the skies above, thus creating the azure canopy that greeted us. Whatever - the morning sky was mesmerizing!
Just as we finished munching on a fine array of breakfast choices provided by the hotel (and shared with about 1,000 bees out on the deck -- "So that's why no one else was out here!!"), our friend Rossana from the northern Italian town of Cremona, her niece Greta, and Greta's boyfriend Alessandro arrived. They would be joining us for this week of exploring a slice of Sicily: the first time here for them, as well. Greta and Alessandro spoke little, if any, English, so our acquired Italian would sure get a welcome work out!
Sal and Winnie joined us shortly thereafter, and a little caffè and chat concluded with plans to journey southwest to the ancient theatre and temple in Segesta.
Segesta's recorded history begins in 500 BC, but archeological evidence points to an earlier settlement called Egesta which was established by the Elymians, one of Sicily's indigenous cultures. Experts believe they arrived on the island from Asia Minor somewhere around 1200 BC. By the time the temple was built pre-460 BC, the Greeks had assimilated themselves with the Elymians.
Author Vicenzo Salerno writes a great little article on this topic, which also includes an interesting blurb (at least to us history geeks) on a DNA study tracing the origins of 21st century Sicilians.
Paula A. Reynolds
Lover of travel and life's many other blessings!