Return Home

Home | Bio | Contact

Trip Overview
Part 1: Palermo
Part 2: More Palermo
Part 3: Segesta and Trapani
Part 4: The Greeks and Longi
Part 5: Gangi
Part 6: Siracusa and Modica
Part 7: Enna
Part 8: Mondello and Rome

Sicily Part 8

The EndAbove: Wild flowers in Sicily's spring, view from Mondello, the Tiber River flowing in Rome.
Back through Palermo, a stop at the beach town of Mondello, and then Rome.


As we drove back across Sicily on our way to the airport (boohoo), I was struck anew at the physical beauty of the island. We weren’t quite ready to leave Sicily, so we made a final, short stop. The ragazze who had worked at our Palermo hotel had recommended we visit what they called “their beach.” Mondello is a beach town less than a half hour from the city center if there is no traffic (haha). A long promenade where people stroll, eat gelato, and have a meal edges a white sand beach. It was crowded when we stopped on Pasquetta (the holiday that follows Easter Day), so I can guess summer must be a madhouse. It must also be a welcome escape from Palermo’s summer heat.

Looking back at our nearly three weeks in Sicily, I think my favorite memory was waking up to the guys with the loudspeaker driving a beat-up Panda around Longi selling fresh fish. To go out our door and not see what we thought would be someone running for mayor was such a surprise and such a sweet idea. The old ladies of steep Longi didn't have to make their way downhill to complete their dinner shopping.

More than the great food and stunning backdrop everywhere we went, I take the people's stories with me. In that same little town of Longi, a young man, definitely under 40 years old, runs the B&B business where we stayed. He not only offers rooms scattered around town, but he employs a bunch of young people in the summer to give hiking tours, etc. And that’s not all. He’s created the Nebrodi Adventure Park. About 20 minutes uphill beyond Longi, the park offers kids various mountaineering “rides.” It's about as far from Disneyland as one can imagine—and very popular during the summer. This one guy has re-created Longi. When we left, he gave me his business card and pointed to the character that is the logo for the Adventure Park who looks like Mickey Mouse in hiking gear. He said, “This is my mascot. I created this.” This amazing young guy who drove us to our rooms and helped schlep our luggage has created a world in the Nebrodi mountains—and is proud of his mouse.

And then there was Carmelo in Gangi. This twenty-something was filled with stories about his village. In the mafia’s early days, the town was one of its strongholds. Evidence of that remains today in the fact that the area’s hospital is still located in a much smaller town because Gangi’s mafia didn’t want anything that might attract people they didn’t know. He had a dozen other tales about the Mafia and Mussolini and more. Carmelo and his sister are working on ideas to bring more people to Gangi.

And the people of Enna and their Good Friday and Easter events, and the Swiss couple we met up with in Modica and Enna, and many more. But I’ve run out of steam at the end of this trip to tell more stories but I must say that Sicily was a surprise in every way.