Thursday, March 31, 2005


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NOTE: I lived in Sicily for three years, compliments of the U.S. Navy. They were some of the greatest years of my life as I'm sure these pictures will show. These are but a tip of the iceburg...

Dinner one evening as seen from my balcony, Motta St. Anastasia, Sicily.

The town of Motta St. Anastasia, built atop a molton palisade beneath the shadow of Mt. Etna, seen smoking in the background. This would be my home for three years.

The road to Motta, Sicily.

Fruit sold on the side of the road.

Lemons growing in my backyard.

Oranges growing in my backyard.

Sicilian roof tiles.

Flag-throwers at a Motta Middle-Age fair.

Fire-eater at one of the island's many festivals.

"Geep" (mixed herds of goats and sheep) graze on a hillside outside Motta St. Anastasia.

When I was told that I would be living at the base of Mt. Etna, Europe's most active volcano, I had no idea that I would be treated to nightly displays of exploding lava and coursing rivers of magma.

Mt. Etna releases a smoke ring!

Someone didn't pay attention to the whole "Europe's most active volcano" thing.

Mt. Etna rises above the clouds.

One of hundreds of Nazi pill-boxes that still dot the island to defend against the American and British invasions of WWII.

Mounted on a basalt rock, this Norman fortress lends its name to the town of Aci Castello.

The Aci Trezza rocks as seen from the Aci Castelo fortress. These are the rocks which, according to Homer, were hurled into the sea after the fleeing Ulysses by the blinded cyclops, Polyphemus.

Built on a bluff above the Ionian Sea, Toarmina is Sicily's most famous tourist resort city. Note the Greek theatre.

An island home outside Taormina, rumored to once belong to Sofia Loren. I used it as a snorkling base.

Lovers chat beneath the shadow of a grove of Taormina trees.

A typical Sicilian decorated horse and cart.

Ceramics shop in Caltagirone, Sicily.

Built in 1608 to link the Cathedral with the town center, these 142 tiled steps are one of Caltagirone's most impressive attractions.

A peice of church statuary in Caltagirone, Sicily.

Cefalu's beautiful Norman Cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

The largest necropolis in Sicily, Pantalica's thousands of rock cut tombs, dwellings, and temples (look closely) are a product of the Medieval locals hiding from Arab invaders.

The Cathedral in Palermo, Sicily's capital city.

With better preserved Greek temples than Greece itself, Agrigento's Valley of temples (this one is the Temple of Concord) dates back to the 5th century.

A house-front in Syracuse, Sicily.

The Duomo of Syracuse, a Christian church built atop an ancient Greek temple, the massive pillers of which are integrated into the outer north wall.

Syracuse's town center, Sicily.

Detail at the church of St. John, beneath which are the catacombs where St. Paul spoke on his missionary journey through Syracuse.

Ancient Christian art still adorns the walls of Syracuse's catacombs.

The entrance to the Ear of Dionysius, a quarry carved entirely by slave labor. The pick axe marks still scar the walls. The tyrant Dionysius used to put his most dangerous prisoners here, because the acoustics inside the quarry allowed him to hear their every whisper.

Sicilian sunset.


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A Carnivale reveler poses for a photograph in Venice.

One of the most famous views of Venice from the Grand Canal.

Detail of a house, Venice.

Built in 1591, The Rialto bridge was the only way to cross Venice's Grand Canal until 1854. Providing one of the most striking views of the canal, the interior is lined with shops.

The Palazzo Ducale, which used to house the rulers of Venice, appears to float on air, its massive bulk supported by a laticework of stone loggias and arcades.

Mixing West and East, Venice's Basilica di San Marco, seen here from the rear courtyard, is one of the most beautiful structures in Europe. St. Mark's body rests inside.

Detail of a house, Venice.

A small girl plays with the pigeons in Venice's Piazzo San Marco.

Venice under snowfall.

Just outside of Venice's Piazza San Marco, Harry's Bar was a famous haunt of such authors as Henry James and Ernest Hemingway.

Venice's Santa Maria della Salute, a church supported above the water by thousands of wooden pylons.

A Venician gondelier. Gondeliers do not apply for the job--they are passed down through the generations.

A Venician gondelier waits in his boat for the fog to lift.

Venice's Bridge of Sighs was built as a passage-way between the Palazzo Ducale, where prisoners were tried, and the prison. The small windows afforded thier last views of the outside world; hence the name.

A Venician gondola moves from the shadows into the brilliant setting sun.

A gondola, which costs as much as a German luxury car, bobs in Grand Canal, Venice.

From the top of Basilica di San Marco's campanile one can enjoy sublime views of Venice and, on clear days, the Alps. This is, obviously, not one of those days.

Detail of gondolas, Venice.

Venice's Piazza San Marco, described by Napoleon as the "most elegant drawing room in Europe."

Window, Venice.

Gondelier, Venice.

A priest relaxes with a book on the Vatican steps, Rome.

Detail of the Trevi fountain. According to myth, a coin thrown over the sholder and into the water ensures a return trip to Rome.

Capable of holding up to 55,000 people, the Roman Colosseum was home to deadly gladitorial combats, wild animal fights, and, when flooded, even naval battles!

Detail of the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Roman Forum.

The gorgeous "Flavian Lady" at the Capitoline Museum, Rome.

The buildings of the Roman Forum, "main street" of ancient Rome.

Piazza San Pietro as seen from the top of St. Peter's Basilica; the Vatican.

A view of the Palatine, once the resisence of the emperors; Rome.

The Pantheon, Rome's best preserved ancient building, was a temple to all the gods; now a Catholic church.

The magnificent "Dying Gaul" at the Capitoline Museums, Rome.

Two watchful Carabinieri officers, Rome.

A woman begs for money on the streets of Rome.

The Leaning Tower of Piza is seen creeping out from behind the city's Duomo for which it was originally built to complement but now overshadows.

The Leaning Tower of Piza from which Galileo once conducted his famous experiments on the velocity of falling objects.

The delicious white, green, and pink marbled Duomo of Florence, the fourth largest cathedral in Europe, is topped by Brunelleschi's magnificent dome.

Storm clouds enshroud one of the many statues that line the historic Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

Michelangelo was only 29 when he chisled the breathtaking and colossal "David" -- The Galleria dell' Accademia, Florence.

The Campanile, the bell tower of Florence's stunning Duomo, overlooks the city.

Statue, Vicenza.

Manarola, the Cinque Terre.

A lone fisherman navigates the waters off Manarola.

Vernazza is one of five towns in the Cinque Terre perched dramatically along the side of cliffs. Self-contained, no roads lead to or connect the towns. Each is accessible only by foot, train or sea.

Detail of boats, Cinque Terre.

A small girl leans against a boat in the Cinque Terre town of Vernazza.

One of the largest Gothic cathedrals in the world, Milan's stunning Duomo took 500 years to complete.

A worshiper in Milan's Duomo.

The glass ceiling and dome covering Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an ornate shopping arcade. The designer, Giuseppe Mengoni, fell to his death from this spot shortly before construction was completed.

Leonardo di Vinci considered this massive statue his finest work. However, it was never made during his lifetime. Using his original notebooks, sculptors recently helped di Vinci's horse greet visitors to Milan.

Milan's Duomo.

Candles burn inside Milan's Duomo.

The extraordinary rooftop of Milan's Duomo is covered by 135 spires, innumerable statues, and gargoyles.

A courtyard of Milan's imposing Castello Sforzesco, the interior of which is decorated by Michelangelo and di Vinci.

Caribineri officers, Milan.

A stone angel perches atop Milan's Duomo.

Pigeons taunt an irritated marble lion in front of Milan's Duomo.