Monday, May 22, 2017

See Taormina In Sicily, Host Town For The G7 Summit This Next Weekend

Posted by Peter Quennell

This was of course the G8 group prior to Mr Putin being disinvited. Sorry about that Vlad. Mr Trump is being welcomed, sort of, though security is intense and satires in the media ever moreso. Sorry about that Don. Mr Obama is also in Italy, cycling around somewhere further north, with what seems like zero security detail.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/22/17 at 10:54 PM in The wider contextsItalian context


A mafia don was shot in the head a few days ago at the other end of this really lovely island.

It’s almost 25 years to the day since the anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone was killed in a bomb blast on a motorway on the island.

Attempts to diminish Dr Mignini all flow fundamentally from his role in mafia-fighting. One reason our support for him is without limitation.

Here are several relevant posts to give background and perspective.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/24/17 at 08:32 PM | #

Beautiful video and music, thanks Pete. I have some friends who are visiting Italy now, the Ligurian coast, Cinque Terre in the northwest between Genoa and Pisa. My friend posts several pictures every day and I’m amazed by the beauty! I almost feel like I’m there. Someday!

Posted by Earthling on 05/25/17 at 07:17 AM | #

Hi Earthling.

Exceptionally spectacular coastline there. They researched well! The main highway (autostrada there) had to be built several miles east of the coast and maybe passes through more tunnels than any other stretch of road in the world. Not for the faint of heart, as many of them curve!

That video was shot from a drone, by the look of it a large professional drone with a large camera on board.  This terrific movie below was causing a stir in NYC a few weeks ago. Maybe a quarter of that was shot from a large drone - cheaper than helicopters for sure. Dont miss.

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Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/25/17 at 05:56 PM | #

Here is a past article on Taormina and a slideshow in the tourism pages of the NY Times.

Here’s an article on colorful inhabitants and visitors of Taormina today in the NY Times. Trump has been there previously.

That reminded me that eastern Sicily is actually in the Ioanian Sea, south of the Aegean Sea, two of the Mediterranean’s sub-seas.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/26/17 at 04:09 PM | #

Well that went well…

And a quirky list but okay: 10 things Italy does better than anywhere else, by Jordan Burchette and Silvia Marchetti, on the CNN site. On (9) sports cars Alga Romeo is just entering the US market with the Giulia which in early auto magazine reviews beats out all the competition.

1. Flattery
Depending on whether or not you think the occasional catcall is flattering, you’ll find Italians are aggressively complimentary of friends and beautiful strangers alike.
A historical tool for both disarming and defusing, flattery is the fulcrum on which Italian society teeters.
As Luigi Barzini writes in “The Italians,” “The people have always employed such arts offensively, to gain advantages, destroy rivals and conquer power and wealth; and defensively, as the squid uses ink, to blind and confound powerful men, dictators and tyrants.”
But you’ll likely only notice the catcalls.

2. Hot baths
If flattery doesn’t get you out of your clothes, the peninsula’s 380 spa sites offering healing mud and bubbles will.
Boiling as much beneath the surface as its people, Italy pioneered the world’s first large-scale spas, exporting them as they colonized Europe.
Watery therapies include island baths (such as those on volcanic Ischia), Tuscan hot springs, mountain baths in the town of Bormio and the thermal park of Lake Garda.
Just drinking the mineral-rich water in some places is reputed to be healthy.
So convinced is the Italian government of the healing power of hot springs and geothermal mud packs that it covers the cost of some therapies for its citizens.

3. Cursing
Be it in Italian or any other language, the accent of native Italy turns any expletive into a blunt force instrument.
Rhythmic, staccato and with an almost operatic legato that fuses syllables together like a hammer-on guitar note, swearing here is a performance art.
Inspired mostly by pigs, anatomical exit points and promiscuous women, Italian profanities—which vary by region—sound equal parts dramatic, angry and comical.
Powered by the passion characteristic of the Italian people, the results stun, intimidate and even charm their recipients, sometimes all at once.

4. Beach bumming
With 7,400 kilometers (4,600 miles) of coastline, Italy boasts the most beaches in Europe, as well as 27 marine parks.
Summer temperatures peak in many places at just below 30 C (86 F), compared with the mid 20s (70s F) in France and Portugal.
It’s like swimming in tropical waters, minus the sharks and trinket hawkers.
When it comes to beaches, it’s a tough choice between blinding-white dunes, pebble and even turf shores, but 248 Italian beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for clear waters and unspoiled sands.

5. Changing governments
Italians tear through regimes like their sports cars do dinosaur juice.
Since the end of World War II, Italy has established 63 governments under 39 prime ministers (42 if you count Silvio Berlusconi’s three total terms), and only one has lasted a full five years.
Fearing the rise of another Mussolini, Italy’s constitutional system years ago provided for a weak executive branch that requires majorities in both legislative houses just to get anything done.
That, combined with an already fractured political landscape of small, opposed parties, puts Italy’s average MPG (months per government) barely over 12.

6. Volcanoes
Ten active volcanoes allow Italy’s geology to vent the way voting gives release to its citizens.
The country’s (and Europe’s) largest volcano is Mt. Etna in Sicily, the world’s second most active volcano after Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.
Etna’s spectacular eruptions, soot-blackened scenery, lava flows and extensive caves draw more than a million tourists a year.
It leads TripAdvisor’s top-10 must-see volcanoes list, along with four other Italian spouters, including Mt. Vesuvius.
Etna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, joining three other Italian volcanoes, including the Aeolian islands of Vulcano (no translation prizes there), Lipari and Stromboli, known as the Mediterranean’s Lighthouse for its breathtaking eruptions.

7. Dessert
Apple pie is good and all, and it’s never a bad time for a sticky slice of baklava, but for sheer volume and variety of treats, nothing beats an Italian dessert case.
Much is made of the peninsula’s food, the usual suspects being pizza, pasta and antipasti.
But the real stars of Italian cuisine are gelato, tiramisu, cannoli, Neapolitan, biscotti spumoni, tartufo, zeppole—Italy has nearly as many signature desserts as it’s had governments.
Italian confectioners work in all media, too, combining cakes, cookies and creams both iced and otherwise to create the world’s vastest, tastiest arsenal of desserts.
Ironically, Italians don’t even really eat this stuff, most often preferring a piece of fruit or chocolate after a meal instead.

8. Caving
Rich in crumbly, sieve-like karstic landscapes, Italy is one of the most cave-pocked countries on the planet, with more than 35,000 cavities above ground and thousands more underwater.
Grotta Gigante holds the Guinness World Record for largest accessible cave on Earth at a yawning 850 meters (2,788 feet) wide, with 500 steps that descend 100 meters (328 feet) into the earth.
Other notable caves include the Blue Grotto on Capri, where Emperor Tiberius loved to swim. Inside the Grotta del Vento, winds whip through its tortuous trails at 40 kilometers an hour.

9. Sports cars
Eliciting more turns per head than even its fashion models do, Italy’s catalog of exotic land jets is what Porsche drivers dream about.
What began as a race car manufacturer in the 1930s has become the standard bearer for aspirational autos—in 2012, Ferrari sold just 7,000 cars, but booked $3 billion in revenues.
Meanwhile, Lamborghini may be owned by German Audi now, but the hips are still all Italiano.
Pagani, Alfa Romeo, Maserati—these names are sex on wheels.
Italy doesn’t even crack the top 20 in global auto production, but for out-of-your-league supercars that cover more adolescent male bedroom walls than Kate Upton, no other country can outrace Italy.

10. River cruises
Unlikely to be among the top two or three or hundred things that spring to mind when you think of Italy, river cruising on the peninsula is actually a vibrant business, and new routes keep opening up.
Italian rivers aren’t as long or easily navigated as those in the rest of Europe, but visitors can float from one beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site to another.
Po River Travel, UniWorld and European Waterways offer week-long cruises that take in areas like the Venice Lagoon, Manuta, Padu, the Po Valley and Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 05/28/17 at 11:33 AM | #
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