It was a 6.5 hour train trip (plus an hour delay) from Taranto to Reggio Calabria.
Reggio Calabria is on the ‘toe’, looking like it’s going to punt Sicily into the Tyrrhenian Sea!
From there I took a passenger ferry 30 minutes across to Messina.
It was a calm and smooth trip.
An earthquake and tsunami hit southern Italy on December 28, 1908.
Reggio Calabria, Messina and dozens of nearby coastal towns were almost completely destroyed.
It’s epicentre was under the Strait of Messina, which separates Sicily from the mainland. It measured 7.5 with a tsunami wave of 13 metres. More than 80,000 people were killed in the disaster.
Cities were rebuilt, but in a 20th century style of grid streets lined with large four story buildings. Not unpleasant, but you could be anywhere.
The streets are also very conducive to traffic so pedestrian streets are very welcome!
Many of the major churches have been heavily recreated, but still beautiful.
Cathedral, Bell Tower and Astronomical Clock
Orion Fountain under repair
Then off to Cefalu!
It’s definitely a pretty town sandwiched between sandy beaches, blue water and the 270 metre La Rocca (The Rock).
There is a small beach off the old town
And then a long stretch of beach. It’s 24 oC in October and it’s still a popular beach destination.
But in the summer I’ve heard you can’t even see the sand for people!
But I’m in my happy place because I can wander the little streets and listen to the water. My favourite time is early morning while the locals are out walking and cleaning. Deliveries are being made, little garbage trucks are making their rounds.
What would a pretty town be without a cathedral?
Duomo di Cefalù (1132-1240). Little has changed in over 800 years since it was built in Norman times
It also makes a beautiful open square in the centre of the narrow streets
Sicily has its own special foods, and I’ve been searching them out.
Some from small sandwich shops, some from a deli that focused on take home, and one special meal out.
But all delicious!
Bun toasted with caponata (eggplant, peppers, tomato, onion, balsamic vinegar and a touch of sweet
Bucatini with pistachio pesto
Maccheroni with sardines, fennel, pine nuts, raisins, and toasted breadcrumbs
House made bread and warm focaccia
Mixed Seafood Grill with the most delicious red prawns, mackerel and a nice filet of sea bream underneath
Pantesca salad with tomatoes, olives, capers and spring onion
And some from the mobile markets!
Topping up phone account at the Tabbachi shop (yes, just as it looks, like ‘wacky-tabbacky’
There is usually a vending machine for off-hour sales. Same with pharmacies.
Tomorrow morning it’s a short train trip to Palermo.