Each morning in Taormina began with this view. Taormina sits several hundred feet above the sea, buildings snuggled into crannies and crevices accessible through narrow sinuous lanes. (Not as narrow as Ragusa, thank the auto-gods.). Casa Manuel, our base, is located at just about the highest point in town, just below Chiesa Madonna della Rocca, … Read more


Perched on a rocky upcrop above Taormina is the tiny hamlet of Castelmola. We drove there for an evening stroll. A set of stairs (more stairs!) takes you to the reason people make the twisty-turvy drive up: a ruined castle with stunning panoramic views. Someone was burning agricultural waste in the valley below, so our … Read more

Villa Roma Del Casale

On Monday we bid a sad farewell to Ragusa Ibla, after being given a grand send-off from Emanuele. We drove to Taormina via a long detour in order to visit the Villa Roma del Casale. Villa Roma was a very country estate large villa (37,600 sq. ft.) built in the late 3rd century CE by … Read more

Noto and the search for ancestors (mine)

On Saturday we drove higher up into the Iblei Mountains to visit the little town from which my paternal grandparents emigrated 100 years ago, then visited Noto as we looped back to base.  It was our second drive through rolling hills mostly terraced by stacked-stone walls, many tumbling into ruins. My paternal grandfather, Salvatore Buccheri, … Read more


On Friday we made the long drive to Siracusa, one of Sicily’s oldest cities, nestled in a long bay on the coast of the Ionioan Sea. The drive was lovely, up and down rolling hills dotted with olive and pine trees, green meadows, and flattish fields of winter wheat being harvested. At lower elevations, roadway … Read more