Susan's sketchbook log: Sicily & Malta


"Bella! Bellissima!!"

Santa Catarina, TaorminaSix miles outside of Palermo (a short but hair-raising taxi ride), the hilltop town of Monreale is well worth the visit.

The Monreale cathedral is the last and most stunning of the Norman churches of Sicily and is viewed as one of the architectural wonders of the Middle Ages.

I spent most of a morning painting in the cloisters, which represent the flowering of Islamic architecture in Sicily. Devout Sicilians, one is told, often refer to these cloisters as a "preview of Paradise." Pointed arches link 228 twin columns, each with a different design, many decorated with mosaics or reliefs.

Outside the cathedral, I was walking behind an Italian woman who was talking on her mobile. Her comments pretty muched summed up the stupendous day:

"Bella! Bellissima, la giornata! Estupenda!"

To some degree, every day in Italy is beautiful because you get to eat. The bread in Sicily is peculiarly golden. I read an explanation but have already forgotten. Anyway -- big surprise -- it's really good.

And even though the dollar has sunk to an all-time low against the euro, the local wine remains a good buy. I love ordering "un quartino di rosso" and getting a sweet little ceramic pitcher of thoroughly drinkable red. | sklog home | previous | next

© Copyright 2007 Susan K. Miller. All Rights Reserved.