Sunday Special – Aegadian Islands, Sicily (Italy)


I am intrigued by many islands in this world. Islands can be a fascinating microcosm of life and that often draws my attention. There a thousands of islands in the world of every size and shape. The largest being Greenland and the smallest….well, there seems to be a few claims so I’ll just leave it at that. Today we’ll look at a group of small islands off the coast of a larger island. The Aegadian (or Egadian) Islands lie in the Tyrrhenian Sea¬†off Sicily’s northwest shores. The three main islands of Favignana, Levanzo, Marettimo and the the two small islands of Formica and Maraone total 37 sq km / 14 sq miles in size. Although not as well known as other Italian islands they do have a historic significance. Age-old cave paintings dating back to the neolithic and paleolithic periods can be found in Levanzo’s Grotta del Genovese. These islands also saw the end of the First Punic War after Romans defeated the Carthaginian fleet in 241 BCE in their very presence. Today the islands mainly attract Sicilians and some tourists looking for beaches, birding, scuba diving and snorkelling, hiking, and fishing. Easily accessible by ferry from Sicily’s city of Trapani or Marsala (Favignana only) you can day-trip or spend a few nights. One can even island hop via the ferry services. An interesting island adventure awaits.

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Levanzo coastline РAegadian Islands, Sicily (Italy) РPhoto credit: Robert Vassallo, Levanzo island Рpanoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0

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Church interior on Favignana Island, Aegadian Islands РPhoto credit: Tommie Hansen, Church at Favignana Island, Sicily (Italy) Рpanoramio, CC BY 3.0

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The waters around Favignana, Aegadian Islands, Sicily РPhoto credit: René Bongard, Crystal clear water at Favignana Рpanoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

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Sunday Special – Florence, Italy


Florence, a city full of architecture, art, history, and culture. This capital city of the Tuscany region saw the dawn of the Renaissance period. It grew on the backdrop of trade, wealth, religion and the power of the Medici family. Today it is a tourist mecca and rightly so as many consider it one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. My first and only visit (to date) was a number of years ago. I recall the the incredible Duomo with its famous red dome, taking in the Ponte Vecchio, seeing stunning works of art at the Uffizi Gallery, and finally seeing Michaelangelo’s David at The Academia¬†(arguably the world’s most stunning statue). Along with these world-renown sites Florence provides much more. Food, coffee, shops, street art, and gardens to picnic in are only a few things to take in. As I think about it, aside from the David I don’t think I appreciated what Florence had to offer as I was fairly young then. I think a do-over is on the horizon.¬†

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Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (a.k.a. Il Duomo), Florence РPhoto via Wikimedia Commons Рtaken and owned by Warburg 

By Warburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Ponte Vecchio, Florence РPhoto via Wikimedia Commons Рtaken and owned by Rolf Sussbrich 

By Rolf S√ľssbrich (Self-photographed) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday Special – Positano, Italy (on the Almalfi Coast)


As the daylight hours here in Vancouver have been reduced due to the sad end of Daylight Savings Time I imagine places that are reknown for their sunkissed beaches. Recently my Instagram feed has seen a number of posts of this small sea-side Italian town. Set upon a hill that is awash with buildings and homes painted in bright hues it was once a busy port city back in the 1700s and 1800s. Now this town is recognized as one of the most picturesque in all of the Almalfi Coast. Author John Steinbeck wrote a magazine article about its charms back in the 1950s. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones were holidaying in Positano when they wrote “Midnight Rambler”. Plenty of beaches, food, and relaxation seem to be what this popular locale is known for.

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nillo Beach, Positing, Italy – Photo from Wikipedia Commons – Michael Grmek

By Mihael Grmek (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

Sunday’s Special – The Colosseum, Rome


As much as I like researching obscure and lesser known whereabouts (at least to me) to feature on Sundays, now and then it is good to post about famous landmarks around the world. Afterall, they are well known for a reason. Rome’s Colosseum¬†is no exception. A truly stunning building that I was able to see a very long time ago and hope to see once again in the foreseeable future.

Started in 72 C.E. by Roman Emperor Vespasian, it took eight years to complete the oval amphitheatre with its eighty arched entryways and an over 50,000 spectator capacity. Under the rule of Emperor Titus the world’s largest amphitheatre was completed in the year 80 C.E. It was in use for centuries as a battleground for Rome’s infamous gladiators as well as used for chariot racing, battle re-enactments, and gruesome events such as executions of both people and animals.

Despite much of the building destroyed due to earthquakes and stone robbers of years past this ancient edifice boasts throngs of tourists and visitors hoping to glimpse a piece of history and stunning age-old architectural design.  Officially built as The Flavian Amphitheatre, it truly is a sight worth seeing.

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons Public Domain by Kevin Brintnall

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The Colosseum, Rome

Photo Credit – Wikimedia Commons – Taken by User Cynageorge

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The Colosseum at lit up at night

Photo credit – Wikimedia Commons Public Domain by Fubar Obfusco

Interior of Roman Colosseum

Interior of Roman Colosseum