Friday, April 3, 2009

Calascibetta and Palermo

Michael Contreras
Calcio Catania's #1 Fan in
Camarillo, California
Happy Birthday Michael!

Is it really possible that today, April 3, 2009 is his 33rd birthday?

If it's Thursday, we must be on our way to a 6:00 p.m. practice in Palermo with the "VI West Coast Elephants".

Exotic Dubai

Why is it that this strange, far away land has such a strong hold on my consciousness?


For the past two IFL football seasons we have made the trip on Autostrada A19 through the heart of Sicily at least a twenty times.  Every time we get to Enna, the highest provincial capitol in Italy, we comment on this interesting looking town named Calascibetta on a hillside across the way that faces back 6 kilometers at Enna and threaten to stop there someday.  Thursday was finally that day!

Calascibetta's name comes from the Arabic "Qalat-Sciabat" that means "castle on the summit" which fits this town that rises 619 meters (2,030 feet) above sea level.  The town was created during the time that the Norman's reigned in Sicily in the 12th Century. 

Laurie Says:  Every time we approach these two cities, perched on top of these mountains, literally facing each other, while we drive between them through this beautiful valley, all I can think of is the Montagues and the Capulets and wonder. 


You see these square holes in buildings all over Italy.  As I understand it they originally were intended as spots to insert and thus stabilize scaffolding as these buildings were being built and later refurbished.  I like to think of them as adding character to the architecture of Europe.

The Incredible Views from Calascibetta

The view to the left from the courtyard of the ancient, now abandoned Chiesa San Pietro.

The view to Calascibetta's
"Left Field Power Alley"

As you can probably guess from these photos, Calascibetta's main source of income has always come from the rich farm and grazing lands seen here.  Their main crops have been wheat, grapes, olives and legumes.  The valley is also a hub for raising cattle and sheep. 

The "Right Field Power Alley"

Sorry about the last two captions but my beloved Los Angeles Dodgers are about to start the 2009 season.  GO DODGER BLUE!

To the far right is the town of Enna.

A view of Calascibetta from on high

Don't take another step back!

When we got out of the car with cameras in hand, we were spotted by a woman whose house is on the small, quiet, empty Piazza di San Pietro.  She instantly knew that we weren't from these parts and without us asking pointed us to an opening in the fence that we would not have seen. This opening put is right on the edge of the cliff that is supposed to be closed off to the public since part of it has broken away.  Thrill seekers that we are, we were able to cheat certain death to get all of the pictures you just saw.

Chiesa San Piertro

This chiesa (church) is about 400 years old and was officially closed in the 1960's.

Our Newest Sicilian Friend Nicola Buono

This delightful gentleman has lived his whole life in the house behind him which faces the Piazza di San Pietro and is about 75 feet from the abandoned Chiesa and about 150 feet across the Piazza from the cliff.

He told us all about growing up here and playing soccer on the Piazza as a child (I would HATE to be the one who kicked a ball over the cliff), being an altar boy at the Chiesa and getting to ring the two large bells in it's bell tower.  The only time the Chiesa is used now is on the Feast of San Pietro when they will ring the Chiesa's bells off and on for about a week.

Nicola with the Chiesa pondering his "Wonderful Life" on the Piazza...

The back of the Chiesa Madre

This is now Calascibetta's main church and, of course, there are MANY more in town.  Work on this structure started in the 14th Century and the version you see here dates from an 18th Century remodeling.

Calascibetta's Unnamed Fountain

Time for lunch, so we meandered into the town's main Piazza and found this very interesting fountain.  Unfortunately, there was no plaque telling us of the symbolism the statues were depicting or who it was dedicated to so we had to improvise.

Is she giving him her clothes and jewelry or is he offereing her his cloak and arm?  Who are they?

What do you make of this angel, the papal crown and the anguished face?

Oh those fun loving Normans!

Can this qualify as an "Ad-of-the-Day" entry for the Calascibetta Tourism Board?

Paul and his Colomba Cake

Ever since he read about this traditional dolce on his last trip to Milan he has wanted one of these.

In Calascibetta ALL of your dreams
CAN come true!

On to Palermo!

This mountain that looms as you first hit the Tyrrhenian Sea coast is always interesting. 

One of Palermo's ubiquituos fish markets.

With Andrea and Alessio before practice, going over the offensive game plan for the Bologna Warriors game this Saturday in Catania.

Paul working with Gino La Porta
as a Nose Guard

Gino has played two VERY good games for us at Defensive End and is seen here working at his back up position.

What the...

Our mini practice drew the attention of these men who work in the building that shares the wall with our practice facility.  They watched in amazement for about 15 minutes but I think we made some American football converts here as I even heard one of them muttering "Oakland Sucks!" as he went back to work.

Post-Practice DVD Study in the Practice Facility's Coffee Bar

Here we are setting up our high-tech AV equipment on top of a glass topped foosball table to project our Bergamo game DVD onto the bar's wall.

Laurie and Gabriella

Laurie wants her red jacket!  Gabriella was so very gracious in first opening up this auxilary coffee bar since a meeting was going on in the main bar and then letting us turn off all the lights to watch our game DVD while she was still serving refresnments to coaches, spectators and players using the calcio fields.

Gabriella got into the game and was full of good questions about what was going on in this strange but wonderous new game.

Laurie's New Favorite Bookstore 

In Enna for dinner on the way home from Palermo, The Lilliput was a natural for her!

With La Donna Concetta

Concetta is the owner of "La Fontana" in Enna where we ate a few week's ago.  It seemed like the correct choice since they served GREAT garlic bread last time.  Unfortunately, the garlic bread this time was no where near as good as the last time but her dessert, deep fried dough with a powdered sugar dusting was OUTSTANDING!  The soups and main courses were right on as well.

We got home at about 1:00 a.m., after a long but productive day indeed!

No comments: