Friday, May 29, 2009

Last W.C.E. Palermo Practice

Thursday was our final trip to Palermo to meet with the West Coast Elephants for practice in the Eurocalcio Complex.  As is our custom, we left Aci Castello early enough to do a little sight seeing on the left coast of Sicily.

We were inspired today by an article from the April 17, 2009 Los Angeles Times that Paul's sister, Dianne Flowers, sent him about the town of Salemi.

The town was founded in the 9th Century by Arabs and derives its name from the Arabic salaam meaning peace.  In 1968 a devastating earthquake hit Salemi destroying over 3,500 homes.  The town spent much of the next four decades in a slumber until a flamboyant new mayor was elected in 2008.

Salemi Mayor Vittorio Sgarbi 

Mayor Sgarbi is an art historian, political brawler, television madman and media hog, according to the article.  He is full of ideas to revitalize this town of 11,800 inhabitants which is why we decided to drive about an hour past Palermo to this hill top town, complete with castle.

Siesta Time

By the time we got there, it was siesta time and just about everything was closed except a few coffee bars like this one that served a great sandwich.

Paul checking out the Salemi map

He is trying to find the location of the City Hall.

All tourists really should know what a Mafioso looks like.

Apparently this area has a strong Mafia presence.  According to the Los Angeles Times article, Salemi was the scene of a clandestine summit meeting in 1987 during which an Italian prime minister exchanged the ritualistic "kiss of honor" with a murderous Mafia chief. 

Why are we in Salemi you ask?

The new mayor's plans includes selling earthquake ravaged, abandoned homes for ONE EURO, about $1.30!  Buyers must commit themselves to restoring the property.  Rock star Peter Gabriel has bought a home here and Paul is interested in coughing up the neccesary Euro.

These might require a little more work.

The old town church sports a new façade

Inside it is still old school.

Mary and the baby Jesus pushing the use of the Scapular

Mike Contreras never leaves home without it.  This is the Catholic Church's equivalent of a Monopoly "Get Out of Jail" card.  Tradition says that if you are wearing one at the time of your death, you go straight to heaven, no questions asked.

Liduvina, who is this saint?

I have no clues for you on this one found is Salemi's church.

This ornate altar piece was apparently made in 1612.

Salemi's agricultural countryside

Salemi from the base of the town

More on this Salemi shepard at the bottom of this post. 

Grazing in Salemi

Our timing was off since the City Hall would not open until 4:30 and we had to be at practice in Palermo at 6:00.  We moved on but I couldn't help thinking about all the possibilities of being a virtual Sicilian land baron with the 10 Euro note in my wallet. 


On the way back to Palermo, we did have time for a quick visit to Segesta.  First a town inhabited by the Elymians, it would eventually be taken over by the Greeks and Romans.

Since I visited the well preserved Doric temple last year and we saw the temples at Agrigento last week, we decided to take the shuttle bus to the top of the mountain to see the Greek Theater.

The Doric Temple

In the Greek style, this temple was actually built by the Elymians according to our resident expert, Denver Wade.

The view from the 3rd Century BC
Greek Theater

As always the Romans would eventually adapt it to their needs, but it was the Greeks who always seemed to have the knack for stunning sight lines.

Top Row Center

Paul reminisces about the first time he saw a play here in 157 AD

Some top row seats still have backs

Views from one of Segesta's hill top buildings

An archaeologist logging in new data.  The work at Segesta continues.

Two Palermo calcio fans working out at the Eurocalcio Complex

Alessio and Andrea doing some footwork drills.

Fight for the ball!

Drive Block

DB work is often like watching a ballet.

GREAT job today Manolo and Roberto!

Alessio and Gino about to do battle.

Refrigerator Perry II?

Andrea will be our secret weapon at running back this week against the Lazio Marines.

The W.C.E. pose for one last photo

On the drive home we estimated that we had only two player absences in all of our trips to Palermo.

What if every practice in Catania had the 95% attendance that the W.C.E. practices have had?

Dinner in Enna at the
Ristorante "Centrale" di Gaetano Pirrera

I HATE DRIVING UP TO ENNA!  Mostly because Garmin gets me hopelessly lost each time.  Enna is a VERY high hill top town in the center of Sicily and is about half way between Palermo and Catania.  We decided to stop one last time here for a late dinner.  Thank goodness that the food was great, it made the driving frustration of the town a little more tolerable. 

Salemi shepard tending his flock

Laurie wants you to experience a little more of the Salemi sheep scene.  ENJOY!


MIPC said...

if you want to apply for one of the 1 euro houses you can do so via our website. I can provide it to you if you wish ?

George said...

Please do!