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Palermo Is Not Just for the Mafia Anymore

Palermo Is Not Just for the Mafia Anymore | Italia Mia | Scoop.it
For decades, Sicily was a haven for the Mafia. As their grip loosens, the island, and particularly its capital city, is morphing into a fashionable, gorgeous hotbed of tourism.

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Italy This Summer: Comiso in South East Sicily

Italy This Summer: Comiso in South East Sicily | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Comiso in South East Sicily In his second Sicilian report Pat Keenan flew into a new airport, visited a charming town, admired some great artistic riches and had another encounter with dead monks [...]


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Most beautiful beaches in Sicily

Most beautiful beaches in Sicily | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Sicily features a density of beautiful beaches, so many that it is impossible to list every one. But Swide has made an interesting selection of them, so travel with us and get inspired for your summer vacations [...]

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Castelbuono, Sicily, the town of the good air and excellent food

Castelbuono, Sicily, the town of the good air and excellent food | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Castelbuono is a small town in the mountains near Palermo, Sicily.
The unexpected things you see when you look up – like Arabic-inspired towers with shimmering blue fish-scale tiling …
Latin inscription over the gate to the 14th century Sicilian castle which gives the town its name. The castle was originally called Castello del Buon Aere – the good air castle – owing to its breezy position at the top of a hill. [...]

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Cioccolato di Modica | Vintage Italian Chocolate

Cioccolato di Modica | Vintage Italian Chocolate | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Modica chocolate might be an official Italian food, but it has a truly international heritage. chocolate that comes from Modica. When the Spanish arrived in the Americas they learned of chocolate from the Aztecs. Using a special stone rolling pin, the Aztecs would grind cocoa pods and mix them with spices to create Xocoàtl, a chocolate that was considered a sign of wealth and said to confer strength. When the Spanish ruled Sicily they introduced this method of making chocolate to the island.[...]

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Piazza Armerina e Caltagirone in Sicily

Two small towns located in the mountain area of Sicily. No grading was apply on this clip . www.valdasvideo.com
Mariano Pallottini's insight:

Piazza Armerina is an Italian comune in the province of Enna of the autonomous island region of Sicily.
The city of Piazza (as it was called before 1862) originated during the Norman domination in Sicily (11th century), when Lombards settled the central and eastern part of Sicily about 900 years ago, but the area was inhabited since prehistoric times. The city was flourishing also during Roman times, as shown by the notable mosaics at the patrician Villa Romana del Casale.

Caltagirone is a town and comune in the province of Catania in Sicily, about 70 km southwest of Catania. 
The city has been long famous for the production of pottery, particularly maiolica and terra-cotta wares. Nowadays the production is more and more oriented to artistic production of ceramics and terra-cotta sculptures. Other activities are mainly related to agriculture (production of grapes, olives, peaches).

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Catania, Sicily | San Nicolo L’Arena and the labyrinth of learning

Catania, Sicily | San Nicolo L’Arena and the labyrinth of learning | Italia Mia | Scoop.it
San Nicolo L’Arena was the second largest monastery in Europe with endless corridors, cloistered gardens and immense halls. An earthly paradise now populated by students.
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10 things to know before visiting Sicily - CNN

10 things to know before visiting Sicily - CNN | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Sicily has beautiful black-sand beaches, a volcano to ski on and desserts to satisfy the sweetest tooth.
Plus 8,000 mummified citizens in the catacombs of Palermo, to keep you awake at night.
Oh, and the Mafia? There are hundreds of places to eat, shop and sleep run by Sicilians who have said no to organized crime.
1. Sicily isn't all that Italian
2. If you meet the Mafia, you won't know it
3. The bikini is very old news here
4. Sicily rivals Greece for ancient Greek architecture
5. Desserts will satisfy the sweetest tooth
6. Manners remain very formal
7. You can ski on a volcano
8. Mummies are a weird attraction
9. The beaches are black and white
10. The wine's no longer all swill

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The Regions of Italy, From A to Z

The Regions of Italy, From A to Z | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Do you know Italy… by region? It might seem like a lot to ask, but if you’re planning a trip to Italy, knowing Italy’s regions is a great place to start!

The country is broken up into 20 official regions, which you can think of as districts—similar to states or provinces. What are the different regions, what are they known for, and which ones should you travel to? Here’s help!

(How many of the 20 regions have you heard of, or been to? Tell us in the comments!).

Abruzzo
Aosta Valley
Basilicata
Calabria
Campania
Emilia-Romagna
Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Lazio
Le Marche
Liguria
Lombardy
Molise
Piedmont
Puglia
Sardinia
Sicily
Trentino-Alto Aldige
Tuscany
Umbria
Veneto

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Looking for Properties in Italy?  http://www.greatestate.it 

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Michael Housewright's comment, May 8, 2013 2:01 PM
I have been to all 20 and return to my favorites every year. I would love more time in Campania, Piemonte, and Liguria this year
Rosa Díaz García's curator insight, June 3, 12:17 PM

Para situar mejor  sus obras y artistas más conocidos y conocer un poco más las regiones de ...

Blue Box's curator insight, July 6, 3:38 AM

We are in Sardinia!!! Check us also on fb and instagram! al Conte Cavour Bed and breakfast

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Easter Events in Italy: Madonna Vasa Vasa, Modica, Sicily

Vasa Vasa (Kiss, Kiss/Cheek To Cheek)
On Easter Sunday morning in the town of Modica in southeast Sicily, there are two processions. One set of bearers carries a statue of the Risen Christ and the other one of the Virgin Mary clad in back. They are carried around the town’s main street, Corso Umberto, until they meet. The Virgin is so enthusiastic to see her son that she throws off her black robes to reveal a celestial blue cloak and red dress. Her arms move from her side to open in embrace, as she leans forward she plants two kisses, Italian style – in Sicilian dialect the ‘Vasa Vasa’ – to the sound of a brass band, church bells and fireworks. The Virgin is overcome with joy and confetti bursts forth from her golden crown. Doves are released in the air as a symbol of peace.
Location: Modica, Ragusa, Sicily
Date: Easter Sunday 31 March
Website: http://www.comune.modica.gov.it/ 

Mariano Pallottini's insight:

Text from the article: Top 10 Easter Events In Italy 2013 you can open here: http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy-featured/settimana-santa/top-10-easter-events-italy-2013

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9 of the Fifty great cultural tours for 2013 proposed by Telegraph

9 of the Fifty great cultural tours for 2013 proposed by Telegraph | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Below I have picked out 9 italian of 50 international best cultural tours for 2013

  • 6 Emperors and Artists, Italy

A great option for those new to the cultural treasures of Italy, this tour promises all the show-shopping Italian moments, from gondola rides in Venice to gelati in the Roman sunshine. It also offers a snapshot of Italy’s artistic legacy, including an expert-guided tour of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery; and the many artistic riches housed in the Vatican City at Rome, including that famous paint-job by Michelangelo.
July 8 and 22, from £4,489 (0845 485 1525; abercrombiekent.com)

  • 8 Norman Might, Baroque Splendours: Puglia Across the Ages

The historian Charles Freeman leads this “leisurely” exploration of Puglia, the heel of Italy. It includes visits to a wide range of monuments from medieval and later periods, and time to absorb the magnificent Baroque architecture of Lecce and the much lesser-known Norman cathedrals and castles of the regio.
September 23-30, £1,995. Ciceroni Travel (01869 811167; ciceroni.co.uk)

  • 11 Florentine Palazzi

A new itinerary focusing on Renaissance palaces and allowing access to several that are normally closed to the public. These include Palazzi Corsini, Lanfredini, Pandolfini and Capponi all’Annunziata. Special arrangements also allow entry to the Uffizi’s 16th-century Vasari Corridor. The leader is Dr Joachim Strupp, an expert in Italian art.
November 6-10, £1,920. Martin Randall Travel

  • 15 The Ancient Greeks and Romans of Naples

Rupert Smith, a classicist and teacher, brings the stories of ancient Greece and Rome to life on this week-long Easter holiday tour aimed at families with children aged 11 and over. Boat rides and a stay on a mozzarella farm combine with trips to Naples, Pompeii, Amalfi and Paestum to provide a good balance of fun and education.
April 4-11, £1,630 excluding flights. Cazenove and Lloyd (020 7384 2332; cazloyd.com)

  • 23 Pompeii, Herculaneum & Classical Campania

A chance for special, behind-the-scenes access to some of Pompeii’s private monuments and buildings is why this tour is among Andante Travels’ most popular options. Spring and autumn departures are led by a range of expert lecturers including William Manning, Emeritus Professor of Roman Archaeology at Cardiff University.
Seven departures March to May and September to October, £1,365. Andante Travels (01722 713800; andantetravels.com)

  • 34 Verdi at La Scala, Milan

Kirker is offering several trips to La Scala; given that this is Verdi’s year, the one that includes two of his greatest works in three days looks like the one to pick. The productions of Aida and Don Carlo are conducted by Fabio Luisi, and the trip is accompanied by Sandy Burnett, the musician and former Radio 3 presenter. October 28-31, £1,290. Kirker Holidays (020 7593 1899; kirkerholidays.com)

  • 41 Eastern Sicily

Private visits to gardens in the company of Robin Lane Fox, reader in ancient history at Oxford University, gardener and occasional contributor to Telegraph Travel. The itinerary includes palaces in Catania and Syracuse, the amphitheatre at Taormina, the Baroque town of Noto and a trip to see the Riace bronzes.
Sept 13-19, £2,985 excluding flights. Fine Art Travel (020 7437 8553; finearttravel.co.uk)

  • 45 Gastronomic Piedmont

Piedmont, centre of the Slow Food movement, arguably takes its food and wine more seriously than anywhere else in Italy. This tour includes visits to Alba, the world’s white-truffle capital, and to several Barolo wineries, plus meals at simple trattorias and Michelin-starred restaurants. It also leaves time to explore the region’s art and architecture – which are also of the highest order. The lecturer is Marc Millon, co-author of Frommer’s Food Lover’s Companion to Italy.
Oct 5-11, £2,660. Martin Randall Travel (020 8742 3355; martinrandall.co.uk)

  • 46 Gastronomic tour of Sicily

Peter Sommer is best known for his cultural cruises in Turkish gulets, but he also offers themed trips to other European destinations. This itinerary in Sicily takes in both gastronomical and historical highlights and is led by Marcello Baglioni, a cultural specialist, and Dr Michael Metcalfe, an archaeologist. It includes cooking classes, visits to local producers of cheese, olives, honey and wines, and numerous tastings, including one of traditional modicano chocolate.
Oct 5-12, £2,495 excluding flights. Peter Sommer (01600 888220; petersommer.com)

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Festa of Santa Lucia, Syracuse, Sicily

Festa of Santa Lucia, Syracuse, Sicily | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

During the Festa, the statue of Santa Lucia is carried through the streets of Syracuse, no mean feat considering that the statue alone is made of 90 kilos of silver, and it stands on a huge base of carved silver – no wonder it takes 60 men to carry it.  But back to those eyes on a plate.

Several versions of Lucia’s martyrdom are told, including having her eyes gouged out by Diocletian soldiers when she refused to renounce her Christian faith, or even tearing her own eyes out in a rather overly dramatic gesture of her dedication to Christ.  Therefore, Santa Lucia is commonly depicted with the symbol of her eyes on a plate.  Syracuse’s splendid statue of Lucia is no exception. Lucia’s right hand holds a plate, offering her eyes to God.

The name Lucia comes from the word luce – light.  She is the protector of eyesight, the patron saint of Syracuse, of ophthalmologists and electricians, and of the blind.

The Festa of Santa Lucia begins with the statue being carried out of the Duomo on the shoulders of the berretti verdi – green berets – accompanied by a raucous display of fireworks. The procession becomes solemn as it slowly winds along the waterfront and through the city until dusk, when the statue is carried into the Church of Santa Lucia, where it remains for 8 days.  On December 20, traditionally the shortest day of the year with the least luce, the statue is carried back to the Duomo in another procession, and locked away until the following May.

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Sicilian Tour: The perfect itinerary

Sicilian Tour: The perfect itinerary | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Sicily is full of history and culture and it’s hard to pick among a wide range of locations if you are planning a visit – or if you are just curious about the highlights of this Region. This week we take the tour of whole Sicily just as you should do if you are visiting it this summer.

Mariano Pallottini's insight:
  • Palermo
  • Mondello beach 
  • Aeolian Islands: Lipari, Alicudi, Filicudi, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea
  • Taormina
  • Etna park
  • Catania
  • Syracuse
  • Modica
  • Ragusa
  • Noto
  • Caltagirone
  • Selinunte, Segesta and Agrigento
  • Temples Agrigento
  • Trapani, Erice and Scopello
  • Aegadian islands
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Palermo’s Belle Epoque at the Grand Hotel et des Palmes

Palermo’s Belle Epoque at  the Grand Hotel et des Palmes | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Not many hotels inspire. In fact many of them are sad, grimy establishments. Not so the Grand Hotel et des Palmes. You only have to walk through the main foyer doors here to breathe the atmosphere of history and intrigue.
in 1882 Wagner, the German composer, came to the hotel looking for inspiration to finish his final opera, Parsifal.
Renoir, the French impressionist, popped in to paint Wagner’s portrait in celebration.
In 1885, the French writer Guy de Maupassant arrived.
Another illustrious guest, Raymond Roussell, novelist and playwright, checked in in the early 1930s.
Renato Guttuso, the Sicilian painter; Carla Fracci, Burt Lancaster when he was filming the Gattopardo (The Leopard) in Palermo.
Arthur Miller and American Colonel Charles Poletti who made it his headquarters after the Operation Husky allied landings in Sicily in 1943.
The last infamous gathering in the hotel lounge was the alleged 1957 mafia summit organized by Lucky Luciano.

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Easter and Holy Week Rituals in Sicily: Buona Pasqua

Easter and Holy Week Rituals in Sicily: Buona Pasqua | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Many towns in Sicily have a strong tradition of religious rites and ceremonies that date from the Spanish Domination of the 15th-17th centuries. These rites are demonstrated during mystic Holy Week celebrations.

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List of World Heritage Sites in Italy

List of World Heritage Sites in Italy

This article lists the 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy, ordered by when they were added to the list.

Mariano Pallottini's insight:

Did you know that Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, 49 in total, followed by China with 45, and Spain with 44? The two most recent additions to the impressive list came last June when the ever spectacular Mt. Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano, Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany - were added.

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Twenty destinations for 2014: Egadi, Italy - Telegraph

Twenty destinations for 2014: Egadi, Italy - Telegraph | Italia Mia | Scoop.it
This tiny archipelago off Sicily's west coast will transport you back to la dolce vita, Fifties-style

The Egadi Islands are a tiny archipelago off Sicily’s west coast. I first visited them in the early Nineties and in the 20-odd years since it’s safe to say that little has changed.

Whereas the Armani set has descended on other Sicilian islands such as Lipari and Pantelleria, leading to a rash of smart hotels and high summer prices, Levanzo, Favignana and Marettimo remain, for the most part, as sleepy, peaceful and unaffected as ever. [...]

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Sicily unveiled on air

Sicily unveiled on air (promo 2013) “Sicily unveiled” - short documentaries series for TV and web, written by Jean Paul Barreaud & Gabriele Gismondi (gabrielegismondi.com) in collaboration with Alessio Algeri (sicilylapse.com).

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Palermo: a girl's guide to the best hotels, shops and restaurants - Telegraph

Palermo: a girl's guide to the best hotels, shops and restaurants - Telegraph | Italia Mia | Scoop.it
Wander the bustling Sicilian capital, a city rich with history and discover ancient markets, fabulous stret food and fine wines.
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The best time to visit this Sicilian coastal town is right about now

The best time to visit this Sicilian coastal town is right about now | Italia Mia | Scoop.it
Explore Taormina in the fall and you’ll miss the summer crowds, giving you room to revel in the elegant architecture and Michelin-starred restaurants – not to mention made-to-order cannoli...
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Easter in Sicily: Abballu Di Li Diavuli - Dance Of The Devils

Easter in Sicily: Abballu Di Li Diavuli - Dance Of The Devils | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

On Easter Sunday morning, in the small Sicilian town of Prizzi near Palermo, two locals don gruesome red, metal masks and red robes to disguise themselves as devils, joined by another masked local dressed in yellow representing Death in a ritual that dates to medieval times. They walk through the town offering money and sweets in an attempt to tempt as many people as possible and transport their souls to hell. However, their plans are thwarted in the early afternoon when they encounter statues of the Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ in a procession escorted by two angels holding swords. The meeting between good and evil is known as the ‘Dance Of The Devils’ because the devils and dance around to avoid meeting the Christ and the Virgin. Good triumphs over evil when the statues of the Virgin and Christ meet, and the angels defeat the devils.
Location: Prizzi, Palermo, Sicily
Date: Easter Sunday 31 March
Website: http://www.prolocohippanaprizzi.it/page_ballo_diavoli.html 

Mariano Pallottini's insight:

Text from a great ITALY's article: Top 10 Easter Events In Italy 2013  you can open here: 

http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy-featured/settimana-santa/top-10-easter-events-italy-2013

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Italian beach crowned best in world by TripAdvisor voters

Italian beach crowned best in world by TripAdvisor voters | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

A remote beach in Sicily, Italy, was named on Thursday as the best beach in the world by a survey of travellers, while a UK beach managed to sneak into the top 10.
Rabbit Beach came top in the first annual awards for the world's best beach based on millions of reviews and ratings by international tourists on the TripAdvisor website.
Rabbit Beach, on the island of Lampedusa off the south coast of Sicily, was described as an unspoiled nature reserve that can only be accessed by boat and one of the few places in the Mediterranean where loggerhead sea turtles go to lay their eggs.[...]
"Rabbit Beach's is clearly a big hit with travellers and it's easy to see why with its stunning turquoise water and white sand," said TripAdvisor spokeswoman Emma Shaw.[...]
Shaw said this award would be a boost for Sicily's tourism.
TripAdvisor's list of the Top 10 beaches in the world:

  1. Rabbit Beach, Sicily - Italy
  2. Grace Bay, Providenciales - Turks and Caicos
  3. Whitehaven Beach, Queensland - Australia
  4. Baia do Sancho, Fernando de Noronha - Brazil
  5. Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco), Culebra - Puerto Rico
  6. Playa de las Catedrales, Ribadeo - Spain
  7. Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande - Brazil
  8. Horseshoe Bay Beach, Southampton Parish - Bermuda
  9. Eagle Beach - Aruba
  10. Rhossili Bay, Rhossili, Swansea - Wales, UK
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A Palermo market taste of the Orient

A Palermo market taste of the Orient | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

A tour of the noisy Palermo market resembles a visit to an Oriental bazaar. Here you can have all senses are battered by crowding, shouting and strange sights and odours as a reminder of Sicily’s historical ties with the Arab world and the proximity to North Africa.[...]
In Palermo dialect Vucceria means ‘confusion’ and the market generally lives up to this name. It is open long into the evening, which may explain the local saying ‘quannu e balati ra Vucciria s’asciucanu’ – when the Vucceria pavement becomes dry – as an indication of something that will never happen.[...]

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Bronze Age Cave Paintings Discovered In Sicily

Bronze Age Cave Paintings Discovered In Sicily | Italia Mia | Scoop.it

Cave paintings found on the small island of Favignana in the Aegadian Islands off the northwest coast of Sicily are believed to be 10,000 years old.

Said to be in a perfect state of preservation, the cave paintings date to the Eneolithic phase of the Bronze Age. They consist of five, monochrome stylised male anthropomorphic figures and some animals resembling fish, deer and hare. There are also some pictorial signs that are still being studied for their meaning.

Most likely, the paintings were created when the modern-day island of Favignana was connected to Sicily by a bridge of land in prehistoric times. They are located on two adjacent walls of the Grotto dell’Ucciria (Ucciria Cave).

Geoarchaeologist Francesco Torre told the ‘Corriere del Mezzogiorno’ that the paintings strike a new note in Italian prehistoric rock art for their naturalism and confident painting technique, which is reminiscent of the best expressions of rock art found in France and Spain.

The figures representing men have wiry bodies with their arms and legs spread apart. The size of their penises is accentuated and their heads are a continuation of their trunks. The head of one of the figures is shaped like a globe, as if wearing a headdress. Similar figures have been found in Spain and in France.

All the figures are painted in black, perhaps using manganese oxides or bat guano, mixed with sap from the tree spurge plant, which is found on the islands.

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