martedì 22 febbraio 2011

away from the internet for days and days...

We have been through so many sensations over recent days, in Modica and Palermo. Requiring essays rather than blog bits.

The journey from Siracusa to Modica was a display of extraordinary productive countryside. A film of that below.

We planned three days in Modica choosing to be in a place out of town, surrounded by space, distinct from our experiences elsewhere of living in ancient city centres. A spectacular place, though I draw attention to any who might follow our example that there were a thousand and more steps from our place to the main street of Modica. Went down twice on foot, came back once on foot, once in taxi. Very beautiful place. 

See little film of the Modica passeggiata.

Killer chocolate. We had looked forward to the Modica chocolate, close to Aztec in tradition. Two (or four, or so) pieces and we neither needed more chocolate for days nor could we eat dinner that day.

Thursday in Modica was a deliciously warm day. See small movie of that.

Friday the weather was vicious but we were collected by wonderful friend Silvia Corsini (whose apartment we had rented in Siracusa) and swept away to very generous lunch at the country home of Claudine and Gio Barone, Gio a sculptor, with lovely group of people including architect, art historian and photographer... but leave aside the professions — it was a lovely group of thinking and somewhat radical-minded people with imaginations, meeting whom gave our travels new dimension. Silvia had wanted me to meet in particular Aldo Palazzolo, who kindly brought along a great portfolio of his work for us to see and discuss especially his experiments with 'liquid light'. 

Saturday was clearer and we enjoyed the run through central Sicily by 'Pullman' as buses are known here.  A film of that below.

Sunday in Palermo we found weather much as Sydney winter and a little film of our walk shows that. We are dealing with the world through unpleasant viruses but that does not entirely account for the sense of treacly-ness about doing things here. Great beauty. Extraordinary history. Vivacity and diversity. But it seems, more than anywhere else, a reminder of how young the state of Italy is. Many we deal with in simple transactions and attempted conversations are themselves wrestling with Italian as a second language, which means that while we have been doing well in Italian it can be a more irritated exchange with people who do not understand clear Italian and speak something impenetrably else. Monday when we went out we went past people who still come to our Piazza Porta Carini in mid-town to carry water home from a tap in big plastic containers. A few steps down the street through the Mercato del Capo where we had bought fresh things for breakfast earlier. Turn left again and enter the precinct of the Ministry of Justice; stop to pay respect to the impressive long wall of monument to Magistrates assassinated while pursuing the Mafia in recent decades. Along streets increasingly rough (and interesting) of restorers and sellers of antiques real and imagined (much as Rome centre and Trastevere in the 1960s. To the Cathedral with its remaining fragments of the Norman Cathedral noting on the door who from Roger II was crowned there. Roger on Christmas Day 1130. The Norman boys who went to England did OK and got to stay; these boys sent off south, to ease land inheritance issues for these Viking families come ashore in the lower Sienne valley did exceptionally well. But a hell of a lot harder to hang onto Sicily than England, Sicily at the centre of the world, England the strategic door to the Faeroes. Walk back home through more narrow streets, as a pedestrian, living and moving safely and swiftly, after the manner of and between the graces of Palermo car drivers. Sicily is a place that fails to make it, to get out of poverty, to get good politics, to offer work to the young. So many of those with whatever have left here, over and over again for centuries; successions of outside powers have invaded. It remains, the people remain, the centre of the world. Religion is deeply ingrained, Catholic imagery seems more serious (more real than imagery) and central to life than elsewhere except say in central America or rural Philippines. 

The flatness of Palermo has an effect, intensifying the enclosure, mercifully in late winter; it must be so much greater in summer. We may get to see the end of a street, the spire of a church, but intense life is in small places.

So here are films:






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