The first leg of our sicilian adventure this year includes a visit from my older daughter Lilli and her boyfriend Matt. We’ve agreed to meet in Palermo and then take them to some of our favourite places in Sicily. Frank and I have a couple of days’ time to do a bit more research before they arrive, so we go off to a hot spring we’ve been told about, not far from Palermo in the Trapani direction. We arrive at night to see a beautifully lit temple on the top of a hill, but no sign of a ‘Terme’. Even the next morning, with instructions from a local, it takes us a fair amount of driving up and down various lanes before we get to the place. There’s an obvious desire to keep this spot unmarked and we understand. It is beautiful. A little basin in the middle of high reeds, a few italians with mud-caked faces. Nothing like the throng of people in Saturnia/Toscana. It would not sustain many tourists. For a day, we delve into the hot waters, soaking up energy and warmth. Somehow the information that Frank is a masseur gets out and soon he has a veritable queue of Italian men wanting treatment for their various ailments, right there in the hot spring!
This is definitely a place to take Lilli and Matt to in a few days!
We don’t want to go too far away from Palermo and the airport, so we park overnight in a little town called Terrasini. During a quick trip into town on our bikes that evening, we get the impression that it’s quite a funky little town. There are the most extraordinary sculptures and fountains dotted about, and right in the middle there is a “Café Zero Kilometri”. Next morning, we go there to do some work that requires internet and to find out about the town. We are the first ones in there at 9am, but soon the café fills up with others who have come to do some work on their computers or to meet people to discuss things. It is a veritable hub of activities and meetings, many of them of a political nature, it seems. We meet a Czech woman who lives and works in Terrasini and who puts us in touch with various artists throughout the day. We are introduced to Pino Manzella, a painter who seems to be a focal point of the town, and we are very impressed by a collaborative project which resulted in a travelling exhibition of their work, as well as a book where his paintings on the right hand page are matched by photos on the left hand page, taken by ASADIN, a collective of about 20 photographers. I wish I could procure a link but limited access to the internet has not let me fin anything yet. The book/exhibition is called Sicilie – L’identità Molteplice
Across the years, Manzella went in search of old documents, written on parchment paper, which he uses to paint on. The book states that ‘Sicily, with its excess of light and shadows in its history, is the obsessive centre of his artistic research’. It is very interesting, bringing together all that is incredibly beautiful about Sicily as well as its intractable problems. The juxtaposition of painting and photos engages the mind and heart of the viewer and shows the love the artists have for their homeland.
We pass by the café several times that day and each time, we see people engaged in animated conversation, probably hatching another cultural project. It is great to see creativity at work!
Photos for this chapter are yet to come…
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