The last two nights in Sicily were spent in the small resort town of Giardini Naxos, which was very quiet this time of year (fine with us, since by this time we were fairly exhausted from climbing temples, long bus rides and moving hotels every few days). In Naxos, we visited the archaeological site of the ancient Greek city there, which consisted mostly of stone foundations and walls, as well as a small museum of artifacts found in the area. We also took the bus up the hill a short distance to the neighboring town of Taormina, a tourist hotspot in summer, now empty during the low-season, and perhaps the most beautiful place we visited. On the ride to Taormina the road snakes along the coast, with incredible views of the blue sea, the hills, and cute villas. The town itself is filled with cute shops selling Sicilian souvenirs: lava and coral jewelry, pottery, limoncello and other liqueurs, marzipan creations, and lace. The most famous site in Taormina, the Greek theater, did not disappoint. Sitting in the theater stands, we looked down on the sparkling water and town below, framed by the ruins and overlooked by snow-capped Mount Etna.
I couldn’t possibly end my account of the trip to Sicily without mentioning food one more time. For these last two nights in Naxos the whole group ate together at the hotel, where they prepared us an incredible multi-course dinner using local ingredients and traditions. For just a sample, here’s what was on the menu the first night:
aperitivo: assorted appetizers and an orange juice cocktail
hors d’oeuvres: steamed mussels or eggplant caponata
primi: swordfish risotto or potato and zucchini soup
secondi: stuffed anchovies or veal stew
side dish: potato and ricotta pie or grilled vegetables
dessert: chocolate and almond cake and cactus fruit