Archive | January, 2016

Say it Isn’t “Snow”

24 Jan

With much of the eastern part of the U.S. blanketed in snow, Chicago has been quite lucky as the storms only waved as they passed by our city. That said, it’s still quite cold,  so I have been happily anticipating spending a warm spring in Sicily. As I was making our car reservations, however, I kept noticing warnings in the fine print about renting snow chains through mid April:

Note: Winter Equipment
For most Italian provinces, there is the requirement to fit winter tires or have a set of snow chains on board specifically for the type of vehicle hired in the period between November 15th and April 15th.

Certainly, they must be referring to northern Italy, I surmised. And then this week, I saw an article in The Local, an online Italian newspaper: Sicily shivers at first snowfall of 2016

Per the article,

Snow fell on Sunday night, leaving Mount Etna and surrounding towns covered in the white stuff, along with several other towns and villages of altitudes around 600 metres.

While snow on Mount Etna and its environs isn’t unusual, residents of the Aeolian Islands, including the volcanic island of Stromboli, and towns near the Madonie mountain range, also experienced deep snowfall, with many of them taking to Twitter and using the hashtag ‘#nevesicilia’ (snow Sicily) to share their photos.

Ferry services to the islands have been suspended, with a 35-year-old who went into labour on the island of Lipari on Saturday night having to be flown by helicopter to a hospital in the Sicilian city of Milazzo, Ansa reported.

La Stampa reported that schools were closed in several Sicilian towns, and warned of the dangers of icy roads – particularly in more isolated communities – as temperatures dropped below zero degrees.

photo by Marco Triolo

Looks like we’ll be renting snow chains after all. Just hope we won’t need them!


The Adventure Continues

19 Jan

You might think I have given up on writing, but actually, I have been knee-deep in planning our 2016 adventures. As spring unfolds, we will be heading to the south of Italy, exploring the areas where my maternal grandparents were born, around Napoli and Salerno. I know many cringe at the thought of Napoli, but as Benita found two years ago as a student, it’s so worth taking the time to visit.

We’ve already been to the Amalfi coast, Capri, Pompeii, Herculaneum, etc. This trip is to see and experience Napoli, (beyond the graffiti and dirt), and especially its people. And of course, pizza making and eating are high on our to-do list.

Then, after an overnight ferry to Palermo, also recommended by Benita, we will work our way around Sicily, a first for Len and me. My Sicily travel board looks like this:



Travel planning is such a great way to learn about an area before heading there and why we like to do our own planning. We always welcome advise and suggestions from others and then couple that information with our own research to map out our trip.

We have spoken to each of the proprietors of the places we will be staying, all who have been extremely helpful. Only one speaks no English at all, but surprisingly, his Sicilian Italian was not difficult for me to understand. Watching all the Montalbano shows has paid off! And speaking of Montalbano, yes, we will visit the many sites where the filming occurred.

All of this, of course, will provide incredible photo opportunities and stories I look forward to sharing. If you have suggestions from your own Napoli or Sicilia travel experiences, I’d love to hear about them.




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