But before you go on to the pictures, I have to tell you about the blog post Blindness and Memory Loss While Driving on A Canadian in Italy by Eloradaphne. This is the quintessential 'driving in Italy' story. I encourage you to read it.
And on to the pictures...
This is the road to Capizzi, the tiny mountain village from which my husband's family originated. If you could drive as the crow flies it would take about 20-30 minutes from the coast. However, this road is so full of switchbacks that it takes 2 hours.
We stayed with a friend in Piazza Armerina in 2010. Every evening this car was parked in this spot. We never got to see the right side of the car so I can't say if it is scratched up or not - I suspect it must be. I was just so impressed that someone could park that close to a wall!
I loved this little truck. We saw it in Cefalu' on one of the many narrow back streets. I don't know how the vegie vendor could drive without losing the vegetables off the top!
I wrote earlier about the Ferrari night in Cianciana. This is such a great example of la bella figura or putting on the best face. There were about 20 or so Ferraris in Cianciana that night, all from Ribera, a nearby town. In the small town in which we live in Canada, I am sure there aren't 20 Ferraris, 10 Ferraris - in fact I have never seen even one Ferrari! The unemployment rate in British Columbia is about 7% whereas the unemployment rate in Sicily is 25%, the highest in Italy. Logically, you would think that British Columbians would have more disposable income to buy race cars than Sicilians. I would guess that la bella figura plays a good part in the number of expensive sport cars that can be found in Ribera.
I included these two pictures of the main street in Cianciana. This is Salita Regina Elena. The top picture is in the mid-afternoon when most people are at home resting, sleeping, or watching television. The second picture is at night when people come out - at least in the summertime - and do the passagiata, visiting with all their friends and neighbours, sharing wine, beer, coffee, or a meal. Cianciana is a lively place to be in the summer at night!
This is Sant'Angelo Muxaro - an even smaller town than Cianciana. As you can see, Sant'Angelo Muxaro hangs on the edge of a cliff. Amazing that the buildings can cling there without sliding down the side of the cliff! Believe it or not, there is a road going up that cliff to the lovely, friendly little town at the top.
One thing I didn't mention when I talked about the autostrada is the off ramps. In North America, off and on ramps are usually long, giving drivers lots of room to merge. In Italy on the autostrade, off and on ramps are very short. To compensate for that, the name of the off ramp and large arrows are painted onto the highway so you are given good warning ahead of time. That is, if you realize what the names and arrows are telling you.
Sicily is full of mountains which means lots and lots of tunnels. I like the tunnels for a couple of reasons: one, they are interesting and plentiful, and two, they are good places to pass slower cars in front of you. The first time you drive through these tunnels you will understand the reason for the law insisting drivers turn on their lights on the autostrade.