Monthly Archives: May 2017
Baroque town of Noto, Unesco World Heritage site, well worth a visit. Whilst there discover Via Nicolaci, & the splendid Chiesa di Montevirgine & the Palazzo Villadorata. The interior of the Palazzo Villadorata is breathtaking, with its frescoed walls & ceilings, amazingly still preserved.
Trattoria Fontana d’Ercole,Noto, www.trattoriafontanadercole.it has an outside terrace where it can be quite hot under the sun, but there are tables inside where it is cooler. This is a popular restaurant for local Sicilians on Sundays lunching out for large Family parties.
On Corso Vittoria Emanuele, main street centre of Noto, the Caffe Sicilia, a relaxed marble decorated cafe where one can sit and watch people promenading. Coffee, Drinks, Paninis, ice creams & home made Nougat….
La Martorana, Palermo, Sicily
The church known as La Martorana is in Palermo’s Piazza Bellini, next to the church of San Cataldo. It was founded in 1143 by an admiral of King Roger II’s, George of Antioch, whose rank gave it the original name of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio. The building of the church took place at much the same time as the construction of Roger’s Palatine Chapel, in the Palazzo dei Normanni. It is likely that the same artists and craftsmen were involved in creating the mosaics for both. There are strong Greek and Byzantine influences in the mosaics of Christ, the Madonna and the saints. Two other panels show George of Antioch prostrating himself before the Madonna, and Roger II being crowned king by Christ. This image is a highly political one, as it showed that Roger considered he had God’s authority to rule, rather than requiring the Pope’s. Courtesy & with thanks www.alamy.com
Located in the historic center of Palermo, Palazzo Mirto was home to the old, aristocratic Filangeri family for four centuries. They were given the title of Princes of Mirto (from the name of their feud in the region of Messina) in the mid-17th century.
Those were the days when the Palazzo was originally built, though several remodellings took place over the centuries.
The more recent changes were made in 1876, when the façade along Via Merlo was redesigned and a new entrance was built with a marquise, as was the fashion in Paris. In the same years, the restructuring of the second floor rooms led to a big apartment for the family.
From that time on, the first floor was used by the Filangeris only when they entertained guests: it is now a series of lavishly decorated “public” rooms, with walls adorned with silk panels, tapestries, curtains and works of art.
There is also a Chinese living room, very fashionable in the 18th and 19th centuries; its walls and ceiling are decorated with scenes of everyday life set in imaginary Oriental-style architectures.
Typically Sicilian, instead, is the Embroidered Room: the walls are covered in embroidered silk fabric with scenes from Jerusalem Delivered. In-depth information on this House Museum can be found in House museums in Italy. New cultural itineraries: poetry, history, art, architecture, music, arts & crafts, tastes and traditions, a guide-book by Rosanna Pavoni, which can be purchased on line. Image and info Courtesy of and with thanks
Monaco Grand Prix Lead up.
Sebastian Vettel at work at the Spanish Grand Prix this month. Thanks to the resurgence of the Ferrari Formula One team, he is leading the standings for the world championship. Credit Dan Istitene/Getty Images
After eight seasons without a title and watching Mercedes brutally dominate Formula One for the last three years, Ferrari is again not only winning races, but also challenging for championships.
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari’s lead driver, says the team has “unleashed its potential.”
Vettel heads into the sixth round of the series in Monaco on Sunday leading the drivers’ standings by six points over Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, after winning two races in Australia and Bahrain, and finishing second in China, Russia and Spain.
Although Mercedes leads the constructors’ championship this year, it is by only eight points over Ferrari. Hamilton recognizes that Vettel and Ferrari are serious contenders after the work the team has done to improve its car.
Hamilton beat Vettel in Spain on May 14 by just 3.4 seconds. “It was the rawest fight I can remember having for some time, which I loved,” Hamilton said.
Vettel is also again enjoying the competition, after changes that have made the cars faster, with more downforce and grip, but have also made them harder to drive.
“Down the straights, we were faster than ever last year, but that’s not really a skill. You don’t need to do anything to go straight, other than hit the throttle. But in the corners, that’s when you feel alive, and where these cars more closely resemble those I remember when I started out in Formula One in 2007.”
After the last of his four successive titles with Red Bull in 2013, Vettel endured a lean three years, winning just three races over that period.
The wins were all in his first year with Ferrari in 2015, when he finished a distant third in the drivers’ standings behind Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who was with Mercedes at the time.
The unleashed potential Vettel describes has been more than three years in the making, since the arrival of the current hybrid engine era in 2014. Mercedes won 51 of the 59 races from 2014 to 2016, forcing Formula One to change some of its regulations to break the team’s dominance.
Ferrari, which has not won a championship since 2008, was viewed by many Formula One experts as a team in disarray, especially toward the end of an abysmal 2014.Maurizio Arrivabene was then handed the reins by a new chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, who also heads Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which owned Ferrari at the time.Despite an upturn in 2015, yielding the three wins for Vettel, a poor start to 2016 prompted Marchionne to restructure Ferrari.Lorenzo Sassi subsequently took charge of the power unit department, while Enrico Cardile was named to run the aerodynamics department.
Courtesy and with thanks Ian Parkes. New York Times International Edition.
The America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), and America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM), have announced that the strong winds in Bermuda has meant that day one of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers and the Official Opening Ceremony of the 35th America’s Cup has had to be postponed.
Forecasts indicate that winds may gust over 30 knots during the afternoon and evening, so with the safety of the sailors and spectators as the key priority, ACEA and ACRM have decided to postpone Friday’s events. Saturday 27th May and the days following are all forecast to have significantly improved weather conditions, so the four races scheduled to take place on Friday 26th May will now be added to the race schedules for the subsequent days.
The Official Opening Ceremony of the 35th America’s Cup will now take place on Saturday 27th May, starting at 8.30pm, following the three time Grammy award winning entertainer Wyclef Jean’s performance on the Main Stage in the America’s Cup Village at 5.15pm. The America’s Cup Village will close at 9.30pm. Gates open at 11.30am on Saturday, with racing due to take place between 2pm and 5pm.
Sir Russell Coutts, CEO of the ACEA, said, “We are obviously disappointed that the strong winds mean we have had to postpone day one of the 35th America’s Cup. This is clearly a decision we have not taken lightly and appreciate the inconvenience caused to the sellout crowd. Our primary concern however, is always safety for everyone involved in the America’s Cup. We are adding an hour to the race window on both Saturday and Sunday to run extra races with the aim of getting back on schedule. There are still tickets available at the weekend, although not in all categories, so we are hoping Friday’s ticket holders will still get the chance to enjoy what should be an incredible opening weekend.”
Courtesy & with thanks Louis Vuitton
Taormina jet setters paradise, a Sicilian jewel overlooking the Ionian sea.
Where chic glamour tops Uber ……
The G7 meetings will be held at the San Domenico Palace Hotel a former Monastery.
Beautiful Sicily was the star of Italian Director Luchino Visconti’s 1960’s cult film, The Leopard, inspired by the best selling novel written by Giuseppe di Lampedusa, The Leopard, Il Gattopardo, set in Sicily, & made into an epic film with French heart throb Alain Delon, Burt Lancaster, & Claudia Cardinale. Sicily still retains the romance of another era, with frescoed, gilded & mirrored Palazzos illuminated by Murano chandeliers.
The Trumps will staying at Taormina’s Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, with its splendid views over the Ionian seas.
On a previous trip Donald Trump stayed at the glamourous Atlantis Bay Hotel. TAORMINA, Sicily.
Melania Trump’s outfits on this tour have been elegant and appropriate for a first lady accompanying American President Donald Trump.