A fortnight's Tour
Approaching Sicily, " The Soul of Italy," from Tunis or from Naples, our landing place should be Palermo.
|Palermo (sixteen hours by steamer from Tunis, twelve hours by steamer from Naples). Few cities on the globe's surface are more beautifully situated than Palermo, but the city itself is a conglomeration of nearly all styles of architecture, Christian and Saracenic. The Cappella Palatina of Arabic-Norman is a perfect jewel-casket, so exquisite is it in decoration and richness of material. Monreale, a short distance from Palermo, enjoys the supreme glory of a Cathedral of Latin form, " with a Roman colonnade, Byzantine mosaics, Greek sculpture and Saracenic and Norman details." The mosaics are second only to those of Venice
|Girgenti (four hours and a half by rail from Palermo) is famous for its numerous ruins of Greek temples. The Temple of Concord is considered by some the most complete Doric temple extant. Other ruins are Juno Lacinia, Temple of Hercules, Jupiter Olympus and Castor and Pollux. The little Christian church of St. Nicola occupies the site of a pagan altar, where human sacrifices were made to Moloch
|Catania (seven hours by rail from Girgenti). The second city in Sicily, with a superb view of J&tna., from the gardens.
|Syracuse (two hours from Catania). Founded 734 B.C., by a colony of Corinthians, it grew to be the most powerful of the Greek colonies of the West, with a population of half a million. Some of the sights are the Doric Cathedral, built partly on the site and in part actually composed of the ancient Temple of Minerva; the Roman Amphitheater; the Ear of Dionysius; Greek Temple of Diana, the Catacombs, the Latomia de' Cappuccini, the quarry wherein seven thousand Athenian prisoners are said to have been starved to death; the Fountain of Arethusa; and the River Anapo, the only river in Europe in which the papyrus now grows.
|Taormina (three hours from Syracuse) is famous for the extraordinary beauty of its scenery. Perched like an eagle's nest on a cliff, some four hundred feet above the shore, with Mola and Monte Venere towering behind it, and Mount ^Etna filling in, with graceful lines, the southern horizon. The view from the ruined Greek Theater has been compared with that of the Vale of Kashmir, but this comparison hardly does justice to Taormina.
|Messina (one hour from Taormina) is a well- built, busy town, prettily situated at the foot of an amphitheater of hills, surrounded with vineyards, olive groves, orchards and gardens. Its harbor is the best in Italy, and in commercial importance Messina ranks next to Palermo.
|Naples by steamer, sixteen hours.