Sicily’s Watchtowers

Keep a lookout for these watchtowers that exist all along Sicily’s coastline. From at least the early 14th century through World War II, these watchtowers of all shapes and sizes (and now, conditions) earned their keep. The system was designed so that from one to the next the keepers could communicate with their compatriots what…

Sicily’s History Offers Us Knowledge For Today

Sicily’s history offers us many lessons. Since the 13th century Modica (pictured) has been a prosperous and important city. For centuries it was the seat of its own county that enjoyed political independence and economic and cultural influence. The resource-rich surrounding landscape with agriculture as its economic engine has made Modica and Ragusa province wealthy…

Up On The Hill In Scicli

The ancient church of Saint Matthew (San Matteo) is perched on a high hill overlooking the entire town of Scicli. Now abondoned, the shell of the building was constructed in the 18th century following the devastating 1693 earthquake on top of the ruins of a Norman church and probably (I’ll venture to guess) other sacred…

The Palm Tree Represents Unification In Palermo

Artists from multiple cultural origins contributed to these mosaic designs that exist in the Cappella Palatina, the private chapel commissioned by Sicilian King Roger II (1095-1154) and completed by his heir, King William I (1120-1166). The palm tree, the central icon of this photo, has significance to many peoples, many of whom came together to…

The Outstanding Leadership Of Sicily’s Roger II

More than ever, I’m seeking a dinner date with Roger II (1095-1154) … An outstanding leader, Roger II incorporated and encouraged inclusion of all of the various cultures, religions, and races that shared Sicily–native Sicilian, Norman, Arab, Byzantine, Greek, Jewish, English, German, and more–into his government. As a result, Sicily thrived, and it became the…