Goodbye Rome! Hello Sicily! (Part 1)

After a whirlwind time in Rome, I was very happy to get to airport, as Laurie and I were flying from Rome to Punta Raisi Airport in Palermo.

Palermo is NOT my favorite city for driving. And yes, I do know how to drive as I learned to drive in NYC. So, to see that traffic lights mean nothing, with vespas driving on the sidewalk to pass and then shoot out in front of you, would give anyone agita!

I was very happy to see the eastbound entrance of the A19, which turned into the A20.  We were headed to Falcone (in the provence of Messina), where I booked a week of timeshare, which was a 3 ½ hour ride & 233 kilometers. The strangest part of the ride was when the autostrada ended at a mountain and we had to continue down to the sea road for 45K then back up to the autostrada. A hole wasn’t blasted through the mountain so the road literally stopped!!!!

Traffic Jam in Falcone
Traffic Jam in Falcone

Once we got to Falcone, we got settled & took off for a drive around. We got caught up in a traffic jam.

Back to the timeshare & we met folks from the U.K. All of us booked a ferry trip to the Aeolian Islands from the port of Milazzo for the next day.

Port of Milazzo (1999)
Port of Milazzo (1999)
Laurie with Brits on Ferry (1999)
Laurie with Brits on Ferry (1999)

 

 

 

 

The ferry ride was great as was the company & sea air. Vulcano was the first island that we all explored, including a dip in the sulfur baths!! And then onto Lipari.

Vulcano Sulfur Baths
Vulcano Sulfur Baths

We had a great first day & met some wonderful people!!

The next day the tour desk said we may enjoy going to Tindari and so we did. We saw the archaeological excavations and the Church of the Black Madonna. Both were breathtakingly beautiful.

Archeaological dig in Tindari (1999)
Archeaological dig in Tindari (1999)
Church in Tindari
Church in Tindari

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, the day had finally come for us to drive to our paternal Grandfather’s mountain town of Librizzi, north of Patti. It is a very small town of about 2000 people. We were going to meet Signore Cottone, the gentlemen I mentioned in my blog “Surprise From Librizzi Messina”.

Librizzi is about 12 miles from Falcone, with half of those climbing the mountain to the town. As we were driving, Laurie & I wondered how Grandpa Cottone ever got down the mountain in 1910 to board a ship from Naples!

Librizzi, Messina
Librizzi, Messina

We arrived early I wanted to go to the town hall to thank the clerk for sending documents to me. Plus we wanted time to walk in the town and drink in the atmosphere.

 Piazza Catena in Librizzi
Piazza Catena in Librizzi

 

Piazza in Librizzi (1999)
Piazza in Librizzi (1999)

As we walked, we did notice that people kept glancing at us. After walking around, we sat in the shade resting.

 

At this point, a gentleman approached us to ask who we were. I told him we were of the Cottone family and were meeting Giuseppe today.  I had the postal envelope with me which I showed him.  He then motioned for us to follow him.  He brought us right to the house.

We spent a wonderful day with Giuseppe and his lovely wife and daughter. I thanked him for responding to my original correspondence and sending the documents from the town hall. His daughter, Annalisa, was very kind and took us to the cemetery.

Of course, language was a problem, but Giuseppe solved that with a translation CD on his computer. (Folks: This was in 1999 before all the internet translation options).

To this day, we have not yet established a direct family connection.

Now, onto our adventure in the western part of Sicily.

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