Finally, and since the work schedule permits, I will get to spend the next week or so whizzing around Italy. Of course I am looking forward to getting back, delighted in fact to be heading once more to my most favourite country.
On that I must thank Lorenzo Zachetti for forwarding the following link. It made me smile, but it has more than amount of truth about it also.
So thank you Lorenzo!
With many people I know heading to Taormina over the next weeks and months, it means that I am often being asked to recommend fave restaurants etc. Of course the team at the reception in any hotel, including Hotel Villa Angela, can give a more thorough low down than I can, especially as according to Tripadvisor there are currently 206 restaurants operating in what is after a very small town. Albeit one that is full of hungry tourists during the busy summer months.
And so with cards on the table…
Although delighted to be touring Europe at the moment, banging out our music, loud and proud, in myriad towns and cities as we go. I suspect you’d forgive me if I occasionally find myself hankering after the chance to be back in Taormina, where without doubt I would be blissfully enjoying the quiet and stillness that I associate with my early morning swims near Isola Bella…Read more
I am sure that most people given the experience of open air cinemas like them as much as I do. However due to the erratic weather we have in the UK, yes even in summer, they are very rare as you can imagine…Read more
Opening its doors after the usual winter closure, Hotel Villa Angela will this week again be welcoming guests from all over as they arrive in Taormina .
Amazingly for those involved, a whole decade has now whizzed by since VA first opened those same doors, back in April, 2004. To say that we are delighted to have hosted thousands of contented guests ever since would be a huge understatement, and all credit goes to the staff and all of those who have worked on our behalf throughout this first decade…Read more
Many who stay with us at Hotel Villa Angela also like to make day trips to various other places of interest that are near. Among the many, a trip to Caltagirone is one of the most popular, it was also one of the first places that I visited way back when I was first getting to know this part of the world…Read more
Spring Break, and I am for fortunate enough to be in Sicily for a few days. April and May in various ways are among my favourite months in Taormina, although that said – any time of year in this town has it’s highlights…Read more
The joys of last summer spent mostly in Taormina may still be very fresh in my mind, but it won’t be quite as leisurely this year seeing as Simple Minds are set to have their busiest summer touring schedule in the longest while…Read more
It will be a few weeks yet before I get back to Taormina, but it will be worth the wait as always. Especially as anytime now the landscape will be dotted with the colours of Spring, and wildflowers etc start popping up everywhere on the horizon…Read more
Carnival in Venice is quite an unforgettable experience as I am sure anyone who has experienced it will testify. However, it is also very good to see that the lesser known Carnevale in Sicily – specifically in Acireale – has been highlighted as one of the best…Read more
More than any other that I know, Taormina Cats seem to have their own agenda. In someways I’d compare them to the monkeys of Ubud, and if you have ever been there you will know exactly what I mean. The cats here seem to rule the town, eyeing you up and down quizzically, almost asking what right do you have to be there…Read more
Even after nearly 30 years of visiting, I still get the most pleasurable feeling whenever I am packing my bags to go to Taormina. Packing the bags to leave however, as always is a regrettable task. Especially in my case, when many of the visits are much too fleeting. The departures, as we make…Read more
I am so looking forward to returning to Taormina next week. The town has a very different character in the early months of the year, much different from when I left in mid August.
Not quite desolate, but on some days it can feel a little like I have the town to myself. Blue sky days are common enough in January,while the air is sweet, crisp and clean. Meanwhile at Villa Angela, refurbishments are underway, and the bookings for this season are already filling up…Read more
Shot dreamily in director Giussepe Tornatore’s hometown Bagheria, Sicily, as well as Cefalù on the island’s Tyrrhenian Sea. Although ranked rather impressively at No 27 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema”, I would easily put Cinema Paradiso in my own top 10. Especially so after recently seeing the lengthier director’s cut, and more so after being further delighted to find that the music of Simple Minds features albeit fleetingly in the background of one scene. (Not that that factor improves the movie to any degree, but it gave me a helluva kick all the same. Forgive me!)Read more
It is a foggy and almost freezing night in Berlin, but I have just enjoyed a night time walk through part of this wondrous city all the same. As always on these walks, I am accompanied by whatever music is on my iPod. Tonight the music was by Patti Smith and really – it sounded better than ever…Read more
Although I am currently on another continent, I am nevertheless always in contact with what is going on in Taormina.
This last week the chat has been about the spectacular scenes as nearby Mount Etna erupts once again. On a much bigger scale, global media sources reported that the recent eruption which began on Saturday night and had already levelled off by evening on Sunday…Read more
Greetings from South Africa, the latest destination on the current Simple Minds tour. For the curious, we are more than well looked after on tour, and almost every whim is taken care of to be frank. Particularly so in matters of eating. The world is full of great restaurants after all, even if we rarely have time to check them out .In general. I tend to stick with mostly fresh, uncooked food, particularly on gig days…Read more
I am very much enjoying TV Chef Anthony Bourdains current CNN shows, particularly those the feature the mystery that is so much a part of Sicily….Read more
It may be true that physically I am currently thousands of miles away, on another continent entirely. Nevertheless, the last two weeks of October are among my most favourite times to be in Taormina, and I can imagine the scenes…Read more
Francesca V. Mignosa, M.A., was born and raised in Augusta, Sicily and moved to the USA in 1997. Through the years, she has covered the roles of Editor, Journalist, Screenwriter along with the teaching of Creative Writing…Read more
“Dolphins in Sicily? Where can I find them?” Asked my Irish friend, a dolphin lover and regular visitor to Dingle in the late ’80′s. In doing so, she even got to swim with “Fungie” the famous little dolphin who brought so many tourists to the Peninsula.Read more
Sicily is the key to Italy, as Goethe wrote. In that case if there is one novel that could be the key to Sicily, it is surely: “The Leopard,” Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. A timeless tale of the decline and fall of the house of Salina, a family of Sicilian aristocrats.
E.M. Forster, an early admirer, “has made me realize how many ways there are of being alive, how many doors there are, close to one, which someone else’s touch may open.”Read more
With all I have on at the moment, it is a little strange to feel that there is still time to miss somethings. The weeks ahead will find me in Brazil, Canada, USA, UK, and some of Europe’s capital cities. It is a blessed life. But…amongst all this movement and excitement…Read more
Although not a fan in particular of any of the teams, I am a fan of Italian football. That interest really goes back to the late ’80′s initially, when on a number of ocassions I visited the SanSiro stadium in Milan to watch what for me is still one of the best teams ever – AC Milan…Read more
Many will have been hugely saddened by the recent media coverage of the boat carrying as many as 500 Eritreans, that tragically sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Situated some 170 km from the Sicilian mainland, over the last decade Lampedusa has become almost the main transit point for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, desperate to enter Europe.Read more
“The Mafia Stole My Guitar” sang the truly great Alex Harvey back in the late 70′s.
Whether they did or not I could not say, particularly as Alex was known for his mischief making stories and songs. More is the chance however that the “Mafia” Harvey denounces, would not have been the much feared (and parodied) Sicilian Cosa Nosta…Read more
From UK to Sicily by train? Yes, that is precisely what my friends Robert and Liz did earlier this year. It is something I can barely imagine doing, even though I did enjoy some good train journeys while visiting Russia last year. Stopping at Paris, Turin, Naples, before arriving at the little Taormina/Giardini Naxos station that sits at the bottom of the road leading all the way up to Hotel Villa Angela…Read more
Some quotes I cannot resist, especially when I feel that they are aligned to my own experience…Read more
Everyone knows that the bagel is the archetypal New York item of food. Both fast and delicious, one or two of them will almost certainly be sampled by yours truly on my upcoming visit to NYC.
Likewise, most will know that the particular bagel – style of bread roll has Eastern European roots, then transported to worldwide popularity as part of the rich culture that belongs to the widespread Jewish diaspora.
“Salvatore had been baking bread for twenty of his twenty-eight years. As a boy he had loved the oven work first and kneading last. Fires were always dangerous. To work with fire you had to have a lot of experience. Pass the material through it just right or you were stopped…Read more
I have a fantasy. Within it, I know how to paint, to do impressive watercolours especially. But writing songs is instead a challenge that is in truth satisfying enough, at least for the moment.
Nothing can stop the fantasy however, and as I travel around I make a mental list of places that I determine to one day return to with a little box of paints in hand.
Punta San Vigilio is on that list…Read more
At a guess, I would say that 80% of people who play live rock music wear the colour black while performing. If not, maybe some other dark tones. And look good it does too. Depending?
And yet for some reason I prefer to wear white in general. Why so? Well, apart from the fact it is easier to stand out in what are mostly blackened out venues, and what is the point of going on stage to “not be seen” after all?Read more
It has been a number of years since I was last in Lago Di Gardo, all of which gives me even more reason to look forward to my upcoming trip. It was a concert by Simple Minds that took me there originally, in doing so it meant that I was introduced to the then very young manager of the hotel in which we were staying. I have been good friends with Marco Casarola ever since, and his advice and in – put was helpful when we were first setting up Hotel Villa Angela.Read more
It is not exactly within walking distance from where we are at Hotel Villa Angela, that however does not mean that we cannot dream about the landscape of Tuscany.
Dreaming of course is one thing we all do naturally, whereas stargazing is something else entirely.Read more
The music critic, Paul Morley, got it right when he recently described why way and above being a pop star David Bowie was so much more to my generation.
“Bowie was a portal through which to learn about art, W. Burroughs, Brecht/Brel, decadence, Nietzsche, all things NYC and Warhol, T.S.Eliot, the list goes on and on.”Read more
It is said that September is the month when the fruit from the carob tree falls to the ground in Sicily. I know this to be true from experience, as we are fortunate to have a grand old carob tree within the grounds at Hotel Villa Angela.
Thankfully now also a protected specie, these evergreens provide both shade and precious fruit. Much loved they are as a result.Read more
I must admit that although I have never managed to watch an episode the whole way through, that is more to do with having little time for watching TV, than any dislike. There can however be no denying the increasing worldwide popularity of the Italian TV detective series ‘Inspector Montalbano…Read more
While in the process of buying the land on which Hotel Villa Angela is now situated, I was very interested to note the various family names of the previous owners that kept cropping up in the title deeds. Most surprisingly for me there were a few English, Scots and Welsh among them. Of course during the early 20th century the town became a colony of ex patriate artists, writers, and intellectuals.Read more
Like many so of his generation, my grandfather was in the British army during the 2nd World War. One of the many destinations he was in was Sicily. He always spoke with great affection for Italy and Italian people in general.Read more
In fitting with the subject, it will be little more than “a flying visit,” but I hope to nevertheless find an hour or so free time while I am next in Washington. And if so, you can guarantee that I will be making my way to the National Air and Space Museum. Surely of interest anytime, my particular focus will be on the display “Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds.”Read more
Does anyone know whether Men Of The Cloth – a documentary film on Italian master tailors – made it to completion? I do hope so, especially after seeing the trailer clip that was being used to raise funds for the project.Read more
Like all singers who perform within an arduous touring schedule, I am always looking for natural products that will help soothe and even strengthen the voice. In the end, and after trying out so many “tips” passed on by generous and well meaning contacts, I now rely on three practices that seem to benefit me while working.Read more
“It’s a long, long while from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September” sings the wonderful Billie Holiday in September Song. An American Broadway standard written by Kurt Weil and Maxwell Anderson, the words may well have been written by the owners of the cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels of Taormina as this year’s season enters its last phase.Read more
Scylla and Charybdis were mythical sea monsters noted by Homer; later Greek tradition sited them on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Sicilyand the Italian mainland. Scylla was rationalized as a rock shoal (described as a six-headed sea monster) on the Italian side of the strait and Charybdis was a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily. They were regarded as a sea hazard located close enough to each other that they posed an inescapable threat to passing sailors; avoiding Charybdis meant passing too close to Scylla and vice versa.Read more
The blogosphere is jam – packed with the thoughts and feelings of countless individuals who relate to Sicily and it’s culture both past and present. My current fave is the New Jerseyite, Melanie Frazza, who surprisingly finds that as radical as her contemporary lifestyle might be, she has much more in common with her Sicilian grandparents than she and they may have previously imagined.Read more
While looking out some photos that I took during my stay at Villa Angela last October, I realised why it may be my favourite time of year in Sicily. Still vibrant, although obviously much quieter than in summer, the combination of the still fine weather, the empty beaches, and the town somehow having a more laid back feel, suited me to a “t”. And I am not the only one, as friends of mine who have visited Villa Angela multiple times, always choose October as their month to visit.Read more
India apart, Sicily is probably the best place on earth for those who follow vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. The first reason is that thanks to the island’s unique soil, many believe that there is no other place where natural produce tastes so delicious. For the record, I am one of those believers. The second reason coincides with the typical choices of the Sicilian kitchen, and the fact that so many of the dishes are free of both meat and fish.Read more
What for many, is The Greatest Voice In Music, has very deep roots in Sicily. I am of course referring to Frank Sinatra, singer, actor, and showman, but also son of Antonio Martino Sinatra, born in Lercara Friddi, in the Province of Palermo, Sicily.Read more
As already mentioned, at Villa Angela we are quite enthusiastic about the ever growing number of artworks displayed on the hotel walls.
This past summer the Scottish artist, Fiona Sutherland, stayed with us for a week. A first visit to Sicily for her, and although on holiday she continued working for some hours each day.The results of that will be highlighted in the near future.Read more
Sitting outside? Why is it that such a simple act can give me so much pleasure?
On a visit to my hometown of Glasgow recently, I of coursed dropped into the family home. As usual my father had made a great job of seeing to it that the garden was looking as well as ever, and that all else was spic and span.Read more
I recall that when the foundations of Hotel Villa Angela were being laid, that one or two of the workmen were encouraging me to join them in throwing in a few coins amongst the wet cement. The reasoning was that this gesture would secure good luck in financial terms for the future. I guess it symbolised planting the seeds of money – for which money would grow.Read more
Connoisseurs believe that Sicily’s abundant fertile soil, which in eastern regions is mostly volcanic, produces some of the world’s best olives. No finer testimony to that notion is the fact that even the ancient Athenians preferred Sicilian olive oil to their own.Read more
Broadcast a few years ago, but still available to listen to currently, I almost enjoyed listening to BBC Radio’s programme on the all too elusive Sicilian Blood Orange, as I do when slowly sipping a glass of this mysterious, dark red, citrus juice.Read more
Known for his long-flowing melodic lines, for which he was named “the Swan of Catania”, Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian composer. A child protege, born 3 November 1801, and native of Catania, Sicily, his most well known works are his greatest works are I Capuleti ed i Montecchi (1830), La sonnambula (1831), Norma (1831), Beatrice di Tenda (1833), and I puritani (1835). (Wikipedia)Read more
He was born Jack Hoggan and grew up in a mining village near Kirkcaldy,Scotland, and the chances are that his name means nothing to you. However after picking up a box of paints, changing his name to Jack Vettriano (The name comes from his mother’s side of the family, who were Italian immigrants to Scotland)Read more
Born in italy in 1959, Fredi Macarini is only one of many Italian photographers that I admire currently. He began shooting as a six year old, using a medium format camera that was gifted to him by his father.Read more
While working on our new music, as I am currently with Simple Minds. I am usually thinking of who we would, or should, like to work with in terms of artwork,video’s etc that would compliment our new music. Floria Sigismondi – born in Pescara, Italy – is undoubtedly an artist I would like to collaborate with. her work with both David Bowie and Cure, was startling indeed. First things first, though. We had better get on with finishing off the music!Read more
A fair number from our hometown, Glasgow, will this week be visiting the Duomo – Cathedral of Milan – as they arrive in Milan to watch the Champions League football match between Glasgow Celtic and AC Milan.
Were it possible I too would have travelled to take in the game. In doing so I may well have made a pit – stop inside the cathedral…Read more
One of the many pleasures of walking in the countryside around Taormina is that I get the opportunity to see relatively up close an impressive array of birds – many of which I had never come across before elsewhere. To watch the hawks and eagles as they command the blue skies above gives a particular thrill. No more so than when it is the Bonelli’s eagle.Read more
I collect vintage travel posters. It is something I started doing a number of years ago, and the connection makes sense in that whenever I am asked to define myself, it is the word “traveller” that immediately comes to me. I have after all, in one way or another, been traveling since the age of fifteen, and I still travel continuously both for work and pleasure.Read more
The kind of stunning exhibits than are normally found in the museums of Sicily, Florence, and Rome, might also be domiciled nearer your hometown than you think.
An amazing new book of photographs by Paul Koundounaris titled ‘Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures And Spectacular Saints From The Catacombs’ highlights a vast array of bejewelled skeletons, mostly discovered in Roman catacombs as far back as the 16th century,that were then secretly sent to towns in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as commanded by orders from the vatican.Read more
While planning Villa Angela, we decided to use as much local talent as possible.Starting with the architect, then following on through with the construction and interior design. In addition we looked to the local materials whenever possible, including ceramics, wood, iron etc.The same materials that they have used in Sicily throughout history in fact.Read more
So many historical people seemed to get by with limited amount of sleep. Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher reportedly slept less than five hours. (Some people I know wonder how MrsT could sleep at all? But that is another matter entirely.) A much gentler soul, Leonardo Da Vinci, apparently needed to sleep for only 15 minutes every four hours. If that is true I guess he need not have invested in pyjamas?Read more
On a recent visit to my hometown of Glasgow I was delighted to get a sneak preview inside the city’s soon to be opened live concert venue, The Hydro.
Built on the banks of the River Clyde, it may have taken it’s name from the ancient Greeks, there can however be little doubt that the superb modern design is based on a vision that comes straight out of Ancient Rome.Read more
As someone who is partial to wearing the odd tartan item I was really delighted to discover this impressive Italian tartan.Made all the more impressive when reading about the thinking behind the design.
Strangely enough, after years of looking for the perfect tartan scarf, I finally came across the item I was looking for. But who would have thought that a Scotsman would have to go all the way to Osaka, Japan, in order to find the right item of tartan?Read more
“As found everywhere in Sicily, cats of all sorts wandered wherever they chose, adding a sense of feline mystery to the place.”
Catsnip was set up in 2002 following the discovery that the Sicilian method of controlling the population of feral cats in the mistaken belief this would ‘solve’ the problem was by killing them.Read more
“On one hand, we are extremely proud – on the other, we would have almost liked to keep the secret for us, if you know what I mean.” Such was the reaction by locals to the news that a Sicilian beach had been voted the best in the world by on line travel site Tripadvisor. A reaction that I myself completely understand incidentally…Read more
Some images instantly ignite memories. While looking at this photo from a Palermo neighbourhood, I can easily recall our own family – pre washing machine – years, when as a toddler I would accompany my mother on “wash days” to the “steamie” as huge public wash houses were known. Back then, Women (and it was only women) went to the steamie in Glasgow, around once a week.Read more
“I don’t understand it. Why do tourists always need a swimming pool—they have the deep blue sea. And here on the island, it is free for all!” Pippo growled, in a husky-voiced imitation of an outraged Sicilian.Read more
A veiled Sicilian actress awaits her cue in a classical Greek tragedy … Large, fertile, and at the center of the Mediterranean, Sicily has invariably been someone else’s prize … The Greeks arrived in the eighth century B.C., establishing important colonies whose ruined temples and theaters remain some of the island’s great tourist attractions.Read more
Shoveling Is Good for Speed. But Not for the Vest or the Tablecloth at Hotel Villa Angela…..Nevertheless all are welcome for lunch at our terrace restaurant……Including shovellers like me!Read more
It is possible that I am biased, after all there is one person above all who is responsible for introducing me to Sicily and that person is Antonio Chemi of La Botte Ristorante, Taormina. Not only did the Chemi family set me up in Taormina, making it possible for Hotel Villa Angela to come into being. They also fed and put a roof over my head during my first years of getting to know what life was like in Taormina.Read more
“Whenever one is in Italy, either one is conscious of the present, or of the Medieval influences, or of the far, mysterious gods of the early Mediterranean … Proserpine, or Pan, or even the strange “Gods” of the Etruscans.” DH LawrenceRead more
Dionysius – The most Rock N Roll of all the Gods – might have been fun, on a good day. Whenever he was not busy drinking himself to death that is. But it is Philoxenus who makes me laugh.Read more
So good is Scottish singer Liz Frazer’s voice on her rendition of Tim Buckley’s “Song To The Siren”, that on more than one occasion I have had to suspend belief while listening to it. Likewise an amount of belief is naturally held back whenever we consider the myths and legends of very ancient times.Read more
Unfortunately and somewhat like my own hometown of Glasgow, Palermo also has to deal with a negative image that seemingly prolongs continually. Most people who hear of Palermo think immediately about the mafia, which although it most certainly exists, would never be experienced by the everyday tourist. Palermo nevertheless has much to offer to tourists who should never be alarmed by – an increasingly out of date – negative image of the city. But why take my word for it when you can read here the experience of Gary Drake – An American In Palermo.Read more
It is quite often at Hotel Villa Angela that I come across American guests who are in Sicily with the main aim of finding more about their heritage.
At the start of the last century alone, over 100,000 Sicilians had crossed the ocean to begin new lives in America. Many settling principally in New York,Buffalo, Tampa, New Jersey, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New Orleans and Milwaukee.Read more
“Sicily is a stunning Mediterranean destination – and not least for its food. Monocle goes on a culinary tour of the island and drops in on a cooking school that promotes traditional food producers and seasonal recipes.”
I really enjoyed looking at this short film made by Monocle magazine.Read more
I will always remember with great affection my father taking me on a regular Sunday visit to the Italian family – owned “Bluebird Cafe”, that sat on the corner of our street in the southside of Glasgow. It was without doubt the highlight of the week for me as a kid, and I was delighted to recently discover that the cafe currently still exists.Read more
Was William Shakespeare a Sicilian? “Come again?” I hear you reply. Well, as outlandish as that may sound, a trawl around the search engines might convince you that there is some merit in the following theory. Either way “The Bard” saw fit to mention Sicily in more than a few of his works. So what was the connection all about and could it really have anything to do with the following?Read more
“There is no Boss of Bosses. I turned it down in front of everybody. If I ever change my mind, I will take the title. But it won’t be up to you. Right now you work for me and I ain’t in the mood to retire. Don’t you ever let me hear this again, or I’ll lose my temper.”Read more
“The stations went by, one by one, little wooden cabins with the sun shining on the red caps of the station masters; and the forest opened and closed with prickly pears tall as forks, like cerulean stones. And whenever we saw anyone, a boy coming or going along the track picking the fruit crowned in thorns that grew like coral on the prickly pear plants, he would shout as the train went by…”Read more
Leonardo Sciascia, the great 20th-century Sicilian writer, declared that “Modican chocolate is unparalleled in savor, such that tasting it is like reaching the archetype, the absolute, and that chocolate produced elsewhere, even the most celebrated, is an adulteration, a corruption of the original.”Read more
As a keen Glasgow Celtic fan I am always hoping that my football club gets Italian opposition whenever the draw comes round for the Champions League.
Apart from enjoying the thrill of seeing the cream of Serie A line up at Celtic Park, as we did last year when Juventus came to Glasgow. It also makes for good “banter” with my many Italian friends.Read more
From ancient times and leading up to this day, the market gardens of Palermo, Catania, and Messina still heave, jam-packed, with the fruits and fish of the Mediterranean.Read more
There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold/And she’s buying a stairway to heaven’ sings Robert Plant in what is possibly”the most well known rock song of all time” – otherwise known as Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”
I must confess that I prefer songs that are open to interpretation lyrically. Songs that let me decide which images and meaning fits best the atmosphere of the melody.Read more
Kraftwerk sowed the seeds for the rise of “electro” and in doing so influenced Simple Minds among so many other artists. But it was the classy Italian pop of Giorgio Moroder (see photo) that ensured dance music would dominate the charts towards the end of the 20th century. Thoroughly acclaimed for his work in reshaping electronic disco with his production of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love . (In someways a prototype for the Minds “I Travel.”)Read more
Can you imagine the scene? In 1998 a small fishing boat searching for prawns off Sicily’s southwest coast suddenly found an ancient Greek bronze statue entangled in its worn nets. Almost entirely covered in barnacles and strings of seaweed, it emerged, head first, from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. From another time and from another world no doubt, it came crashing into the last years of the 20th century.Read more
As already mentioned, my favourite months in Taormina are possibly September/October. My favourite time of day at Hotel Villa Angela however, is definitely early morning, between 7 and 8 am. The hotel is still to come awake, breakfast is quietly being laid out in preparation of the early-bird guests. There is a stillness in the sweet air. To sit on the terrace at that moment, to read, or just think over things, as I often do, Gives me so much pleasure.Read more
September to mid October are probably my favourite months to be in Taormina. It is also the time when the grape harvest (La Vendemmia) takes place. More festival, than actual back breaking work, I have enjoyed taking part on various occasions over the years, whenever friends who’s families owned land in the surrounding countryside would invite me to join them and their neighbours in the task of gathering the ripened fruit…Read more
“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.” GoetheRead more
…soon a saucer of green olives and anchovies was sitting on the table, and some bread, and some mineral water. A small woman with dark hair and dark eyes and precise features whirled up like a woodland bird. She perched lightly at the table and rattled off a long list of antipasti, first courses and second, and every single one of them came out of the sea. This was Palermo in the summer for you.
- Peter Robb, Midnight in SicilyRead more
What? Al Pacino ? Pacino who is one of the greatest actors of all time? Was at Hotel Villa Angela? Really?
Well, no! Not really. But he well might have been had we been opened around 30 years earlier than we when we did, back in 2004. And he would have been welcomed, as everyone is, you don’t have to be a movie star after all to be met with typical warm hospitality that would be expected from a small Sicilian hotel like ours.Read more
As we all know, listening to music in this century is so different from the way we did in the last. That is thanks to Karlheinz Brandenburg, who often is cited as the inventor of the music format known as the mp3. Of course it was (music geek )Steve Jobs and his company that took the whole mp3 format to a level previously beyond imagination.Read more
“Every summer, it’s on one specific day, where the light changes. Oh, I know that’s not how it works, that the angle of the earth to the sun is constantly changing, but for some reason there’s one specific day it becomes noticeable, and then you realise fall is coming.” So recently wrote the music blogger Bob Lefsetz, only a few days after I felt the exact same thing.Read more
…The new football (soccer) season begins in Italy this weekend, all of which makes me happy as I am a fan of the Italian national competition that is known the world over as Serie A.
Our nearest local club is Catania, only 45 mins away from Taormina, and they will be Sicily’s only representative in the championship this season…Read more
…I have only been away a few days but I have strong withdrawal symptoms, and Boy…do I miss it!
I am talking about Granita, and I am particularly talking about the granita that is sold in BamBar – Taormina…
…However, unless you have experienced the thrill of zigzagging by scooter, around the backstreets, of a small, sunlit, Italian town. I would vouch that in one crucial way at least, you have never really experienced Italy as it it meant to be experienced. Italy at it’s most quintessential in other words…Read more
Even when I am not in Sicily, I am often still thinking about the place. That is not only because of my involvement in Hotel Villa Angela, it is to do with the fact that I enjoy reading about Italy in all shape and forms, and about Sicily in particular.Read more
..I am due back in the UK. My destination is a recording studio where Simple Minds are continuing with what will hopefully be the last stages of recording a new album. Rarely am I unhappy to be at work…Read more
…I am never thrilled when preparing to leave Taormina, but how can I complain after such a full-on rest? In any case it is wonderful to know that the place awaits a return, and that after all these years it is really a kind of home from home…Read more
The 3 – 5 minute drive, depending on traffic, from the centre of Taormina and going up Via Leonardo Da Vinci to where Hotel Villa Angela is situated, can feel like a hair raising ride.Read more
What am I going to do? I am set on leaving Taormina later this week, but I am staring into a fridge that is full of local produce. Much more than I could ever get round to eating, much of it gifted by neighbours and friends. I see cheese and eggs that came from an estate near here.Read more
Do I speak Italian? Enough to make excuses, as I did recently with the local traffic police. They were quite rightly admonishing me for not wearing a helmet while careering around on a Vespa. Should you speak Italian before you come to Sicily?Read more
…I am in Taormina, and all is as it should be. Including sunrise of course. Ascending in stealth mode, as viewed from high up in Madonna Della Rocca, the morning sun seems almost shy to begin with. But then in a blink, it is like a ball of liquid copper, zooming over the heights of Calabria and shooting rays all along the eastern coast of Sicily. It is a must see show and it takes place at 06:12 am during this week of August…Read more
…My name is Jim Kerr. I was born in Glasgow, Scotland. I am a singer and songwriter with Simple Minds. I have been traveling in one way or another since the age of 13, when I first visited Italy on a school trip to the Adriatic Coast. In many ways Italy, and latterly Sicily in particular, have been an integral part of my life ever since….Read more