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Monday, November 2, 2009

Sicily at its Best - Noto

The main reason for our trip to Italy was to celebrate the wedding of a close friend. Debora and I met on a quiet street in Pisa back in October 2000. I was a missionary for my Church, she was a student at the University of Pisa. We became fast friends - one of those friendships that comes so naturally and easy. I'm happy that it has stayed that way even after all these years. She came to visit us for three months back in 2005. Earlier this year when I found out she was getting married, I decided I had to take advantage of the chance to go back to Italy. Marc didn't argue. He was equally excited at the idea.

I was a little nervous about how my perceptions of Italy would change since I only knew it through my experiences as a missionary. I wasn't really sure what to expect going back as a tourist. But, once we arrived I realized we were in a much different situation that your average tourist.

The majority of our two weeks in Italy were spent in Debora's hometown, Noto. For the first week, we lived in a little studio-like apartment owed by some cousins of Debora on a little narrow street that can only be accessed by foot and by Vespa. We had a huge 5-course lunch every day with Debora's family, prepared at the hands of Giuseppina, her sweet mother. We were involved in all the pre-wedding traditions. We felt like we were part of this amazing Sicilian family... and we felt lucky beyond words.

One thing you might notice is how nearly every view looks postcard-worthy. We were constantly catching our breath with every view we saw.

This is the tiny little street (alleyway) where we stayed for the first week we were in Italy. Our front door is the green shutter door on the far right of the photo. The red portion of the building is where Debora and Vincenzo are now living as newlyweds. This is Vincenzo on his phone. 

This is Salvatore's (Debora's dad) Vespa that he purchased when he was 14. He's had it for forty-something years. It reminded me of my Dad and his '51 Chevy that he still owns.

The photos below are of us (purposefully) getting lost through the tiny streets of a maze that led to our little street.

Here's an evening view of our little place... its quaintness is so endearing. Directly behind me, attached to the building is a water fountain that only provides water until about 3pm everyday. It's constant drip was soothing during our afternoon naps. And, we loved waking up every morning to the old Sicilian man with his cart, selling carrots, bananas, and other fresh produce that wasn't understood as clearly.

Just a view of a nearby neighborhood.

Here are some photos of the more historical, downtown Noto.

Here's the street where every May there is a huge festival held, called the Infiorata. Different designs are chosen, and the artists create their designs using only flowers. I think our next visit to Noto will have to be in May.

For our second week in Sicily, we moved out to the family's country home. They apologized for the inconvenience, but we quite enjoyed the calm and beauty we found there. Even more breathtaking views. This was also the gathering place the day after the wedding, where we feasted on delicious food, and I got private lessons from Giusi on how to make all of it! (Pictures of the meal will come in a separate post, coming soon.)

These are views of Noto, from the countryside home, with the Mediterranean in the background.


Mandi said...

Wow! All of your pictures are amazing! You're right, they do look like post cards. I'm so glad that you and Marc took the opportunity to go! What an incredible trip filled with great memories. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

Mindy said...

Loving all of your photos!