Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Snow in Sicily? In March??

Imagine my surprise when it began to snow on my way home from work yesterday. The flurries quickly became almost a blizzard, and this was happening down at sea level, not just up on the volcano. I was a little concerned about getting home, but it melted on the road so there was no problem. By the time I got home, it was nearly stopped and nothing had accumulated but a dusting on the trees. The poor palms, aloes, lemon tree, mimosa, and cacti looked cold.

In the evening, I turned on an outdoor light to let the cats in. Why was it so bright out there? Omigosh--there was an inch or two of snow covering everything!

This morning, it appeared that MORE snow had appeared overnight . . . in fact, it was still flurrying. I thought nothing of it, though. I scraped about 3 inches off my windows and left home. I had brand-new Michelins to the tune of 700 Euros, so it shouldn't be a problem. However, there was not a single other set of tire tracks on the street. It turned out that there was ice under the snow, and my ABS chattered all the way down the hill to the main part of town. There, I expected things to be normal, as had been my previous experience. But no! Land Rovers and a huge snowplow (now, where did they get THAT?) were the only things out. I went up one hill and started down another to leave town when a city bus started skidding sideways down the hill in front of me (see photo at right). NOT a good sign. I crept, ABS chattering, to a corner and turned back into town. When I reached main street, I could see nothing was moving, so I turned to go home and wait for the melting. Unfortunately, a large truck had stopped and was skidding backwards, so I quickly ducked into a parking place, parked the car, and walked all the way home.

Now I'm waiting a few hours before I try again to go down the mountain. The school secretary said the entire volcano is covered in snow, right down to the valley. Strange at any time, but in March? Unheard of!


At March 09, 2006 8:09 AM, Blogger Sicilian said...

I am forwarding your blog to my parents. My father came from Sicily at age of 9 and had never seen snow until the day they arrived at Ellis Island.

Love reading your blog. Our family is planning a trip in October/November so I am reading your blog to learn a little about what to expect.

Thanks for all the info you provide.

At March 10, 2006 1:15 AM, Anonymous Dorothy Harris said...

I found you on the SlowTrav site, and not a moment too soon. We - husband, mom, brother (doc just retired from US Navy) and assorted friends are renting a villa in Santa Venerina for 2 weeks, beginning 6 May.

We will be attending the Trecastagni festival on the 10th, and have had trouble figuring out just what occurs when in terms of the outdoor activities. Not much in English on the web. Any thoughts?

We are traveling independently with several cars but have hired Bluestone tours to do a couple of the longer treks in their minivan. Otherwise, I am having a great time making day trip itineraries for those who are interested.

I have heard that at the moment (in May, too) Noto is not worth seeing since it is so swathed in scaffolding. Do you have an opinion on that?

I am going to read through all your postings, and hope to hear from you. Thanks and regards from

Dorothy Harris in Los Angeles

At March 12, 2006 8:57 PM, Blogger Maryellen said...

I'm glad you enjoy my blog! I live very near Trecastagni, and Santa Venerina has my favorite winery and restaurant--Murgo. Great place for both. As for Noto, it's just the cathedral that is draped in scaffolding, and it's supposed to be uncovered any day! There is still plenty to see, I think, but you might also plan to see Scicli or one of the other Baroque towns. It's very interesting down there. As for the outdoor activities at the festival . . . I'm not sure. I can ask a friend who lives there, though. I'm sure she's been to it. Basically, it's not too exciting (to me)--just vendors, maybe a parade, fireworks, some activity in the church, maybe a carnival. I'll get back to you. I know you will LOVE Sicily, though!

At March 31, 2006 4:47 AM, Blogger Gary said...

I was in Sig from 87-90, in the Navy. We stood on base once at night and (somehow) watched Etna putting on a grand show thru the falling snowflakes.

I'll never forget it.


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