Monday, February 11, 2008

"The Balcony of Sicily"

I've had my eye on a mountain that looms in the west every day when I drive home. It is so high, I knew I had to find it and go to the top. I just knew there had to be a great view of Etna from up there. I did some investigating on my map of Sicily and narrowed it down to two peaks. One was a "scenic view" and the other not, so that made it easy . . . I wanted the scenic one, which lies across the Simeto Valley from Etna to the west. According to the map, the peak was 733 meters high (2,404 feet), and the town at the top was called Centuripe.

I talked Kendra into driving, and her little Audi convertible was up to the task, zipping up the switchbacks without hesitation. Like many of these remote Sicilian villages, the streets were narrow, crooked, and two-way when they should have been one. Nonetheless, we found a place to park that was close to the best views of Etna and the surrounding countryside. I swear we could have seen Africa if it had been a more clear day!

Centuripe rates only a few lines in the Eyewitness Travel Guide. There isn't a lot to see there but the views are spectacular. Once upon a time, this was an important Greek-Roman town. How THEY got up there, I don't have a clue! It is known as "the balcony of Sicily," a great name for a town with view.


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