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8/22/2011

CATANIA. SAFE UNDER THE VOLCANO

It’s been, over the centuries, a city Greek, Roman, Byzantine, then Arab, Norman, Swabian, later Angevin, “Aragonese” and Spanish.
Catania, Castello Ursino

Sicilians say it's a symbol of rebirth: despite numerous foreign domination and looting suffered over time, despite the destructive force of earthquakes and eruptions of Etna, has always emerged from the ashes.
In 2002, UNESCO has recognized this city World Heritage Site: it wears on itself visible signs of its past and, thanks to new generations, it's ready to rebirth again.
Catania, view from the sea

"VIVA SANT'AGATA"

In the first days of February Catania transforms itself: 
 it becomes the ritual place of an ancient procession which mixes religion and folklor. The city attracts almost a million of people, including citizens, devotees and the curiouses from everywhere. 
Many migrants return home to participate in the solemn celebrations in honor of the patron saint, who died in 251 AD.
Sant Agata symbls in church
The city revives with a deep feeling the life and martyrdom of its "Santuzza”(“little saint”).

Every year a flood of churchgoers, wearing a white robe of a penitent, carries in procession, in the characteristic "vara", the effigy of the saint imploring and crying "Citatini Sant'Aita √® viva! (Citizens, St. Agatha is alive. She’s among us all).

So Agata’s back among his people, in a swell of emotions, prayers and ancient invocations. Processions and celebrations continue for three days and three nights, involving every township.

Sant Agata procession

The procession starts from the historic center, the Etnea street, to retrace the life of the saint through the places where the young Agatha was held prisoner, suffered torture and torment.

From the Cathedral, where the relics are kept, passing through the Biscari way, where she was born, we arrive at the church of San Biagio, where is located the furnace in which the martyr was burned.

In the church of Sant'Agata in visiting the prison cell where he was locked up, there are visible the footsteps of her feet imprinted in volcanic rock (one of her miracles).

The church of “Sant’Agata la Vetere” holds her first tomb.

There is indicated the place where the young woman suffered the agony of amputation of the breast.


Sant Agata alla Fornace church
The popular neighborhoods are full of crowds, stalls, lights and music.

The fireworks recall interventions of Saint Agata in defense of  her city from the eruptions of Etna volcano.

The “bassi” (typical dwellings) are open to visitors.

All contributes to a more united people that honor her patron and asks for protection, in a moving and evocative atmosphere that also involves the most skeptical travelers.




THE CIRCUMETNEA
Who wants to "go around" to the volcano overlooking the city, simply has to go to the stationCatania-Borgoand take a seat on the old steam railway, to discovery ancient villages clinging to the sides of the mountain.

 Dark lavic rocks in a beach of Catania city


Already in the suburbs meet the traces of the flow that, in 1669, destroyed Catania (rebuilt over the old town, still observable coming down its basement)





Misterbianco surpassed, we face a typical panorama of the Mediterranean vegetation and, continuing towards the summit, we pass through the ancient and typical little towns of Paternò, Santa Maria di Licodia, Biancavilla, Adrano.



 
At least 20 municipalities belonging to the amazing natural park of Etna.

Passed Bronte we are in the middle of a dark lava flow, while the gaze sweeps over the craters of the volcano.

Climbing Etna.....
Then we turns out  of Randazzo, the Alcantara valley, the vineyards of Solicchiata and, going deeper in the valley, we see old villages and hamlets


Suddenly, watching away, we recognize the blue sea and the scent of citrus, to conclude the short journey at the nice station of Riposto.




 
SPAGHETTI ALLA NORMA

Ingredients:
   4 persons:
500 grams of spaghetti
300 grams of tomato sauce
1 Kg eggplant black
150 gr of  salty ricotta cheese
100 grams of fresh ricotta cheese
extra virgin olive oil
8 whole leaves of basil
salt and pepper as you like.

Preparation:
Peel the eggplants, cut into pieces and leave them in a colander for about an hour, after being sprinkled with a little bit of salt.
Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a saucepan.
Heat  in a pan a bit of oil.
Drain the eggplant and fry them, then put them to dry on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
Meanwhile, boil water in a pot.
When the water boils, add salt and spaghetti.
When the pasta is "al dente" (well cooked), drain well.
Place the spaghetti in a large bowl and add the ricotta  fresh cheese, chopped basil and tomato sauce warm.
Mix all and divide the spaghetti on the plates, which will be added to the slices of fried eggplant.
Grate a little salty ricotta cheese and garnish every dish with basil leaves.
Serve hot.


https://amorbis.infusionsoft.com/go/tin/conniermn/



Etna volcano in winter time

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