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Spring Meeting 2012 of the Registro Aurelia in Catania (Sicily)
Our spring meeting this year took us to Sicily, more precisely to Catania, and the Etna. 7 Aurelias met at Genova on Thursday to board the ferry with destination Palermo. A good occasion to renew friendships, and a forced 24 hours rest before the arduous task of navigating Sicilian roads.
On arrival on Friday night we drove the 210 km separating Palermo from Catania on the central highway, arriving round midnight at the hotel, where the other participants were waiting.
On Saturday all participants left for Aci Trezza where we saw the Faraglioni, those lava spires emerging from the sea, which are said to have been thrown by the cyclop Polyphemus at Ulysse’s boat. We also visited the fort at Aci Castello and the Casa del Nespolo, scene of the novel “I Malaviglia” by Giovanni Verga, describing the life of a poor fishermen family in Sicily in the 19th century. That novel was used by Luchino Visconti for his neorealist film “La Terra Trema”. The following lunch enabled us to sample fish in all its variations, accompanied by the suitable liquid products of the island. The evening gala dinner took place at Palazzo Manganelli, superb 18th century Palace in Catania, on the main floor, with doors opening on a hanging garden. It was built following the earthquake of 1693 on the remains of the 14th century house. Meanwhile our cars were exhibited on the Piazza del Duomo, enjoyed by the numerous Saturday night public.
Sunday took us on the north side on the Etna, to Feudo Vagliasindi: Rural tourism at its best, a big villa on the north side of the Etna, near Randazzo, where we tasted local specialities. Nice period winery, with enormous oak barrels. Well worth a return visit and a night stay, very nice rooms are available (http://www.feudovagliasindi.it/). In the evening we visited Catania, and the museum of the Cathedral.
Monday saw the cars climbing the Etna, enjoying themselves on a beautiful curvy road that was constructed under Mussolini, until we reached the funivia (cablecar) that takes you from 1910 m to 2500 m. From there special all terrain IVECOS and UNIMOGS took us further up to 3000 m, where we walked to a side crater that was smoking ominously. The last buffet which we took in a mountain restaurant was suitably accompanied by local musicians, playing Sicilian songs, and opera airs from Bellini. It was already time to say good bye, and to thank the organisers, who had cared so well for us over that long week-
(Sébastien Simon, May 2012)