We set off bright and early for our next destination, the city of Alcamo. We opted to take secondary roads, rather than the highways. Time wasn’t important, as we were not traveling that far, and we had hours to kill before we could check into our new temporary homes. While doing research, before leaving New York, I read about the old town of Gibellina, which was located a little further to the east, on the island of Sicily. On the map, it looked like it would be “sort of” on our way to Alcamo, and so we decided to try and find it. We picked a rural road that looked as if it would take us in the general direction of the place — at least on the map, it did. But, the going was much slower than we expected, as the road was in horrible condition and so we had to crawl along. At one point, we passed a farmer on a tractor, and he told us to turn around, and not to even try and proceed! But, hey, we are New Yorkers, right? So, we persevered. And eventually, about two hours later, we were able to connect with a better road, and make better time, and by then, it was time for some lunch. After a quick bite to eat, and something to drink, we hit the road again.The actual name of our first destination, before Alcamo, was the town of Gibellina Vecchia. This is a town that was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. The entire place was flattened. The town was later rebuilt about 11 kilometers away. The original location, though, was turned into a monument of sorts, by the artist Alberto Burri, who came up with the idea to completely cover the ruins of the town with concrete, while keeping the street plan of the community. The result is called “Il Cretto di Burri”, and it is certainly a sight to see! As we drove along, evidence of the damage from the earthquake was everywhere! It seemed as if each road that we drove on, in this area, housed some kind of ruin, attributed to the earthquake. As the day went on, we headed towards our next destination, the city of Alcamo. But, on our way, we passed the city of Gibellina Nuova, driving under the symbol of the city, “La Porta del Belice,” by Pietro Consagra.Before long, we were entering the town of Alcamo. I had booked a room for myself at the Hotel Centrale, while Susan was staying at a B&B located a few streets away. Both places were in the same general part of the city, and on a map, it looked simple enough to reach the area….Well, that was on a map. What the map didn’t explain was that some of the streets turned into stairways, and it seemed that others were one way, always going in the other direction. By the time that we found my hotel, and learned that it was possible to park the car in front of it for the night, we were both anxious to get out and take a shower, unwind, and explore a bit of the city before dinner. Alcamo is a city with a population of 45,307 inhabitants. Located almost smack in the middle between Palermo and Trapani, it is about six kilometers from the sea, up on a hilltop. Piazza Ciullo is one of the main squares in the city, and it is lined with cafés and bars, as well as a church or two. The Church of Saint Olivia, located at the start of the piazza, drew one’s attention with the tilted crucifix that adorned its facade.
Next up: exploring Alcamo, plus a trip to Segesta!
Note: this blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear.