We are currently in Taormina on the island of Sicily. When I last left off, we were returning from the coliseum.

We finished our tour at the Pantheon, a structure dating to 125 CE. It is a masterpiece in architecture and symmetry with its open central ceiling to allow viewing of the night skies. We bid adieu to Giovanni and wandered around the Piazza Navone, an open market square filled with shops, trattorie, performers and artists, along with the usual panhandlers. It was a magnificent sunny and warm day and we ate a nice lunch sitting outside under an umbrella. We walked to see the synagogue but couldnít get in since it was closed for a wedding celebration. The party was outside and the music filled the neighborhood with all the people in the streets dancing to the beat.

Back to the hotel and dinner at a local restaurant at the foot of the Spanish Steps. We met a nice couple from Singapore. He was retired and managing his money and she was a part time physician working only mornings.

The next morning we left for the airport. Donít believe what people tell you about Roman traffic. Boston is worse by a mile. We met up with the Nichols at the Rome airport and then off to Sicily. Getting our car was a bit of a trick, but we managed and then drove to Palermo, where we found our travel agent had forgot to book us for our day of arrival. We had a fair lunch at a local pizzeria outside and then drove through the seedier side of Palermo out to the country and south to Agrigento where we found, with some difficulty, our hotel, Baglio della Luna. This was a restored villa with a beautiful courtyard and surrounding fields. After checking in, we went down to the local shore of San Leone for a walk along the beach and then a terrific lunch with good wine at Ristorante Pescatore. This picture was taken along the water there.

Dinner was at our hotel. Good, but not great. A restful night and then on to visit the archaelogical digs at the Valley of the Temples. These structures below were built more than 2500 years ago and have been partially restored over the past 30 years. The scale and symmetry of the work is stunning.

Dinner was at a local restaurant, Ristorante Leone. Good with a less than stellar Sicilian red wine. We left the next morning for a long and hair-raising ride to Taormina. Our arrival there was complicated by the narrow and confusing streets of the city, somewhat reminiscent of Beacon Hill, but with much tighter squeezes getting through. At one point, we literally squeaked through one passage. Based on this experience and our total exhaustion, we decided to bag the trip to Siracusa the next day.

Awoke to a spectacular and clear sunny day.