Photo by Faith Willinger
Last month, Faith Willinger began documenting her Grand Tour through Sicily with a description of her time in Catania. Then, she continued her journey in Sortino. Next, she traveled to Buccheri,
Noto, Frigintini, Modica, and Scicli. Last week, she visited Vittoria and Scoglitti.
The scenery on the way to Licata was uninspiring--fields of plastic greenhouses and a huge refinery outside Gela, which has to be the ugliest city in Sicily. But there was an archeological museum, which is a worthwhile detour. We strolled through rooms without any tourists and learned about Gela, an important Greek colony founded around 688 B.C. The museum ends with objects from the middle ages. It's been downhill for Gela ever since then.
In Licata, Pino Cuttaia, chef-owner of La Madia, my favorite restaurant in Sicily, met us at his restaurant, which was closed. He'd been in Rome, cooking dinner at the Citta del Gusto along with chefs from the other restaurants that had won three forks--the highest honor--from the Gambero Rosso guide. He took us around town. The archeological museum, housed in a 16th century cloister, was closed, for renovations. Next time.
Pino had heard about a collection of books that were being cataloged, made a few phone calls, and we went to the middle school De Pasquali (Pino reminisced about his school days there and asked what happened to the fig tree in the courtyard). The Fondo Antico della Biblioteca Luigi Vitali has almost 6,000 Latin and Italian manuscripts and books dating from the 15th century to 1830, once the property of local convents and monasteries. They'd been stored in black plastic garbage bags for years and had to be fumigated before any cataloging could begin. It's a slow process