VISIT ITALY: SIRACUSA

In Syracuse, very armored sets set up in two of the most evocative places in the city: at the Neapolis archaeological park, and in particular at the Ear of Dionysus and at the Grotta dei Cordari. Then to the Maniace Castle, in the historic center of Ortigia. In addition to Harrison Ford also the female protagonist Phwoebe Waller-Bridge. Ropes, very steep wooden stairs, a chase between tunnels, even in the unique scenarios of Syracuse the archaeologist (or rather his stand-in) seems to have been put to the test. And here is that the Ear of Dionysus lends itself to being transformed into a mine, and the Maniace Castle is the heart of several scenes shot between the mainland and the sea with spectacular special effects: explosions, smoke and gunshots.
Eagle Pictures has chosen Sicily and in particular Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo, Cefalù and Syracuse to set the fifth episode of the saga. The mega production booked luxury villas and hotel rooms on the island, and of course the various services such as restaurants and drivers for the approximately 600 people working on the film. Millions of euros for traders from all over Sicily.
Pizza, pistachio desserts and almond biscuits. The most famous archaeologist of cinema lands in Sicily and chooses a bakery in Paternò, in the Catanese area, for a quick lunch. Harrison Ford, 79, arrived at Catania airport for a week of filming the new Indiana Jones in Sicily (theatrical release scheduled for July 2022). First stop in Syracuse for the Hollywood star, then by car to Cefalù where the set designers have been working for several days to give the city the image of a 1969 town.
Syracuse, a fascinating and evocative place that Cicero defined as “the most beautiful city of Magna Graecia”, bears intact the signs of its history as a cultural capital from the Greek age to the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Unesco World Heritage Site since 2005, the city stands in the setting of a suggestive natural harbor, closed to the east by the island of Ortigia and behind the Epipolis plateau.
The city preserves in every corner the testimonies of its past. Greek, Roman and Baroque styles come together in an irresistible scenario that tells millennia of history.
Starting from the ancient nucleus on the island of Ortigia, you can admire the cathedral, with its Baroque façade that rises on the peristyle of the Doric temple of Athena of the century. V BC, remodeled in the Norman era and later. Other important churches are that of San Giovanni alle Catacombe with the crypt of San Marziano, and the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia with the painting by Caravaggio "Burial of Santa Lucia"
Going around Syracuse and observing the ancient vestiges of the city is surprising. Other examples of the archaeological wealth of Syracuse can then be admired at the "Paolo Orsi" regional archaeological museum, the largest in Sicily.
Absolutely not to be missed, on the extreme tip of the islet of Ortigia, a visit to the castle of Maniace, a remarkable example of military architecture built by Frederick II in the first half of the 13th century.
Those who love nature, must go a short distance from Syracuse, in this small area, located at the southernmost tip of Italy, which has become a paradise for those who love the environment, where there are four protected areas: the Anapo valley , the Cava Grande del Cassìbile, the Pantani di Vendìcari and the river Ciane with the Saline of Syracuse.
Finally, to be able to relax by the sea, near the city you can visit the seaside resorts of Lido Arenella, Ògnina (port-canal) and Fontane Bianche.
The Reserve is located between the municipalities of Noto, Avola and Syracuse. It is a complex of soft limestone rocks, located in the low Hyblaean plateau excavated by the Cassibile river, which over time have formed steep valleys called “caves” due to the action of erosion. One of the most spectacular is the Cava Grande crossed by the Cassibile river. 10 km long and 250 meters deep, it was the site of inhabited settlements in the Paleolithic era. Eight thousand cave-like rock tombs have been excavated in the walls, dating back to between the tenth and ninth centuries. B.C.

NOMADLAND

I know you expected to see the poster for this famous movie. But I won’t show it because it’s bullshit. Nomads do not receive a pension and those are the real nomads. But the people in this movie travel because they have a monthly income that allows them to do what they want. A story written by a pensioner, and not by a true nomad! So I would like to say that yes, it is a beautiful thing to travel the world but if you are rich or have a pension you cannot go and advise others on how to survive. You are a false nomad. If you want to see the real nomads go to Mongolia instead where they can give you real advice on how to survive. It pisses me off all these people who have put themselves on a camper or van and already have money and want to believe that they survive only by traveling and selling bracelets. Come on?!!! Can we believe such fake people?
The term nomad is really overused today, and we often forget that there are people who live this lifestyle out of necessity or culture, as the only reality they have and not as a choice.

Once very many, today there are few people who still live in this way: the nomads of Mongolia are one of them. In the arid Mongolian steppes there is no room for cultivation, the main means of livelihood is livestock, and to always guarantee new pastures for the cattle, families move with their gers and their trucks, which represent all their possessions.

Living this life is not easy, there is no hot water (not even cold water to take a decent shower), no toilet, no power outlet other than solar panels for the cell phone, no fridge and no entertainment. We tried to live like this for a week and it was pretty tough. Between the food always based on the strangest meats, the lack of hygiene and the most absurd behavioral rules, nomads live a truly crazy life.
You cook on the floor, eat on the floor, sleep on the floor ... but if there is food placed on the ground and you try to climb over it, walking over it with your feet, you will hear it screaming! Nomads really eat everything: from sausages made of guts emptied of excrement, to the head of a kid with delicious eyeballs, but the most absurd thing we saw presented for dinner was a… marmot !!! Not just its meat: a marmot emptied of its entrails and used as a "pressure cooker" to cook its own meat!
Thank goodness there will be something good to drink, right? Obviously not, because what they usually drink is salty tea. Yes, salty. They are people used to riding for hours and hours, they will have a very comfortable and soft saddle ... but no, their saddles are made of wood and, in order not to miss any inconvenience, their stirrups are very short, so that you always have to ride raised from the saddle. An infinite pain. The ger is a concentrate of ancient engineering, a real portable miniature house. Once disassembled, it is transported entirely with all the furniture in a pick-up. Do you know how long it takes to assemble one? Two hours, counted.
A nomad wakes up every morning at 6, milks the cows and then accompanies the herd of sheep on horseback to pasture… then he stands there watching them for 4 to 7 hours, with a nap attached. The horses are not tied up, nor in the pens. They are left free but with the 3 legs tied by a rope, so that they can graze and move but… do not stray too far.
What we would call spoiled milk for them is a delicacy in which to dip cookies or add to soup. Nomads eat a lot, it will be to stock up for the harsh winter. And they expect you to eat the same. The problem is that grandma's delicacies aren't exactly what they offer you. And they are almost aggressive in insisting that you do an encore, forbidden to say no.
"I am proud to be born in the taiga," says Tumursukh sitting at a table in a cafe in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, a stone's throw from the offices of the Ministry of the Environment, for which he works. “My father took me there since I was a child, and he taught me to know and love her. When I left to study in the capital, I began to miss him. I waited several years before my dream came true: to be appointed by the Ministry of the Environment responsible for the protection of the Hovsgol region. So in 1987 I was able to create the first protected area and safeguard a part of the region from mining. In the 1980s, the first industries began to settle down, digging the mountain to get phosphorus. We fight to preserve our nature from this type of threat because the taiga, which is home to rare flowers, elk, bear and ibex, is precious and fragile. The government understood this and decided to keep it ”.
Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator), the capital of Mongolia with just over a million inhabitants, has become the most polluted capital in the world, surpassing Beijing and New Delhi, which both have 20 times the number of inhabitants. In December, when temperatures drop to as low as -40 degrees, air pollution levels are five times worse than in historically polluted Beijing, largely due to the number of coal stoves that poorer residents rely on.
Agence France-Presse reports that Mongols are turning to drinks like "oxygen infusions" and "lung tea" to try to strengthen their bronchial ducts and protect themselves from the polluted air they breathe every day. Advertisements for these probably ineffective drinks promise that "an oxygen cocktail is equivalent to a three-hour walk in a pristine forest" and grocery stores sell canned oxygen that they swear will turn ordinary glasses of juice into oxygen-rich cocktails.

Meanwhile, producers of so-called lung teas such as Enkhjin, Ikh Taiga and Dr. Baatar claim that their products are capable of filtering pollutants from their customers' airways. "It first removes toxins from the blood, then turns them into mucus, and then all the plants contained in the tea help strengthen the human immune system," said Baatar Chantsaldulam, CEO of Dr. Baatar.
Unfortunately, it is becoming an increasingly far-fetched prospect. Over the past 30 years, 20% of the entire population has moved to Ulaanbaatar, and many of them are displaced farmers, herders and rural residents who have come to the city to find work. They are too desperate to live in the Gobi desert, but too poor to afford housing, so they live in gers, one-room tents heated by coal stoves that can be built, or dismantled, in a couple of hours.
According to Newsweek, there are more than 180,000 gers in the city, and all that coal (or wood or trash can be burned to warm up during those freezing winters) is responsible for most of the air pollution; WHO estimates that 80 percent of Ulaanbaatar's airborne pollutants come from ger stoves, compared with 10 percent from transportation, 6 percent from power plants and 4 percent from "solid waste."

The Times reports that Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh announced in January that the transportation and use of raw coal in Ulaanbaatar will be banned after April 2019 (this has generated a lot of concern as it will cause another economic crisis among those mining, selling and transporting coal). Meanwhile, the Ulaanbaatar Clean Air project is doing what it can to help, trying to replace Ger residents' coal stoves with cleaner, more energy-efficient models. It is also trying to pressure the government to seek affordable permanent housing options for this section of the population.

"Ulaanbaatar may be the coldest capital in the world, but it doesn't have to be the most polluted," said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. "Improving air quality management in Ulaanbaatar and reducing pollution concentrations would prevent disease, save lives and avoid huge health costs."

VISIT ITALY: MIRAMARE CASTLE

Near Trieste, on a rocky spur overlooking the sea, stands the Miramare Castle, once the southern gate of the Austrian Empire. A place of wonders where Princess Sissi stayed during her long travels in Europe. A treasure trove of history and legend that tells the tragic story of its founder, Maximilian of Habsburg.
Here Princess Sissi saw the sea for the first time and was captivated by its beauty and impetuosity; characteristics in which the empress probably found herself.

VISIT ITALY: THE SAVOY CASTLE

The Savoy Castle was built at the behest of Queen Margherita of Savoy, who loved Gressoney so much, to the point of residing there during her summer stays until 1925, initially a guest of Baron Beck Peccoz and from 1904 in his residence. The building is located in the Belvedere area, a name due to the wonderful view that can be enjoyed, which allows you to admire the Monte Rosa valley.

VISIT ITALY: THE NEBRODI

  • The Sanfratellano dei Nebrodi horse (or San Fratello breed) is an Italian breed originally from the Messina area. Majestic and rustic, docile and proud, the Sanfratellano horse has been the undisputed master of the Nebrodi mountains for centuries.
The ancient Greeks called this area “the land of roe deer”, and it is precisely from “nebros”, roe deer, that the name of the park was born. The Nebrodi Park, which with more than 80 thousand hectares of surface, is the largest protected natural area on the island, represents a breathtaking spectacle of unspoiled nature. Through its paths and paths there are different types of vegetation to discover and a rich and complex wildlife community.
An ideal place to indulge in a dream trekking during your Sicilian holidays. Formed by the rushing waters of the San Basilio stream, at a height difference of 30 meters carved by time, the waterfall is located in the territory of Galati di Mamertino in an area full of charm that offers numerous ideas for pleasant walks.
A small corner where you can also relax by offering a prayer to the Madonna present in the icon placed by the citizens of Caronia Montagna to consecrate the wood to the Lady of Nature.
Lake Maulazzo is a suggestive artificial reservoir of about 5 hectares on the north-eastern slopes of Monte Soro, the highest peak of the Nebrodi. The path leading to the lake proceeds through hidden and unusual paths. You can admire streams of clear water, small mammals, diurnal birds of prey, griffins and, with a little luck, even the golden eagle. There is no shortage of plants, flowers and mushrooms typical of the undergrowth. Lake Maulazzo is an important lake environment: although it was born as an artificial lake, over time it has naturalized, offering shelter to many animal and plant species.
The Sicilian Black pig, also called Nero dei Nebrodi, Nero delle Madonie or Nero dell Etna is a native breed with very ancient origins. It is a very fine breed with a strong and highly recognizable meat flavor. Sicilian black pigs are raised in the wild and semi-wild state in the wooded areas of the island, free to feed according to nature, guaranteeing the goodness of their meat thanks to proper nutrition consisting mainly of acorns and chestnuts.
It is enclosed between the borders of Randazzo and Tortorici. It is a natural alpine lake and is the highest in Sicily (1435 m asl). Its waters besides quenching the thirst of numerous herds, attract numerous avian species, including gray herons, coots, moorhens and mallards.
If you are looking for adventure in contact with nature, if you are attracted by the unknown or if you (simply) like walking, you cannot miss this Sicilian stop, to be added immediately to your “to do list”, that is to the list of 1000 things to do on the weekend. The next one, for example.
Birdwatching of Nebrodi griffins. From the educational laboratory “La Tana delle Idee” you can watch the griffons thanks to dioramas and cameras present in the nesting sites of the Griffons. These large birds with their wingspan of over three meters, can travel hundreds of kilometers in one day.
Three pairs of golden eagles live in the area of ​​the Nebrodi Park and one of these, the one that lives in the stupendous landscape of the fortresses of the Crasto di Alcara li Fusi, is linked to a singular and fascinating legend. It is said, in fact, that a hermit, San Nicola Politi, who lived in a cave among these inaccessible mountains had established an exceptional relationship with the Golden Eagle and every day provided for his sustenance receiving the blessing of the sacred man. This tradition finds testimony in the paintings that can be observed in the town of Alcara li Fusi and the relationship of affection of the locals towards their eagle is still alive and testified by the good health of this couple, which is among the most fruitful and productive of the whole Sicily.

VISIT ITALY: PANAREA

Panarea, a view from the high
A corner of the town
A beach in Panarea
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in Panarea
Beautiful sea
Some marine caves in Panarea
Very beautiful caves
Panarea town
A street in the town
Another street in the town
Raya Summer Fest

VISIT ITALY: MONDELLO

Mondello’s beach and resort
Clear water of the sea in Mondello
some picturesque boats
Beach in Mondello
Tipical octopus salad (stret food)
Seafront in Mondello
Mondello by night
Mondello’s tower and seagulls
Mondello Fest
Mondello’s Circoletto
Young people at the beach

LIVING AROUND THE WORLD WITH TWO CATS

An Italian couple has decided to abandon city life and travel the world living in a car with their cats. Instead of abandoning them, as so many stupid people do when they go on vacation, they took them with them because they are part of the family.

VISIT ITALY: FIRENZE

Florence is the land of masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, Brunelleschi and Masaccio. A land full of culture and renaissance
The Dome by Brunelleschi
The Annunciation by Botticelli
DAVID by Michelangelo
Piazza della Signoria
The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
Madonna by Raffaello
Walking in Florence
The cherubs of Raphael
Botticelli’s Venus
View of the cathedral of Florence
Interiors of the Palazzo Vecchio
Donatello’s David
The Old Bridge

MY FIRST TIME IN VENICE

We were on the train and we were approaching Venice. After Mestre I start to feel a smell in the air .. A strong smell coming through the windows. It was hot and the windows were all open. I smell better and finally smell the sea. I start crying like a desperate one. All the people turn and they all look at me with concern. But it wasn’t desperation. They did not know that it had been three very long years that I had not seen and heard the sea. So smell that well known smell it was beautiful. And then once we got to Venice I was shocked by its beauty. The very fact of not having cars around was fantastic. Then as soon as I arrived, from a side street, in front of the colored marbles of San Marco I was moved again. Because those colors, those shapes, everything was like that

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