Friday, 14 December 2012

Preparing for the feast

On my way to get food for the weekend from the supermarket this morning I was out in the open when I heard the noise of the recorded midday Angelus from above the town. I noticed it seemed to come from the Sanctuario della Madonna della Rocca, well placed for sound propoagation, 200 metres above the town on Monte Tauro. I've listened to it a number of times down below, also when I was outside the Duomo up at Castelmole, where the sound was much better quality. I wondered if the church had a mechanical carillon of bells, and if a recording of this was relayed from the Sanctuario. The sound from Castelmole would be most likely inaudible in Taormina because Monte Tauro, site of the Sanctuario blocks the sound propagation.

As I got to Porta Catania the penultimate decorative garland was being hung in the southern section of the Corso. From Porta Media to here must have all been done this morning, as nothing in the second section done when I walked back from the Cathedral yesterday evening, although the first section, completed on Tuesday was lit up. I don't imagine anything could be done in yesterday's rain either. So the lighting installation crew have worked hard. Winter wonderland it will be, for visitors and retailers alike.

This afernoon I explored a steep narrow valey, almost a ravine, to the north and west of the Messina gate. Despite the forbidding terrain apartment blocks and houses, some of the small hotels were plumbed into the mountainside. Castelmola towers directly above but there no direct path up. A little lower down is the Scala Branco, another long flight of steps which ascends to the ridge, which joins Monte Tauro and its Saracen Castle to the heights of Castelmola. I climbed up, went along the ridge, packed with houses, apartments and hotels, visited the Sanctuario della Madonna della Rocca - this time closed - pausing to confirm that there is a tannoy type loudspeaker up there facing Taormina, and then descending the via Crucis steps to return home. A decent short hike, only just avoiding a soak, as it started to drizzle when I reached the Corso.

No Vespers at the convent tonight, as the sisters are all engaged with building their 'presepio' - nativity scene - in place of the usual community Office. Looking forward to seeing it. After all, it was Italian Franciscans in the 13th century who originated an idea which spread across the world.

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