After packing up and an early breakfast we made our way down south to Reggio di Calabria to see the Riace broniz. These two bronze statues were recovered from the seabed by trawlers. Typical to most of our visits to Italy, the museum where they are normally housed was closed for renovations and so we walked 10 minutes to see the statues. They are currently being restored and we could not take photographs of them. We then drive to Villa San Giovanni and caught the ferry to Messina. The crossing is about 20 minutes and we had a picnic lunch while waiting for the ferry to leave. Sicily is amazingly densely populated along the coast and we drove through village after village without much of a break in between each one. We stopped for ice cream at Gelati Giarre and Dave had tartufo and I had chocolate flavour. We headed for Catania before moving inland towards Mount Etna. We were quite fortunate in that she had blown her top that morning and we got to see quite a lot of black smoke pouring out of the top of the volcano. When we got to Nicolosi we started looking for a place to sleep and the Hotel Alle Pendici looked clean and suitable. However, they were fully booked! They also run a self catering house across the road and we were given the upstairs for our use. Our cooler bag went into the fridge and we had a lovely large room with a comfortable bed. The only downside was it faced the road and the traffic was quite busy through the night. We had a separate bathroom but as we were the only people upstairs, and it was the uncle staying downstairs it was not a problem. The room and breakfast cost us €55!
We went to Antico Orto Die Limoni for supper where we were told we could get a traditional Sicilian meal. The restaurant is in an old wine press and there are loads of levels to negotiate. We had the Vino rosso della casa to drink – a pleasant red wine made from local grapes. As we were walking we had a 1l carafe. We started with rustico e tipico della casa, an anti pasti plate of dishes that were delicious. I had the scaloppine al marsala for my main course and despite looking, I still have not found a bottle of marsala to bring home with me. Dave had the cosciutto di maiale ai funghi e asparagi as his main which was delicious. I could not resist dessert and had the torta al limone e pistacchio – true regional ingredients. We were then served some malvasia which is like our local hanepoort with some biscuits. There was aniseed in one of the biscuits. We ended our evening with a limoncello each and the bill came to €47.