Category Archives: History

One Last Day In Ortigia

This time last year we’d recently returned from Sicily, and two sultry weeks in Ortigia, where the balcony of our apartment looked out over the sea. We watched through our crystal ball, waiting each day for a breeze, but the … Read more

Avebury

This was a few weeks ago, driving back to London down the A4. It was so much more interesting than the slow procession along the M4 to Bristol the day before. Reduced to two lanes, it was being rewired as … Read more

Greensted Church

From Chipping Ongar we followed the Essex Way, a long straight track heading west out of town through fields of barley, towards a distant dust storm. The path was fragrant with chamomile under our feet, and luckily, by the time … Read more

Akrai

Last summer in Sicily, above the town of Palazzolo Acreide, in the Province of Syracuse, we found ourselves at the site of the ancient Greek city of Akrai. Nowadays a collection of stones, still being excavated, and the quarries from … Read more

Sight

SIGHT an unprecedented site-specific exhibition by British artist Antony Gormley. It marks the first time that a contemporary art exhibition is held on Delos, birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, since the sacred island was first inhabited more than five thousand … Read more

One Day In Calvi

We were staying at the top of the hill, behind the beach and the hotels, looking east over the bay to the mountains beyond. North of us was the Citadel but it only came into view as we descended the … Read more

Cava Ispica

The doorway in the rock face opened into a honeycomb of catacombs, hand-carved rock tombs and tunnels, cubicles and niches, an underground depository for the dead. All now dissolved, evacuated, long gone and undead, a dormitory of empty beds, a … Read more

The Chestnut Of A Hundred Horses

Some call it the Hundred Horse Chestnut, but that confuses me because it’s a sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) not a horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). Maybe it should be the Sweet Chestnut of a Hundred Horses. In Italian it is called … Read more

Neapolis Archaeological Park

Last August, on holiday in Sicily, a short walk out of Ortigia through the hot dusty streets of Syracuse brought us to Neapolis, one of the largest archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. The entrance is beside the little Norman church … Read more

Noto Antica

The original city of Noto was 12km further up the valley of the Asinaro River from where present day Noto now stands. It was relocated after the devastating earthquake of 1693. The original site is now an overgrown ruin, reclaimed … Read more