1. The Jardin Botanique d’Èze, also called the Jardin exotique d’Èze or simply the Jardin d’Èze has several hundred varieties of rare succulent plants. Jardin Exotique is locted on the top of Eze Village. This lovely botanical garden in Èze was created after World War II on ruins by former town mayor André Gianton and Jean Gastaud of the Jardin Exotique de Monaco. The botanical garden has panoramic views of the coast and of the sea. Follow the sign that says “Jardin Exotique Panorama”. It is famous for its impressive collection of cactus and succulents from the Mediterranean region, Africa, and the Americas.
2. There are many interesting sites in the charming medieval village of Eze that forms a circular pattern around the base of the old castle. Stroll through the village’s arched passages and stone alleyways with and ancient fountains. Eze has many shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants that attract a large number of tourists. It offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. The oldest building in the village is the Chapelle de la Sainte Croix that dates back to 1306. Members of the lay order of the White Penitents of Eze who were in charge of giving assistance to plague victims, held their meetings there. The shape of the bell-turret is an indication that the village once belonged to Provence.
3. Visit the charming church of Notre Dame de l’Assomption (Our Lady of the Assumption) built in 1764. Eglise Notre-Dame De L’ Assomption is situated at the heart of the famous eagle’s nest. The church stands out from the village’s medieval architecture because of its classic façade, characterized by the bell-tower. Consecrated in 1772, the church has beautiful Baroque altarpieces.
4. The Fragonard perfume factory headquartered in Grasse has a sales outlet and factory in Eze.
5. Hike on the foot-path named after the philosopher Frederic Nieztsche called the Nietzsche Way. You can take this path down to the train station and beach called Saint Laurent d’Eze. It will take about 45 minutes to go down. I did not want to hike up this arduous trail to Eze Village.
6. Stay and/or dine at the landmark Relais and Chateaux Property in Eze Village called Chateaux de la Chevre d’Or with 31 rooms and 6 suites on du Barrie www.chevreder.com. It has a great kidney-shaped pool with terraced gardens.
The outstanding restaurant is operated by a chef who has earned prestigious Michelin stars. The dining room has splendid “Vino con Vista” views overlooking the sea and the countryside. The hotel has superb terraced gardens along with lovely statues and a life-sized chess set.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com
On my recent trip to Italy, my bus driver was from Cefalu in Sicily. I spent alot of time talking to him about how this delightful town exceeded my expectations.
Cefalu is a charming sea-side resort town nestled between the mountains and the glistening cobalt water of the sea. It is a short train ride from Palermo on the northern Tyrrhenian coast with outstanding beaches and a beautiful Norman cathedral with splendid mosaics.
Walk along the sea wall to La Calura and admire the ancient rocks named Tallarita, Baranello and Passarello. The Italians love to name the rock formations. The Temple of Diana is visible atop the mountains overlooking Cefalu.
The magnificent twin-towers and the Norman Cathedral were built in 1131 by Roger II following his shipwreck along the coastline of Cefalu. The structural and architectural trappings of the cathedral are similar to Monreale. It is adorned with lancet windows. The 20th century stained glass replacement windows are covered with abstract designs created by Michelle Canzoneri. The Duomo has spectacular mosaics and houses a magnificent Christ as Pantocrator. In the square, enjoy some delightful marzapan treats with your coffee.
Some of the fun tourist attractions in and around Cefalu include:
1. The Public Lavatoio that is located in the center of town; precursor to the public Laundromat.
2. Drive up to the top of the mountain and visit the sanctuary of St. Gibilmanna in Pizzo San Angelo. This was the first church dedicated to the Madonna in Sicily. The monastery belongs to Cappuchin Friars. The sanctuary is located 2600 feet above sea level with a panoramic view of the majestic mountains.
After visiting the local attractions, dine at LoScoglio Ubriaco overlooking the water. Plan your next day perched on a beach chair that you can rent at Beach Café del Moto. Think about taking a day trip from Cefalu to Sicily’s other exotic locations like Taormina or the Aeolian islands.
For a great Vino con Vista visit Filippino on Piazza Municipio. E Pulera on via Isabella Conti Vainicher and the Kasbah Café on via Maurolico 25 offer outstanding food with pleasant outdoor seating. Purchase some local wine and cheese at Enoteca Le Petit Tonneau after you stroll along the water front and appreciate the natural beauty that this charming town exudes. In August, the town has an annual festival called Madonna della Luce which includes an evening boat procession along the coastline.
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
To learn more about Sicily visit www.vino-con-vista.com
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