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Frommer's Sicily (Frommer's Complete Guides)
Frommer's Sicily gives you the complete overview of insider knowledge on where and what to visit in this historically and culturally rich Italian island.
Packed with detailed, opinionated and honest reviews, this guide gives you the lowdown on what's worth your time and what's not, providing extensive listings of accommodation, attractions and restaurants around Sicily's cities and towns whatever your budget. The destination is broken down by thoughtful chapter sections with itineraries and accompanying maps to help you to plan your way while you stay, according to your timeframe.
Discover fascinating historical ruins and cathedrals; enjoy the best Italian cuisine; take a side trip to the coast, Mt. Etna or the volcanic island of Ustica.
Amongst all of these you'll find the latest trip-planning advice and money-saving tips and a directory of useful contacts to ensure you make the most of your stay in the largest and most fascinating island in the Mediterranean.
Take a look inside.
About Complete Guides:
The Frommer's Complete guides give travellers the comprehensive overview of destinations, detailing the vast variety of choices and need-to-know local information in cities and countries, without glossing over any of the details. Entire regions, neighbourhoods and more are broken down by thoughtful itineraries to give detailed guides to each, with full accompanying reviews and prices listed throughout. These guides are packed full of up-to-date advice and tips on what's new in the location and how to plan your trip according in every aspect of your time there; vocabulary lists also exist where you might need a few key phrases and menu terms.
Complete guides give you the respective A to Z, helping you to find the places to stay, eat, shop and explore that are best suited for you wherever you are or are planning to go.
Flying over Pisa
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In 1113 Pisa and the Pope Paschal II set up, together with the count of Barcelona and other contingents from Provence and Italy (Genoese excluded), a war to free the Balearic Islands from the Moors: the queen and the king of Majorca were brought in chains to Tuscany. Even though the Almoravides soon reconquered the island, the booty taken helped the Pisans in their magnificent program of buildings, especially the cathedral, and Pisa gained a role of pre-eminence in the Western Mediterranean.
In the following years the mighty Pisan fleet, led by archbishop Pietro Moriconi, drove away the Saracens after ferocious combats. Though short-lived, this success of Pisa in Spain increased the rivalry with Genoa. Pisa's trade with the Languedoc and Provence (Noli, Savona, Frejus and Montpellier) were an obstacle to the Genoese interests in cities like Hyeres, Fos, Antibes and Marseille.
The war began in 1119 when the Genoese attacked several galleys on their way to the motherland, and lasted until 1133. The two cities fought each other on land and at sea, but hostilities were limited to raids and pirate-like assaults.
In June 1135, Bernard of Clairvaux took a leading part in the Council of Pisa, asserting the claims of pope Innocent II against those of pope Anacletus II, who had been elected pope in 1130 with Norman support but was not recognized outside Rome. Innocent II resolved the conflict with Genoa, establishing the sphere of influence of Pisa and Genoa. Pisa could then, unhindered by Genoa, participate in the conflict of Innocent II against king Roger II of Sicily. Amalfi, one of the Maritime Republics ((though already declining under Norman rule), was conquered on August 6, 1136: the Pisans destroyed the ships in the port, assaulted the castles in the surrounding areas and drove back an army sent by Roger from Aversa. This victory brought Pisa to the peak of its power and to a standing equal to Venice. Two years later its soldiers sacked Salerno.
In the following years Pisa was one of the staunchest supporters of the Ghibelline party. This was much appreciated by Frederick I. He issued in 1162 and 1165 two important documents, with the following grants: apart from the jurisdiction over the Pisan countryside, the Pisans were granted freedom of trade in the whole Empire, the coast from Civitavecchia to Portovenere, a half of Palermo, Messina, Salerno and Naples, the whole Gaeta, Mazzarri and Trapani, and a street with houses for its merchants in every city of the Kingdom of Sicily. Some of these grants were later confirmed by Henry VI, Otto IV and Frederick II. They marked the apex of Pisa's power, but also spurred the resentment of cities like Lucca, Massa, Volterra and Florence, who saw their aim to expand towards the sea thwarted. The clash with Lucca also concerned the possession of the castle of Montignoso and mainly the control of the Via Francigena, the main trade route between Rome and France. Last but not least, such a sudden and large increase of power of Pisa could only lead to another war with Genoa.
Genoa had acquired a largely dominant position in the markets of the Southern France. The war began presumably in 1165 on the Rhone, when an attack on a convoy, directed to some Pisan trade centres on the river, by the Genoese and their ally, the count of Toulouse failed. Pisa on the other hand was allied to the Provence. The war continued until 1175 without significant victories. Another point of attrition was Sicily, where both the cities had privileges granted by Henry VI. In 1192 Pisa managed to conquer Messina. This episode was followed by a series of battles culminating in the Genoese conquest of Syracuse in 1204. Later the trading posts in Sicily were lost when the new Pope Innocent III, though removing the excommunication cast over Pisa by his predecessor Celestine III, allied himself with the Guelph League of Tuscany, led by Florence. Soon he stipulated a pact with Genoa too, further weaking the Pisa presence in Southern Italy.
To counter the Genoese predominance in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, Pisa strengthened its relationship with their Spanish and French traditional bases (Marseille, Narbonne, Barcelona, etc.) and tried to defy the Venetian rule of the Adriatic Sea. In 1180 the two cities had agreed to a non-aggression treaty in the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic, but the death of Emperor Manuel Comnenus in Constantinople changed the situation. Soon there were attacks on Venetian convoys. Pisa signed trade and political pacts with Ancona, Pula, Zara, Split and Brindisi: in 1195 a Pisan fleet reached Pola to defend its independence from Venice, but the Serenissima managed soon to reconquer the rebel sea town.
One year later the two cities signed a peace treaty which resulted in favourable conditions for Pisa. But in 1199 the Pisans violated it by blockading the port of Brindisi in Puglia. But in the following naval battle they were defeated by the Venetia
The Man with the Iron Hand
Henry de Tonti stands at the high end of Tonti Creek,
at Starved Rock State Park, Illinois. I took the creek photo,
and the Tonti portrait was painted by Ben Brantly in 1995.
Starved Rock park is rich with the footprints of Henri de Tonti. Tonti Canyon is narrow with two 80 foot waterfalls. There is a back canyon with 3 more waterfalls that only flow with snow melt or rain run off. It's a beautiful place. Tonti canyon connects to LaSalle Canyon, which boasts the largest water flow in it's series of cascades and waterfalls.
When I die, my ashes will be scattered along the high bluff trail atop LaSalle and Tonti canyons. I am attaching some bits of historical information about Henri de Tonti, the Man with the Iron Hand.
Henri de Tonty (also spelled Tonti) born 1650, Gaeta, Italy, died September 1704, Fort Louis, Louisiana (now in Alabama).
Among the greatest of the dauntless men who made possible the exploration and settlement of the Mississippi Basin, there is one forgotten man. He was a simple sturdy soldier, blunt and laconic in his speech or his reports, over-shadowed by his brilliant chief -- La Salle -- whose trusted lieutenant, loyal friend and devoted companion he was. The Forest Preserve District proposes to create a lake and name it for Henry de Tonty, Sieur and Chevalier, Governor of Fort St. Louis in the Province of the Illinois -- The Man with the Iron Hand.
Lorenzo Tonty, his father, was a banker in Naples, Italy. After a bloody revolt in 1647, he escaped to Paris where Cardinal Mazarin, also an Italian, had succeeded Cardinal Richelieu as prime minister for Louis XIV. It was Lorenzo Tonty who sested to Mazarin a system of life insurance which would replenish the royal treasury, and the name
"tontine" for such a policy is in your dictionary.
Henry, or Henri Tonti, was born in 1650. In 1668-69, Henri served in the French army as a cadet. During the following four years he was a midshipman at Marseilles and Toulon, participating in seven campaigns at sea, four in warships and three in galleys. Sent to Sicily, he was made captain-lieutenant to the maitre de camp at Messina.
At Libisso, during a Spanish attack, his right hand was shot away by a grenade and he was taken prisoner. Conducted to Metasse, he was detained there six months, then exchanged for the governor's son. In place of his missing left hand, he wore an iron hook, covered by a glove. His iron hand was feared by the Indians as "big medicine". In 1678 he was engaged as LaSalle's lieutenant and they sailed for Quebec .
LaSalle, after talking with Joliet who had explored part of the Mississippi with Father Marquette, determined to find out if it was the long-sought route to China and India. In 1679, they started out in canoes, accompanied by three Recollects (Franciscans) -- Fathers Ribourdi, Membre and Hennepin -- who as LaSalle extended dominions of the king of France, would "bring the inhabitants to a knowledge of the Christian religion".
From the east shore of Lake Michigan they went up the St. Joseph River, over into the Kankakee and, in 1680, arrived at Peoria where they built Fort Crevecoeur. Father Hennepin was sent to explore the upper Mississippi. LaSalle went back to Montreal by way of the Chicago Portage, and Tonty, after surveying the site for Fort St. Louis on Starved Rock, planned to meet him at Mackinac.
After Tonty left, Fort Crevecoeur was destroyed, Father Rihourdi was killed by a band of Kickapoos, and Tonty narrowly escaped death from an Iroquois war party. Alarmed by the prospect of the French supplying arms and ammunition to the Illinois, the Iroquois decided to make war. They struck on September 10, 1680. At first Tonty tried to buy them off with necklaces, but received only a glancing blow from a knife for his pains. Bravely persevering and with the assistance of an Onondaga chief named Agonstot, he gave them to understand that the Illinois were under the protection of the king of France and persuaded them to call off their attack. Nevertheless, the Iroquois insisted that Tonty and his men immediately leave the Illinois country.
Hoping to reach Michilimackinac before winter set in, Tonty and his party arrived early in October at the site of the present city of Chicago, where they rediscovered the portage taken by Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette seven years before. From here they headed for Baie des Puants (Green Bay). While proceeding by canoe on Lac des Illinois (Lake Michigan), they were wrecked on November 1, 1680. During the next two weeks they lived on wild garlic, grubbed up from under the snow. They ate decayed pumpkins in an abandoned Potawatomi village. They ate the thongs which fastened the lodge poles. They ate the skins and hoofs of a deer killed by wolves, and they chewed a buffalo-hide shield "which gave them bellyaches".
Ultimately they arrived at a Potawatomi settlement where Tonty
direct flights to sicily
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year
From the author of M and A Death in Brazil comes Midnight in Sicily.
South of mainland Italy lies the island of Sicily, home to an ancient culture that--with its stark landscapes, glorious coastlines, and extraordinary treasure troves of art and archeology--has seduced travelers for centuries. But at the heart of the island's rare beauty is a network of violence and corruption that reaches into every corner of Sicilian life: Cosa Nostra, the Mafia. Peter Robb lived in southern Italy for over fourteen years and recounts its sensuous pleasures, its literature, politics, art, and crimes.
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