Unesco World Heritage Towns and Some

Today, we were touring Ragusa, Modica, and Scicoi, – all three towns are Unesco Heritage sites. All three are somewhat alike with grandiose churches and a warren of houses perched on the almost vertical cliffs. Sicilian towns are all of the same muted color, or rather colorless – slightly different shades of beiges and grays. In Ragusa, Luca knocked on a nondescript door of a modest house. An old man wearing faded shapeless clothes opened the door, flashed a toothless smile, and invited us in. Inside, the six rooms of his modest house were filled to the rim with antique furniture, paintings, dishes, and clocks. According to Luca, one of the clocks was a rare antique, one of the total of six existing today. One of the other five is in the Vatican.
Take it or leave it, but according to our guide, the host’s father once worked at Donnafugata castle, a private summer funhouse of a Sicilian nobleman. The nobleman passed the castle to the state some 20 years ago, and the state, i.e., Sicily, is not exactly a law-abiding and orderly place, so many antiques walked out of the castle with the host’s father and found a new home in Ragusa. The host, Maestro Appiano is a new custodian or a new owner, or whatever you might want to call him… He is a pianist and claims to have accompanied the great Maria Callas when she sang in the Catania Opera house. Be it truth or fiction, but the fact remains that a modest Ragusa house with no security guards or even a burglar alarm is a home to a rich collection of antiques (that is besides being home to Maestro Appiano himself and his 93-year old mother).
The decor of Donnafugata castle itself, which we had also visited, pales in comparison to the decor of Mr. Appiano’s modest abode.


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