Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

NOV-DEC 2016

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40 A Sicilian sojourn via villa is an ideal way to become intimately immersed in the Italian island's many charms To varying degrees, the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians and even the Brits have lost their heads over the control of Sicily, which for thousands of years served as an important strategic crossroad of the Western world. In spite of the rich archaeological and cultural remnants they left behind, it is a single Moorish Casanova of Sicilian legend that arguably left the most indelible mark. ere are alternate versions of the story, but around the year 1000 (around the time Viking raider Leif Eriksson discovered North America), a Moor knight or merchant spied a beautiful girl on a balcony in the Kalsa district of Palermo and the pair eventually engaged in a passionate love affair. From here you can choose the outcome of your lore: in the first scenario, unbeknownst to her, the knight is actually married with children, so the scorned woman cuts off his head to use as a flower pot so that her lover can never leave her; in an alternate ending, the lovers' indiscretion is discovered by the man's brother who decapitates his sinning kin and discards the body in a nearby forest. e woman locates the head, places it on her balcony and from her tears springs basil, a symbol of passion and love. Her neighbors, noticing how well the plants flourish in the macabre container, made clay copies that are now ubiquitous throughout the country (with the best examples hailing from Caltagirone). Enraptured by the stylized heads even before I knew their grim back-story, for me they sum up a central characteristic of the Sicilian experience: passion. Experiencing the myriad marvels of Sicily required far less effort than mustering up a conquering army or having my head turned into a flowerpot; I booked a stay in a villa through e Thinking Traveler. Not just any villa mind you, one that was built around the time of the French Revolution and is now lovingly cared for as the family heirloom it is. The property is representative of the uniqueness and quality of accommodations in e inking Traveler's portfolio of properties in Sicily, Puglia, and the Ionian and Sporades Islands. Lending credence to my kudos are the readers of Condé Nast Traveller, who awarded the company "Favorite Villa Rental Company" for its 2016 Readers' Awards. Headquartered in London, The Thinking Traveler maintains a large team "on the ground" that is at guests' disposal for as much or as little interaction as desired. LOCALIZED LUXUR IATING Written by Bridget Williams Brave souls at Mazzaro beach take the plunge into the Ionian Sea. Photo by Bridget Williams.

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