On Location: Selinunte & Marsala, Sicily

Zegrahm Contributor|April 8, 2011|Blog Post

It is almost a truism to say that Sicily is a colorful place. But until coming here, I never realized how rich and subtly vibrant and vibrantly subtle and, well, Mediterranean the colors would be. So I have made a partial list of the colors I saw today.

To start with, of course, there was the pearlescent peach of the sky before sunrise, and the vermilion of the newborn sun as we sailed into the old harbor of Mazara del Vallo. The sky became a pale pinkish-orange near the horizon, shading into a deepening blue overhead--the transition color would be hard to name—as we left the port and started inland.

At the ruins of Selinunte, the westernmost outpost of the ancient Greek world, many great columns still stand. They were carved from a light orange-tan limestone, very striking against the now-azure cloudless sky. They rose from a sea of rich green foliage which held a riot of wildflowers: buttery yellow crown daises, lemon yellow cape sorrel, silvery boar thistle, deep blue-purple bugloss, and blazing red poppies, to name a few.

The sea was dark turquoise as we sailed over lunch to Marsala, the long-ago Carthaginian capital. The afternoon sun splashed a kind of ochre color over the Baroque city gate. The walls of the Cantine Florio wine estate were whitewashed, but the white wasn’t pure; it held a tinge of gold. And to finish the day, we held in our hands the ruby and amber tints of the famous dessert wines of the region. These colors we drank in not just with our eyes.

Sicily is an artist who paints with a very wide palette. I can’t wait to see what it creates tomorrow.

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