Jane & Marie in Sicily…Part 2

I will tell you up front that we did NOT meet any Barone family members.  We may have been close.  We will never know.  

The car we rented was a VW Golf.  Nice car.  Had warning beepers when you get too close, front, back and both sides.  This car was NOT meant for Naro, Sicily.

Once again I got ahead of myself…

We left Marsala (and all that floating DNA) for Naro.  The drive was around two hours.  We were happy for the opportunity to explore more spectacular scenery while dodging Italians behind the wheel.  We managed to do both.  






We finally saw it…NARO! A shining village perched on top of an exquisite hill.  Just like in the storybooks.  


Our GPS, Missy, was set for Barone Autocarrozzeria.  When we arrived at the location we couldn’t see it.  We parked the car and spotted two gentlemen and a waitress chatting in the doorway of a local eatery.   We asked them if they knew where the Barone Auto place was (more pointing and hand gestures).  They pointed across the street, we walked over, but all we saw was this…


“Must be on the other side of the building”, we thought.  So, around we went and…no…nothing.  Back around the three were still chatting and watching us.  I pointed to one of the doors and they shook their heads.  We went to the next door…They shook their heads no again, but looked hopeful pointing to the next door.  Didn’t look like an auto place to us, or for that matter, any kind of business place at all.  Jane nor I are easily daunted.  We have already proven that.  So across the street to the trio we went.  Here’s how we understood the next attempt at conversation.

Us:  “Are you sure that’s the Barone Garage?”
Waitress:  “Yes, it was.”
Us:  “Was?”
Waitress: “Yes, they moved a long time ago.”

We just sort of stared at them for a minute.  Thanked them for their “guida” and once again went on our merry way.  We laughed about that at least once a day, everyday, for the remainder of our journey.  I don’t think we improved the image of American intelligence one bit on that little stop.

Jane remembered pictures of Piero in front of St Erasmus Church.  So, we shifted our goal and the car and off we went up the village hill. The further up we got the narrower the roads became until there were mere inches on either side of the car and the warning beepers were going off in tandem!  Jane had to squeeze out of the car twice to guide me between stone buildings.  The second time was when we came to a dead end and I had to back down a steep narrow hill.  WILL THOSE BEEPERS NEVER STOP!?!  I heard a distinctive crunch. I had visions of my 1200 dollar deposit flying out of the car window.  Then Jane yelled, “it was a plastic bottle!”  Whew!  Just then I had another vision.  It was me trapped inside the car wedged between buildings and the villagers were pointing and laughing at another American tourist, in a rental car, trying to drive their village streets. Then Jane would be scrambling for the “jaws of life” or a crowbar or at least a can opener to try to pry me out.

Here is one of the wider two-way streets.  When it got really narrow pictures were not our main priority!


If I told you even some of the things I said during that little drive this post would be a whole lot longer.  I later apologized to Jane for some of the words I’m not telling you that I said.   All Jane really said that entire tense time was, “Piero, Naro is certainly narrow”. Oh, she said it more than once. 

We finally found our way down the hill and out of Naro only to discover that tonight’s reservation was back up the hill.  We took a vote and it was two to zero (Missy refused to vote) NOT to trek back up to the village. 

Piero, we didn’t make it to meet your family, but the age and beauty of your narrow little village and the surrounding country blew us away!

A mile or so down the road, in the middle of nowhere, we found this oasis:



When we checked in I gave the manager our card he turned his CD on to “L’amore Si Muove”  and told us that Ignazio stays there when he comes to visit Piero.  (Whats the matter big boy?  Afraid to drive those roads too?) When we got to our room I turned to Jane and said, “Ignazio could have stayed in this very room.  Could have slept on this very bed!”  I soon rolled around on that bed…just in case.   By now I should have gathered enough DNA to make my very own lovely tenor.

We had dinner in this stunning restaurant of our Oasis.  We were the only ones in the entire place.


Oh, those warm, friendly and so lovable Italians!  The owner, Franchesca, her son, our waiter and the cooks all came out to meet the crazy lost American women.  Several of them were dreaming about coming to America to work.  You know, “America…land of plenty…Land of Ilvolovers… land of wide roadways”.



It was hard to leave such a gorgeous place and its wonderful people, but we must return the car to Palermo and ourselves to Naples to catch a train for our next destination…The Cinque Terre’s…Riomaggiore and Portofino…The Italian Riviera


67 thoughts on “Jane & Marie in Sicily…Part 2”

  1. Marie, I laughed and laughed to tears to think of you and Jane to the narrow streets. You are two women of self-control but I think that in those lanes have thought “but who made me do come in Naro?” but I tell you the answer: the love you have for Peter, as well as for Ignazio and Gianluca, these talented and beautiful Italians who speak both of them Italian. I must say that the view and all the things you have seen you have not disappointed so on, next stop the Italian Riviera.

  2. We were really not disappointed. We had already seen more Il Volo families then we dreamed we would see. Plus meeting the families was, except for Nina, not our goal. We wanted to see and experience Italy as our guys saw it. We did!

    Also, due to Jane’s detective skills, two days ago she discovered that we were, indeed at Piero’s front door. We just didn’t know it at the time.

      1. No. We wouldn’t have. We are concerned about their privacy. We were at Gianluca front door but elected not to take a picture of it. I did take one of the car and carport though. Not for publication either.

  3. You ladies are amazing! Your tenacity in finding your way around is very inspiring. In years past, my husband & I have driven pretty much all of Italy & have experienced those narrow streets. As you travel & soak up the magnificent scenery of Italy, you come to understand how proud the “guys” are of their homeland! Andiamo Jane & Marie to the Italian Riviera!

    1. Grazie, Annette. We now have a small taste of why they and all Italians have such pride in that marvelous ancient country.
      When I began this story I said that we fell in love with this country upon landing. We truly did!

      1. Your welcome Marie! My first trip to Italy was a family one. My children at the time were 10 &12. My daughter fell in love with Italy spent her Junior year in Rome & today she is an Italian professor at a college in Ohio! And I am sorry to say my Italian is very limited! XO

      2. Yes, Cynthia. 1st time for both of us.

        Annette, Which college in Ohio does your daughter teach? It’s ok that your Italian is mixed…Just take your daughter when you go. We could have used a live translator a few times.

      3. Oh wow! What an awesome, fun-filled, fabulous, breathtaking, heartwarming, exhilarating, exciting, first trip to Italy!
        May you return as often as you would like to, and may your coming adventures be filled with new, uplifting, enjoyable, memorable and funny times as well!
        H A P P Y T H A N K S G I V I N G ! 🙂

  4. Marie, you are hilarious. In my mind’s eye, I could almost see the cobblestone roads and hear those explicit, descriptive swear words. Beautiful country, Italy is. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Happy thanksgiving to all Flight Crew members. May you all enjoy families and friends.

      1. I still laugh every day thinking back to that day. Marie, you deserve a trophy for getting us out of there in one piece. All part of the adventure! 🙂 By the way, I’ve already forgotten all those fancy words you used. 🙂

  5. What a lovely read.shame you didn’t get too meet the barone family.but looks like you had fun.😊😊well apart from the narrow streets lol

  6. What a great experience, Marie & Jane!!! Sorry you didn’t see Piero’s family. The photos are wonderful! Happy Thankgiving to our Flight Crew Board & all the IlVolovers!!! Going to my daughter’s in Utah tomorrow.

  7. What a fabulous experience you both had, memories forever. Now we know why the old cinque cento car was so popular, smaller than a mini !!! Thanks for the beautiful pictures, and looking forward to Portofino etc.

      1. Marie, years ago in the 60’s when a lot of people from the south were moving north I remember seeing one of the old cinque centos driving up the autostrada with an upturned small grand piano on the roof. Quite a balancing act and on the autostrada no less!!!!

  8. So those pictures of Piero standing next to a car in what I always took to be an ally are really pictures taken in the street! Wow. Which is why European cars are small…

  9. Marie, what a wonderful adventure you had. I’m so sorry you didn’t meet Piero’s family. My 3 day adventure from Taormina to Palermo was a lot worse. I have to tell you about it when I see you. I absolutely know you loved Portofino as I did. I was there for 3 days and brought back a real souvenir! I hope they told you there was a statue in the water there and you went to a restaurant by boat there!

  10. This account of your Naro adventure is hysterical.
    I could picture you in the car, just like a movie playing, with Jane trying to guide you. Not funny at the time, but great memories for you both.
    We must think alike, cause I would have done the same thing on that bed. The pictures are gorgeous. Can’t wait to read the next article.

    1. Wasn’t funny at the time, but we were laughing later that day.

      Linda, So glad you understood the rolling around part. Others would want my sanity evaluated.

  11. Lol about your trip. also sorry that you didn’t meet any of Piero’s family. I wonder where the garage moved to. Piero never puts any photos of it on facebook. Did you see the castle in Naro? You gals are really good travelers. It takes guts to maneuver those streets. Have a good Thanksgiving. My son will be here from Sydney Aust. Joanie G

  12. Marie, there’s nothing like a good laugh when I first get up in the morning, and you certainly gave me that! Now I know why you mentioned the word “shudder” in part 1. I’m happy that everything turned out alright, and I know Piero would love to hear that story about the car. His family probably heard about those two crazy American women the next day!

  13. so descriptive – I found myself holding my breath with your car / street ? / hill narrative !

    1. I would say no, mainly because the village is built on an extremely steep hill. Even with an automatic transmission we held our breath a few times. It would be a killer to walk. Maybe a motorbike or something.

    1. Yes, you two are just a perfect match. absolute harmony.

      When I met my husband, he had a Cinquecento, just yesterday we have seen one and we said, “but how could we be in there?” too beautiful the little Cinquecento. It would be helpful in Naro but I think you’d have to fold the legs twice Marie

  14. Marie: My daughter teaches at Youngstown State. Every other year she sponsors a study abroad program for the first summer session. Guess where she goes? Sicily! The program she established is in a town called Cefalu. She spent most of last May there. At the end of the program, my son-law & grandkids join her there. They rent a car and go exploring. Even with knowing the language, they have had some interesting experiences with the rental! I would love to go to an Il Volo concert in Italy with her but I probably will have to settle on one here. Not complaining! I really enjoy reading all about your escapes . Those adventures is what makes traveling abroad so memorable! To all the Flight Crew Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Maybe we both could enroll! It’s never too late! Where in Ohio do you live? This is the first Thanksgiving we will not be going there.

  15. Thank you, Marie! Appreciate your Part II Sicily So Very Much. If you haven’t seen it , here’s the photo from the person whose car got stuck on a Naro street early this year; Simply go to : #budsinsicilia instagram. (He’s got it on Facebook, too). ( The Il Volo Naro Fan Club have had it on their Twitter & Facebook since March of this year. From what they posted with the picture, it happened in Naro). He’s an American comedian/actor named Aziz Ansari who was traveling with his friend when their car got stuck between buildings there. 😂 Reading about your driving experience in Naro, it kept reminding me of this ‘now-famous’ picture!😅 BTW, I’m now thinking that it must be an animal- instinct to roll around on a bed that HE might have sprawled upon – the same instinct that causes dogs to drop & roll in stuff that they find Mighty appealing and seem to want to ‘possess’ and then ‘advertise’ to other dogs, as though it’s their own! 😄😃😂😂

    1. Thanks Laura. I just looked at the trapped car. Yep…looks familiar! I’ll bet the Naro Villagers have a blast watching stuck tourists.

      So, it was animal instinct. Nice to have a good reason other than drooling crazed fan.

      1. Marie, I think just about every one of us here would ‘instinctually’ do the same thing, hahaha… very exciting…who could resist?! 🙂

    2. I just checked out that instagram picture too. GEEZ! How did he ever get the car out of there? Marie and Jane, hats off to you for even daring to drive there. Love those ancient , beautiful towns, but they did not anticipate the modern auto. I wish you had been able to meet some of the Barone family and made it a trifecta! Maybe next time! (will there be a next time?)
      Happy Thanksgiving to all the Flight Crew. Hope you all have a lot to be thankful for.

  16. I found myself holding my breath as I read about the narrow roads! A memory that you won’t forget! I won’t even comment about the bed rolling around…I’m jealous! 😘

  17. Marie I was just on the phone with my daughter & I was telling her jokingly that we should enroll in her class. She tells me that Ohio has a 60plus program & she has had older students enroll – no fee! So see it is never too late! Have a good night and I will keep Zaneville on my to do list!!

  18. I’ve heard abt Italian’s narrow streets, but I don’t know you would experience such thing when your car kept alarming abt the narrow ways. We must be really careful then. Ha-ha.

    Anyways, I didn’t quite grasp abt you just left Naro that way. Was that true? I thought you at least went to Barone’s residence, didn’t you?

  19. Whew! What would a tow truck look like in Naro?? Sorry you missed the Barone family but what a fantastic experience in Sicily. The photos are gorgeous. Thanks for the report and can’t wait for the rest of the trip! Happy Thanksgiving to all the Flight Crew!

  20. Loved reading your travelogue. You both are brave, I would never attempt driving in Italy. I understand your immediate love of Italy. I also felt that way, and when my husband went he also fell in love with it. I would like to go back to Sicily to find Naro. I know I was close because we were in Agrigento for several days. Did you visit Taominia? I think that is the nicest. Happy Travels ladies!

  21. Sometime back I remember watching a short video about some brave person driving around Naro. Those streets looked wicked narrow. Plus I have been to Italy and I remember watching those Italians drive with wild abandon, Hang over the side of a cliff? Si!. Funny thing is, I don’t remember seeing any accidents except our Bus driver lost one of his side mirrors. So when Marie shuddered I figured it was because of those tiny streets. I think you two should have rented Vespas to see Naro!
    A shame you were on Piero’s front door and did not know it, which means you were right next to Mama & Papa Barone’s place too. Ahhh well, you were a whole lot closer than the rest of us! I’m also envious you got to meet our dear Daniela, I look forward to hearing about that too.
    Oh yeah, I wonder why Ignazio stays in the local motel? Why doesn’t he stay at Piero’s?. Ahh well, we will never know. I hope you got to roll around on the right bed!

    1. I wondered the same thing Pirate. I’ve come up with three reason’s why Ignazio does’nt stay at Piero’s place when he visit’s him.
      (1) I saw a video once where Piero stated that two Sicilian Guy’s would never stay in the same room together!Someone had asked him if he shared a hotel room with Ignazio.
      I guess that’s a little different than staying in a house together.
      (2) Maybe Allesandra was with him
      (3) You know how much Ignazio likes to sleep, so maybe he does’nt want Piero waking him up in the morning
      It’s got to be one of those three!

      1. Oh, good reasons Jill, all very reasonable. Maybe also Ignazio just likes his alone time too.
        I am so envious of this trip!

  22. Answer number 2 is SOLD and destroyed by the crazed woman wearing the” Mr Dimples and me’ shirt!

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