Pantalica A Dreamscape Of Sicily
There are places in Sicily of great emotional impact.
Pantalica (Unesco World Heritage Site), in my opinion, is the place that allows us to dream and go back in time more than any others. Pantalica, or rather the rocky necropolises of Pantalica, are a naturalistic-archaeological site in the province of Syracuse. The name of the site seems to derive from the Arabic Buntarigah, which means 'caves', due to the obvious presence of multiple natural and artificial caves. It is poetically, but not scientifically, identified with the ancient Hybla, a Sicilian kingdom that from the thirteenth to the eighth century BC. it extended from the Anapo valley to Syracuse.
The necropolis boasts thousands of cave tombs excavated in the steep walls of its valleys where the rivers Anapo and Calcinara flow. Now look at this photograph and try to imagine being with me under the starry sky observing the milky way followed by Saturn and Jupiter, listening to the sweet sound of the river that flows a little further downstream and breathing the sweet and aromatic scents of spring wild herbs. Imagine feeling on your face the fresh morning wind that quickly pushes a bank of clouds that move agile under the starry sky. Let's dream of going back to the times of the Iblea population imagining how important the cult of the dead could be for this population to the point of digging thousands of graves on steep walls with bare hands.
This image is a stack and blend photo realized with a Canon 6d mod, canon 8-15mm @15mm, iso 6400, 20 sec, f/4 for the sky; 40 sec for the landscape.
Exposing for a longer time (40 sec) the moving clouds create ad enveloping effect with the Milky Way behind!
On the right side of the photo it is possible to see the valley with the steep cliffs where the tombs are and the river Calcinara flows. In the bottom right, one of the many caves can be see among the mediterranean plants.
Saturn and Jupiter are just above the outcrop on the left sight.
This is the same Mily Way shot before the clouds appeared. I used a different focal lenght 20 mm vs 15 fish eye and a modified Canon 6d. Even if I had a lot of signal to be elaborated, I decided to keep a soft and natural (hopefully pleasent) aspect. On the right it is possibile to see part of the rocky valley. in the middle the Rho Ophiucus complex and in the bottom my friend Orazio Mezzio trying to capture a similar scene.
This star trail was created on the road leading to the North necropolis of Pantalica and the Prince's palace (Anaktoron). It was taken with the intent to capture several elements: the valley at the bottom left where some of the thousands of tombs of the Unesco site were excavated, the city of Sortino which, together with Ferla, delimits the two extremes of the valley and the two access points and finally the road that runs on the crest of the valley and which allows you to visit it and look at it from above. The image is embellished with a star trail. Although the glow of the car on the right seems invasive, in reality that was the only car that passed through the reserve (apart from ours) in the afternoon until the following morning. We were only two days after the end of the Italian Lock Down. In reality what is very annoying is the glow around the city of Sortino. My invitation is that the cities that border the Pantalica valley and that they use to develop their tourism economy, should have a regulation against light pollution that allows to enhance the reserve even at night by returning it to its primordial origins and increasing its charm. Pantalica is an impressive place to visit but due to the many possible options a guided tour, like those organized by Hermes Sicily Tours, is a good choice.
To Be Continued......