The Garden Guide

Book: Journey and Embassy to Samarkand
Chapter: Ruy Gonzalez De Clavijo

Sicily and Calabria

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On Friday afternoon, the vessel was off the island of Sicily, and in sight of a tower which is called the tower of Faro, which is at the entrance of the port of Messina; but owing to the strong current which flows out of the strait, and the light winds, they were unable to reach the port of Messina that day. At night the wind rose, and a pilot, who had come out from the city of Messina to take the carrack into port, caused sail to be made; and, the vessel being off the tower of Faro, she struck the ground and the rudder jumped out of its case. They all expected to be lost, but the wind being light and the sea smooth, they got her off, and let go two anchors, waiting for daylight. At dawn the wind increased, so they made sail, and reached the port of Messina. Opposite the tower of Faro is the land of Calabria, which is the main land, and between Calabria and Sicily the sea is only a league across; and in the tower there is a light all night, that vessels may know the entrance. The land of Calabria appeared to be sown with corn, and to be covered with many vineyards and fruit gardens. The city of Messina is near the sea, and its wall, with many well built towers, is washed by the waves. The houses are very high and handsome, built of stone and mortar; and they look beautiful from the sea. The windows of the houses face the sea, and the principal streets run parallel to the shore, and there are five or six gates opening towards the sea. At the end of the city there are terraces; and outside the walls there is a monastery of black Monks, called San Salvador, who say their prayers after the manner of the Greeks. In the city there is a strong castle.