After reading a lot – and that’s an understatement – about Sicily, about its countless trails and places you need to see, one day, on the spur of the moment, I’ve booked my plane tickets and I was on my way to the sunny Sicily. I got my Moleskine with all my carefully jotted notes and hoped that nothing will disappoint me, that the Sicilian experience will fit – just as I imagined – my expectations. Well, what was it like? Stupendous! I liked it so much that I solemnly swore I would certainly come back there. Soon.
Where to stay in Sicily? Now, that’s a tricky question. Well, I had basically two options: on one hand, I would have liked to see the whole island, and come back home relaxed and well rested, and on the other to stay longer in my car and roam every road, every corner, to see more. Well, I chose the first alternative as soon as I landed in Catania.
Why? Well, because from here you can easily reach Taormina, with its astonishing panoramas. I fell in love with the Teatro Antico where I wandered for several hours and I’ve done hundreds of photos. For the beach, I just went down to the famous Giardini Naxos – where it can be very crowded in July and August, but it would be an irreverence to complain. Not to mention that the weather is superb here even in September.
And, no matter how hard I try, I cannot forget the tiny Isola Bella, an islet so beautiful that it seems painted in sea waters. Nor the excursion on Mount Etna, a still active volcano, with its snow-covered peak you can often see fuming and smoking breathlessly in the most unexpected ways. Venturing out there requires an organized group (and a guide) and, if you are truly determined, be sure to make your reservations in advance, especially if you’ve chosen to visit Sicily in full season.
Pasta, pizza, mozzarella, seafood. All are impeccably cooked – and that’s an unquestionable truth. Actually, it’s damn hard not to eat well in Sicily: it might only happen, maybe!, if you’ve had the misfortune to end up into one of those very touristy place. But that’s rare. Otherwise, in case you stumble upon any local market at lunchtime, do not hesitate, it’s a feast: the food there is always fresh and delicious, even if you are not in a fancy restaurant. I’ve walked through many local markets and, even if I struggled, I couldn’t refrain myself from buying all sorts of olives or fruits, perfect snacks for the ride.
Please forget for once about the classic fridge magnets you may find at any street corner and get back home with just a few but valuable things that will remember you of your Sicilian escapade and that you will cherish all your life. I chose a few pieces of hand-painted ceramic, some photo albums and… olive oil. You can add on your wish list a good bottle of wine or a few dried tomatoes, just perfect for a memorable appetizer – and all for that one special evening in the company of your family and friends, recalling the good times in this blessed land called Sicily.
Have a happy Sicilian vacation!