Travel /
Sicilia

SICILIAN ROAD TRIP

PART I

 

“Italy without Sicily leaves no image in the spirit. It is in Sicily that we find the key to everything… The purity of the contours, the softness of everything, the yielding exchange of colors, the harmonious unity of the sky with the sea and the sea with the earth… who has seen them one only once, he will possess them for life.” These words by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe perhaps contain the main motivation for embarking on a fascinating journey to Sicily, with a slow pace. Our invitation is to discover the thousand facets of this extraordinary and complex region. Crossroads of peoples and cultures, Sicily is a fundamental piece for understanding the culture of the Mediterranean.

 

For many Sicily is more than an island, some call it “the gourmet continent.” Beyond the coasts, with its beautiful beaches and lava ensconced cliffs that plunge into the blue sea there is an inland rich in valleys, hills, nature reserves and even a volcano. Each territory is characterised by different climates, habits and customs. The food represents the fundamental keystone to fully capture what Sicily is. 

 

Come on this journey with us and take notes for when you will be the one on the road.

 

PALERMO

For the Arabs it was “Palermo Felicissima” (“Palermo the happiest”) the largest and most beautiful metropolis in the world. After years of oblivion and sad events related to the crime the Sicilian capital now seems to be experiencing a cultural renaissance. Her long history is the result of a continuous and incessant succession of conquering by foreigners: Phoenicians, Arabs, Spaniards, and Normans. A mixing of culture that gave birth to a fascinating melting pot in Mediterranean sauce.

 

 

SLEEP 

 

Villa Igea — A turn-of-the-century palazzo at the perimeter of vivid Palermo, the foot of Mount Pellegrino and the Gulf of Palermo.

 

Palazzo Sovrana — Charming structure in a privileged position right in front of the imposing Teatro Massimo, a symbol of the city.

 

 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

 

Osteria dei Vespri – A Palermo classic located under the walls of Palazzo Gangi which hosted the famous dance scene of the film Il Gattopardo by Luchino Visconti

 

Trattoria Corona — One of the best fish taverns in the city. Among the dishes to try are the bucatini with sardines (bucatini con le sarde) and mixed fried food (fritto misto).

 

Franco U’ VastiddaruFor the best of Palermo street food: bread, arancini, sandwich with spleen and potato croquettes (pane e panelle, arancine, pane ca meusa, and crocchette di patate).

 

Charleston — Palermo’s iconic restaurant located inside an Art Nouveau villa overlooking the beach of Mondello.

 

I Segreti del ChiostroInside the Santa Caterina complex, it offers traditional Sicilian pastry desserts, and the best cannoli in Palermo.

 

Maison Bocum –  Atmosphere of years past (a vintage feel) and excellent selection of natural wines for this temple of the art of mixology.

 

L’Angolo di Mondello – Like it once was, a fish tavern to taste boiled octopus cut fresh and served in beautiful Sicilian ceramic plates.

 

Cappadonia My favorite ice cream in Palermo (and one of the best in Sicily) handcrafted by Maestro Antonio Cappadonia. While there try the seasonal fruit flavours.

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS

 

Royal Palace and Palatine Chapel (Palazzo Reale e Cappella Palatina)

Palazzo Butera

Archaeological Museum Salinas (Museo Archeologico Salinas)

Church and Monastery of Santa Caterina (Chiesa e Monastero di Santa Caterina) with a visit to the terraces

Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico)

Capo, Vucciria, Ballarò historic markets

Cloister and Cathedral of Monreale (Chiostro e Duomo di Monreale)

Florio House at Arenella (Casa Florio all’Arenella)

A stroll through the Liberty Villas of Mondello and a dip in the sea

 

 

PALERMO SURROUNDINGS

 

For a trip out of town you can opt for the beautiful sea of ​​Cefalù or for a walk in the villages in and around the mountain ranges of Madonie (one of the principal mountain ranges on the island of Sicily) such as Castelbuono and Petralia Soprana. 

 

 

SLEEP

 

Masseria Susafa — An ancient stone farmhouse located in the Madonie and converted into a charming guesthouse to spend a holiday in close contact with nature

 

 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

 

Cortile Pepe — My favorite restaurant in Cefalù. In the kitchen the young man is talented chef Giovanni Lullo.

 

Nangalarruni The ideal place to enjoy authentic Madonite cuisine. Among the dishes to try are the fusilli with pork ragout (i fusilli al ragù di maialino) with fresh products from the garden.

 

Don Ciccio An old school trattoria, with a retro atmosphere and dishes that do not look to trends: caponata, pasta with sardines, rolls and meat “brociolone”, are just some of the recipes of the popular Palermo tradition.

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS

 

Museo Gattuso — The Museum houses the largest collection of Renato Guttuso’s works (paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings), from the 1930s to the last years of the artist’s life.

 

"SICILIA OCCIDENTALE" (Trapani & province)

WESTERN SICILY

 

The Temples of Segesta and Selinunte, the Salt Pans of Marsala with the most beautiful sunsets in Sicily, the Land Art of Gibellina and then the hinterland with the typical “bagli” (Sicilian farms) and the vineyards that look like tapestries embroidered in the rolling hills of the campaign. The west coast, which includes the entire province of Trapani, is a magical land, where the legacy left by the Arab domination is still strong. As in the kitchen, it is no coincidence that the typical dish is couscous, which arrived in Sicily with the peoples of North Africa.

 

 

SLEEP

 

Momentum Wellness Bio Resort | Castelvetrano A traditional Sicilian beam converted into a luxury resort, just a few minutes from the extraordinary Selinunte Archaeological Park.

 

 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

 

Ciacco Putia Gourmet | Marsala – An extra-small and welcoming place where you can try the original recipes of Sicilian grandmothers (fried pasta, busiate, meat rolls) combined with a glass of Marsala wine.

 

Assud | Marsala – Opposite to the Porta Garibaldi of Marsala, Assud is a shop where you can find the masterpieces of Sicilian street food: arancine, fried “cones” and delicious sandwiches.

 

Cantina Siciliana | Trapani – In the Jewish quarter of Giudecca, one of the best taverns in Sicily. Do not miss the couscous, the busiate alla trapanese, the pasta with sardines and the red tuna.

 

Pasticceria Maria Grammatico | Erice – In this laboratory you will find the delicious almond sweets of the Sicilian convent tradition.

 

Pocho | San Vito Lo Capo –  In this refined hotel-restaurant, near the famous beach of San Vito Lo Capo, Marilù Terrasi prepares the best couscous in Sicily.

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS

 

Archaeological park of Selinunte 

Museum of the Dancing Satyr

Segesta Archeological Park

Nature Reserve Zingaro

Punic ship at the museum Lilibeo of Marsala.

Visit the Cretto di Burri,  also known as “The Great Cretto”, is a landscape artwork undertaken by Alberto Burri in 1984

Sunset at the salt flats of Marsala 

Passeggiata” at Erice ( with cable car from Trapani) 

 

 

WHAT TO DO: visit to cellars with tasting

 

Donnafugata | Marsala

Florio | Marsala

Marco De Bartoli | Marsala

Cantine Pellegrino | Marsala

Cantine Fina | Marsala

 

"SICILIA SUD OCCIDENTALE" (Agrigento e provincia)

SOUTH WESTERN SICILY

 

We are in the Terre del Nero d’Avola, the main vine of Sicilian enology. An area rich in naturalistic beauties, such as the spectacular Scala dei Turchi in Realmonte, and historical testimonies such as the Temples of Agrigento, near the city that gave birth to Pirandello and Sciascia, among the greatest Italian poets and writers.

 

 

SLEEP

 

Hotel Villa Athena | Agrigento – The only 5-star hotel in the area, right in the Park of the Valley of the Temples which promises some breath-taking views. Besides the incomparable location, among the strengths there is the restaurant of chef Nino Ferreri.

 

Verdura Resort | Sciacca – The Sicilian structure of the Sir Rocco Forte group is immersed in the green of the Sicilian countryside (230 hectares), with private access to the beach

 

Fontes Episcopi | Aragona – We are in the Terre del Nero d’Avola, the main vine of Sicilian enology. An area rich in naturalistic beauties, such as the spectacular Scala dei Turchi in Realmonte, and historical testimonies such as the Temples of Agrigento, near the city that gave birth to Pirandello and Sciascia, among the greatest Italian poets and writers.

 

 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT 

 

Terracotta | Agrigento – Great attention in the selection of raw materials used in the kitchen. Among the dishes to try the tasting of Sicilian cheeses, including that of Girgentana goat.

 

La Scala | Agrigento – Elegant restaurant in the main street of Agrigento, overlooking the main monuments of the historic center.

 

Da Vittorio | Menfi – One of the most famous fish restaurants in the area, directly on the beach of Porto Palo. The raw fish dishes are excellent.

 

La Madia | Licata – Unmissable stop in Licata to try the cuisine of Pino Cuttaia, 2 Michelin star chef, one of the best ambassadors of Sicilian excellence.

 

LOste e il Sacrestano | Licata – Gourmet tavern located in the alleys of the old Licata. Among the dishes to try the pasta with sardines and fish alla carrettiera.

 

Oasi Beach Osteria del Mare | Licata – Excellent seaside restaurant. The proposals of the menu vary according to the fresh catch of the day.

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS

 

Valley of the Temples

Gardens of Kolymbetra (Bene del FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano).

Stair of the Turks

Farm Cultural Park di Favara.

Sambuca of Sicilia (Borgo dei Borghi nel 2016).

Eraclea Minoa beach

 

"SICILIA CENTRALE"

CENTRAL SICILY

Outside the coastal seaside tourism routes, there is a rich and generous hinterland, where the beating heart of the millenary Sicilian peasant tradition beats. To discover an authentic and unexpected Sicily, leave the sea behind and head inland, you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

SLEEP

 

Agriturismo Bannata | Enna —A stone farmhouse, dating back to the early nineteenth century, located in the heart of Sicily.

 

Maremoro Casa Barocca | Caltagirone – A unique home in a noble palace in the town of Caltagirone. A property that still retains the ancient flavor of the Baroque Sicily, with original 17th century frescoes and floors.

 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

 

Ristorante Al Fogher | Aidone – Inside a splendid villa surrounded by woods. The patron chef Angelo Treno uses only local products.

Rosario Umbriaco | Enna – A very casual restaurant where you can find some of the best Sicilian arancini, including the award-winning one with fresh ricotta and Piacentinu Ennese DOP cheese.

Ristorante Coria | Caltagirone – Two young chefs, Domenico Colonnetta and Francesco Patti, revisit the flavors of the Sicilian tradition in a contemporary way.

 

WHAT YOU CAN’T MISS

 

Villa Romana del Casale a Piazza Armerina

The Archaeological Museum of Aidone

Caltagirone, the city of ceramics