This is a love story, of me falling in love with Sicily! I love it because it gives you a diverse taste of the Southern Italian culture with endless surprises. Whether you are an adventurer, a history lover, or even a beach bum, a tour through Sicily can help you discover the island’s hidden treasures.
We kicked off our Sicilian adventure in Palermo. Palermo is a city full of grand churches, as we were wandering through the streets of Palermo, we came upon Quattro Canti – The Four Corners of Palermo.
Quattro Canti, officially known as Piazza Vigliena, is a Baroque square in Palermo, built in the 1600s, way back when Spain had its turn at ruling Sicily. You cannot miss it due to its grand magnificence. The piazza is octagonal, four sides being the streets; the remaining four sides are Baroque buildings, the near-identical facades of which contain fountains with statues of the four seasons, the four Spanish kings of Sicily, and of the patronesses of Palermo.
2 hrs bus ride later, we arrived in Agrigento and made our way out to Scala dei Turchi. This Turkish Steps is a splendid, blinding, white rock formation that frames the clear blue sea off Sicily’s southern coast. I instantly fell in love with this fascinating place. One cannot describe the view and communicate it all: you must immerse with all your five senses in the magic of this incredible cliff of white marl. It is indeed a charming blissful little paradise; and the nature has worked this material over time, where centuries of rain and salty breeze have carved a natural staircase and whose white color is made more dazzling by the sunlight. The sea is of course taking advantage of this sparkling white, showing off its intense blue. Sitting on the steps admiring the Mediterranean Sea and I found myself surrounded by the most pleasant thoughts.
Moving on to the east coast of Sicily. Rather than hitting up too many historical places, we decided to go with a more chill and relaxing time in some of the most beautiful beaches in Catania.
Taormina is a region that is rich in natural beauty and scenic beaches, especially Isola Bella that means “the beautiful island.” It is also a wild and small nature reserve in Taormina. The beach extends over about a mile and consists of gravel and pebbles. The sea though, is crystal clear. Be careful with the pebbles, on hot summer days, they can seriously burn your feet if you go barefoot on it. A stroll to the island and around its rocky perimeter is a must when you are in the area for the views and the unique atmosphere!
You must not miss the fish market in Catania. Despite the hot summer days, the market doesn’t smell at all and you know when the fish are all fresh from the ocean. The cries of the friendly vendors, strolling through stalls with all kinds of interesting looking sea creatures, make this place one of the most emblematic of the city. This is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the local culture and be fascinated.
The last stop in Sicily was Mt. Etna. I was extremely thrilled about Mt. Etna mostly because Etna is one of Italy’s most exciting wine regions. How would the wine taste like with grapes growing in this high altitude volcanic rocky environment with rich & black lava flow soils – the highest commercial vineyards in the world? Mt Etna is an active, fearsome volcano that has erupted from time to time. It is an insane place to produce wine, but its winemakers have an intensity to match its extremes.
Gamino is one of the best Sicilian wine I had. The Etna Rosso (red) are extremely distinctive with an earthy tone, thanks in large part to the soils, derived from lava flow from the volcano. The primary grape here is Nerello Mascalese. Gamino is definitely one of the most respected and critically praised producers of red wines from Etna.
One more thing I must mention when in Sicily, is to enjoy a rainbow of fruits. They are so fresh and juicy, definitely added another level of sweetness to our trip!
Seattle-based world traveler living my best life!! I am passionate about seeing the world and experiencing different cultures. Strongly believe the best adventures come from traveling outside of your comfort zone. Follow along this humbling journey of mine that I am very proud of.