“Sicily is the country of oranges,
a flower- filled land whose scent
permeates the air at springtime….Yet what makes it a truly unique place in this world and one everyone should visit is the
fact that, from one end to the other, the
isle may be defined as a rather strange, divine museum of architecture”
(Guy de Maupassant)
A scent-filled region where nature, history art and blindingly white sandy beaches plunge in a crystal clear sea…This is Sicily, the home country of yellow lemons, oranges, tuna fisheries and salt- works.
It’s a slice of centennial traditions, surrounded by surreal archipelagos; it’s the very tip of Italy’s “boot”, mere kilometres away from the African coastline.
Don’t you wish you could pack and go right now?
Oh well, certainly a lemon lover like you cannot help but be fascinated by the precious “femminelli” of Syracuse or the extraordinary interdonato of Messina… not
to mention the bright yellow hesperidean fruit of Bagheria? Mythical nectar of the gods, rich in vitamin C.
And the oranges? Juicy, red PGI oranges like those of Acireale, Scordia and Paternò,or Blood Oranges from the highlands of Francofonte…
Whether they be mandarin oranges, lemons or bergamots, citrus reigns supreme among the very best foods typically found on local dinner tables: extra virgin olive oil, pistachios from Bronte, eggplant, Indian figs, grape tomatoes from Pachino, capers from Pantelleria, almonds, luscious cassata and yes, cannoli.
In Sicily, it’s easy to fill-up on the phosphorus and essential omega-threes your body needs; traditional cuisine showcases an wide variety of “just-caught” fish: tuna, swordfish, sardines,
anchovies.. you name it.
Oh, yes this is the life: the sea and the glorious sea scent of a light, ion-filled south-western breeze.
An incredible number of renowned beach destinations are touched by the clear water of the Tyrrhenian sea, by the transparent Ionian sea and the warm Mediterranean sea; all can be easily reached by taking a ferry ride or a short flight across the strait of Messina.
Sicily is the “main” island, but many others await you: Pantelleria, the famous Lampedusa in the “just shy of Africa” Pelagie archipelago, the Egadi islands with the much celebrated Favignana, the Aeolian Islands with Panarea, Lipari, Filicudi, the volcanic island of Stroboli,
are just a few of them.
Sicily is synonymous with culture, it’s the native land of Giamono da Lentini, who invented the sonnet, opera master Bellini, romance writers like Verga and Sciascia, nobel prize winners such as Pirandello, celebrated fiction writer Andrea Camilleri, and his brainchild, Inspector Montalbano.
The soundtrack of your archaeological voyage towards Salinunte, the Valley of Temples “Valle dei Templi” (AG) and Segesta may include songs by Sicilian artists such as Mario Biondi, Carmen Consoli, Franco Battiato or, if you prefer, Sicilian folk songs like “Ciuri, Ciuri“.
The traditional way to refresh one-self after these marvellous pilgrimages is? Lemon sherbet in a brioche or” Granita ca briosci” as they say here. Remember to carry your camera so you can immortalise all the puppet shows, typical folk carts and the decisively baroque architectural wonders.
And one more thing… Sicily is great for wine lovers too, don’t miss out on trying the intriguing Nero D’Avola and end your dinner with a glass of muscatel from Pantelleria, suave Malvasia from Lipari or sweet Marsala.