Saturday, June 8, 2019

That’s Amore

Sicilians build things like they will live forever and eat like they will die tomorrow. 
— Plato

For 16 days we wandered the narrow streets of Italy’s southern boot and the length and breath of Sicily, the island just off its toe. We strolled through ancient Greco-Roman ruins, watched sunsets over the sparking seas and vineyard vistas, explored hilltop towns, drank local wine, sought out Sicilian specialties from eggplant caponata to sweet ricotta-filled cannoli, to gelato served in a brioche bun.

For a full week we enjoyed being with Jack and Kasia, who brought with them lots of laughter and good companionship.

In my mind, the day-to-day details tend to run together, creating a pleasant, somewhat hazy memory of time spent immersed in a world of archeology, gastronomy and friendly people who talk rapidly all the while gesturing wildly with their hands. Just so I don’t forget, here’s our itinerary and some photos of our time together.


Hotel: Alberto Palazzo Decumani, charming hotel in the historic center
Best meals: Tiny grocery that served us grilled vegetables, spaghetti with seafood, and a creamy ricotta tart. (Sorry, don't remember the name of it.)
Pizzaria di Mattao, for traditional Neapolitan pizza
Dinner at Locanda ‘Ntretella, remembered it fondly from our first trip to Naples


Hotel: Aquatic Cave Luxury Hotel and Spa, rooms are actually in caves
Walking tour: Discovering Matera
Restaurants: Falco Grillaio, antipasti that went on and on (and was delicious)


Hotel: Rocco Della Sena
Santuario di Santa Maria dell’Isola di Tropea (and gardens), beautiful church perched on a sandstone rock
Restaurant: Porto Vaticana


Hotel: Condor
Sightseeing: Villa Comunale Di Taormina, beautiful public garden
Teatro Antico di Taormina, Greek theatre built in the third century BC

Siracusa (Ortygia)

Hotel: Charme Hotel Henry’s House, wonderful location in an 18th-century building
Restaurant: Al Mazarí, white tablecloth restaurant featuring typical Silician cuisine


Hotel:Agriturismo Baglio San Nicola
Sightseeing: Valley of Temples, a most impressive group of Greek monuments  
Favala: Farm Cultural Park, a place of art, culture, and urban regeneration


Hotel: Agriturismo Tarantola, idyllic setting, a real farm/vineyard with goats and chickens and a genial host.
Sightseeing: Selinunte Archeological Park, contains five temples centered on an acropolis
Erice, took a cable car up to the charming/historical town
Trapani, strolled through the town, in search of a gelato.
Temple of Segesta, known for its Doric architecture
Castellammare del Golfo, quaint fishing town known for its Norman Arabic castle, built on the sea.


Hotel: Quattro Incanti, converted floor with several basic rooms and nice breakfast terrace. Helpful host
Sightseeing: Orto Botanico, fabulous botanical garden

More photos

Devil's Bridge, Civita
Sunset in Ortygia
Market in Ortygia
Strolling in Ortygia
The BEST cannoli, Taormina

In the garden: Villa Comunale Di Taormina

Cefalù, seaside town where we stopped for a seafood lunch
Favara: Farm Cultural Park 
Ed and the Big Cactus, Orto Botanico (Palarmo)  
 Selinunte Archeological Park  
Alla prossima