Sicily is a wonderful island renowned for its amazing culinary and cultural Mediterranean experience. This niche destination is the home of cannoli, Nero d’Avola wines and a remarkable agritourism industry. This is complemented with stunning landscapes, beaches and scenery. In this article, we discuss why Sicily deserves its share of credit and also some of its secrets.
The food is one of a kind. When thinking about Italian food, dishes like pizza and pasta are most likely to come to mind. While Sicily does boast such dishes, their local cuisine revolves more around fresh fish and seafood. Examples include sardines and clams which can be seen in most restaurant menus. One of the leading seafood dishes is the Sicilian swordfish rolls, followed by eggplant stew and pasta with sardines.
The wine is also a treasure worth cherishing. Sicily is synonymous with wine due to its long-standing traditions. It is the place where Marsala and Grillo originated. Whilst these continue to be one of the leading wines on the island, there is a vast selection to choose from such as the Nero d’Avola. The most delightful Sicilian wines are those which come from the slopes of Mount Etna. Extracting these wines is risky, as winemakers have to endure unpredictable conditions, which include volcanic eruptions, high altitudes and cold temperatures. Such beautiful wines extracted from Mount Etna include the marvellous Graci, Ciro Biondi and Lavico.
What can we say about the beaches? As the largest Mediterranean island, it boasts some of the most phenomenal beaches, and they tend to be less crowded! Some highlights include the San Vito lo Capo beach in Trapani, Mondello Beach in Palermo and Fontane Bianche Beach in Syracuse, as well as Isola Bella, a small islet in Taormina, the white cliffs at Scala dei Turchi and black-sand beaches in Vulcano. So how best to enjoy these majestic scenes? Rent a car and visit each beach and take some photos!
In addition to these, you may also consider visiting the southern village of Marina di Ragusa, the Italian hamlets Fontane Bianche and Scoglitti, the historical city of Ortigia and Monte Erice.
An intrinsic part of their culinary experience revolves around cannoli and coffee. Some of the outlets offer the best cannoli in the world, and as much as you may be familiar with cannoli, you will most definitely need to experience these at the source they came from. When speaking about coffee, you will find that Sicilians treat this religiously, being the first thing they take when they wake up and the last thing before they go to bed.
When in Sicily, a visit to Mount Etna would definitely be worth the trip. For the adventurous type, hiking on Mount Etna would be an unforgettable experience. If on the other hand, you would still like the experience, in a less strenuous, hot and ashy fashion, you can take the cable car or a bus to reach the top.
Cultural events are of significant importance to the Sicilian society. The year is packed with celebrations of Italian holidays, arts and local foods; favourites include the Carnival of Acireale in Catania, the Cous Cous Festival in San Vito lo Capo, the Almond Blossom Festival in Agrigento, the Infiorata flower festival in Noto and La Festa di San Giuseppe.
Last but definitely not least is the Agritourism. This is a unique source of income for the island’s economy. It offers a good overview of Sicilian culture as tourists get to experience the local farms, ranches and wineries.
If you have never been to Sicily, I hope that this article will change your opinion, and visit our beautiful neighbour island.