Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 reasons to visit Sicily on Holiday

Portopalo di Capo Passero

In 1887 the eminent German author J. W. Goethe wrote in his renowned book The Italian journey: "To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything."

This is one of the most famous quote about the Trinacria. Now, the spontaneous questions to follow would be: Why? Why Sicily?

I will give you 5 reasons why you should visit this land at least once in your life.

The Volcano Etna at sunset - Photo source: meteoweb.eu
    Sicily is the biggest island in Italy, it has beautiful coasts washed by blue sea, as well as country-sides, woods, hills, an imposing volcano (Etna!) and two main mountain chains called Madonie and Nebrodi. 

    The weather is amazing almost all year round, so, whether you like swimming in the sea, hiking, skiing in the winter season, or just sunbathing like a lizard, there is a spot for you!

    The Duomo of Monreale (PA)
    There’s no way you get away from it. Even if you are not that kind of tourist you will still be able to appreciate and touch millennial history with your own hands. 

    Culture in Sicily is everywhere,
    as our island boasts more than 3,000 years of history, going back to the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs, Germans, Spaniards. The list is so long!

    Each and every of these peoples left a remarkable footprint in our dna, in who we are, what we eat and how we do things. Due to all these dominations, the majority of our cities are open-air museums. Simple as that!
Fried calamari, typical Sicilian dish
  • FOOD & WINE – Italian food is renowned all over the world, but who does actually know the ancient tradition of the Sicilian cuisine? Our food is so various and unique, because it’s the result of this melting pot of dominations and cultures. And it changes from one province to another.
    Any true Sicilian human being cannot conceive neither accept any social activity that doesn’t involve eating some kind of food. Also wine is very important in our style of living, just think that 3 of the most famous wines in the world are actually Sicilian: Marsala, Nero d’Avola and Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Come on!
  • PRICES - Compared to a lot of other places in Europe and Italy itself, many parts of Sicily have reasonable prices. Hotels and bed & breakfast can vary according to locations, services offered, high or low seasons, but you can have a cappuccino and a croissant for 3,00 euros and there are lots of places where you can have an excellent dinner or a very good pizza for 16,00-20,00 euros per person, including drinks, starters and sometimes even dessert.
  • SICILIAN HEROES - The last reason is the most delicate and complicated one. No matter how appealing the points 1,2,3 and 4 can be, too often when I talk about Sicily, one of the first comment I get is about the organised crime: “You’ve got the mafia!”
    Thank you. Like I need someone who has never visited my own land to remind me of that! Some of these people make even their remarks winking at me or with an exciting smile on their faces, thinking it will be entertaining just like in the Godfather saga.
The image of St.Pino Puglisi, Catholic priest assassinated by the mafia in 1993

Personally I’d rather be associated with names like Saint Pino Puglisi, Paolo Borsellino, Libero Grassi, Peppino Impastato, Giovanni Falcone and many others. Who are they?
A catholic priest, a judje, an entrepreneur, a free thinker, another judje. What do they have in common?
Well, these are only few names of the thousands of men and women that heroically stepped out from the crowd and faced the mafia. They decided not to compromise or hid their head in the sand, even when their lives were in danger. They wanted to live a free life and fought to make Sicily a better place, until the ultimate sacrifice.

So… if you want to come to Sicily please do it for our beautiful blue sea and breathtaking landscapes, our extraordinary history, our monuments, our exquisite food and superb wine, our very competitive prices, but come also to honor our heroes. Because when you pay respect to them you inevitably give voice to freedom, courage, integrity, hope, honest work, legality, pure love.

This is the REAL SOUL of Sicily.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In Mazara del Vallo the 3 days of the "Red Prawn!"

The Red Prawn of Mazara, photo source: siciliafan.it

The prince of shellfish is going to be the protagonist of the next three days in Mazara del Vallo, Western Sicily. I am obviously talking about the RED PRAWN, which is one of the most sought-after quality of prawns in the Mediterranean sea and is typical of the area of Mazara, in the province of Trapani.

Organized by a cultural association "Innovazione e Cultura", the event will start tomorrow the 23rd of July and will end Sunday the 26th at the Hotel Mahara. There will be workshops, conversations about food and cooking shows where three chefs from the last edition of Masterchef Italy (Filippo Cassano, Arianna Contenti and Giuseppe Garozzo Zannini Quirini) will cook this amazing sea product in different ways, explaining all the steps of their recipes.

The Medieval Castle of Erice (Tp)
I am sure this occasion will be an excellent starting point for letting visitors try this superb seafood of our territory and discover the area of Trapani and Mazara more and more, area which has a lot to offer to tourists in terms of delicious food but also breathtaking spots and history. 
And to give even more importance to this event on saturday 25th the Mazara Council has decided to have a "white night", which means that museums, shops and commercial activities in general should remain open even at night to allow visitors to see, taste, appreciate the best of our local products.

Suggestion: while you are there, why not passing by some amazing locations like San Vito Lo Capo, Marsala, the Saline in Trapani or Erice? What better opportunity than this to spend some exciting days in Western Sicily? The red prawn and not only the red prawn is waiting for you.