Taormina, the perfect welcome to Sicily! We arrived directly into Sicily with the convenient Emirates connection and picked up a Fiat 500 for our 8 days on this stunning island. We stayed in a gorgeous small hotel in one of the town squares, just far enough away from the hustle, while still being walking distance to everything. Our room had 2 balconies, one facing the ocean, and one facing the small-town square. It was stunning. It also happened to be the Taormina Film Festival – Italy’s oldest film festival -during our stay, so the main square was covered in red carpet as we got a table at a bar and watched as the film stars and paparazzi piled in. The best place for breakfast in Taormina has to be Bam Bar, where you order a traditional – and addictive – Sicilian breakfast of Granita di Mandorle con brioche (almond granita with brioche). After breakfast we caught the cable car from town down to the beach, where we spent the day floating about and cooling off from the summer heat, making a few trips to the beach hut selling Aperol Spritz.
From Taormina we drove to Ortigia, the island located just off Syracusa. The Piazza del Duomo is pedestrian only, and so photogenic. Home to the cathedral built on the ruins of the temple of Athena. On one side of the island you can find Forte Vigliena, where you can walk onto a rocky area by the ocean with an even enough top to spread out your towel, the spot is a favourite with locals sunbaking and drying off from their daily swim in the stunning water below. Take a book and a bottle of prosecco and watch the hours fly by.
Next up was Agrigento. We opted for a farmstay to experience the more rural side of the island. Fattoria Mose is a working organic vegetable farm where the owner makes preserves and oils as well as selling vegetables at the local market. The main building dates back to the 1800’s and is a very fitting dusty pink colour blending in with the landscape. The property is surrounded by olive trees, some of which are 1300 years old! The lovely owners Chiara and Simonetta prepare traditional dinners using the farms produce, sitting under the trees with other guests and savouring all the incredible flavours makes you feel like you’re at a family dinner. The location is perfect for sightseeing, the Valley of the Temples and Agrigento town are only a ten minute drive away, and the glistening white limestone and marl Turkish Steps 20 minutes, so after looking around and soaking up some history you can return to the beautiful pool for a late afternoon swim as the sun sets over the countryside. I’d definitely recommend a few nights here.
Our last stop was Palermo. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this bustling gritty city. With only a night we had enough time to visit the beautiful baroque Chiesa del Gesu, walk the huge grounds of the Cathedral, and enjoy a final Sicilian dinner at Mangia e Bere Restaurant, in a small square filled with tables and chairs at the base of church steps. I wasn’t ready to leave this intoxicating Mediterranean island.
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