We present a guest blog from our trusted expert on Sicily, Karen La Rosa:
Sicily! Unless you have already feasted your eyes on this still well-kept secret island, you have little idea of what awaits you on a journey. Come with me…It is mesmerizing, sensual, and like home. Read on and see what you are likely to experience as you explore.
Sicily is often referred to as the island north of Africa, with its stark and majestic cliffs, imposing against the piercing blue sky. Its hot and dusty roads are almost from another time. In the quiet of the hills, outcrops of cactus plants bear abundant fruit in bright reds and yellows, and pale yellow flowers cover the earth’s floor. Mount Etna provides an Eden of fertility. The verdant hills are dotted with almond trees. Their delicate pink blossoms swirl and cascade to the ground in the warm spring wind from Africa.
The landscape boasts windmills to dry the salt, orchards full of olives, fragrant lemons, an active volcano, and acres of vineyards. Flocks of sheep meander and small lizards scamper about, while church towers dot the skyline of every small town. Fennel fronds mark the path on which you walk, and the sweet jasmine wafts through the air, filling your lungs and grabbing hold of your heart. The intense display of color from the ubiquitous bougainvillea simply stuns the eyes. Rolling hills, tiny villages, giddily ornate architecture, mesmerizing sunsets, and the smell of cooking pasta greet you at every turn.
A historically coveted island, perched in the middle of the sea, that itself alternates between emerald green and cornflower blue, basks under no fewer than 300 days of sunshine a year. Colonized and fought over throughout its history, Sicily is the melting pot defined, and over the centuries each group left its mark. Agriculture, food, landscape, architecture, and the arts all reflect the wonderfully disparate cultures that once called Sicily home.
This is Sicily: almost dizzying to a traveller, a surprise and a revelation, a land of contrasts. It is full of the best of many things–ruins, mosaics, food and wine–but also the reality of a land that has suffered over time. Days can be exciting and full, viewing one sight after another, or tranquil, drinking wine leisurely on the slopes of Mount Etna, sitting on a sandy beach, or watching birds in a nature reserve. Each choice offers a rich and unforgettable experience. Food and wine are the feature of most days, and no matter your travel style, Sicilian cuisine is a hallmark of simplicity and freshness, mouthwatering family recipes, lovingly prepared. Sicilians love their island and love to share it with appreciative travelers.
Mythology and mystery carry stories of hardship and glory from the ancient past, casting a magic spell over anyone that sets foot on Sicily’s soil. Its appeal is unparalleled to the likes of poets and painters, photographers and journalists. No one returns from Sicily unmoved. It is its own continent, an idea, a land full of passion and heart. Come. See for yourself. Let us take you there.