Well hello there,
The travel season is just around the corner. Perhaps you have your trip fully organised, which is fantastic. On the other hand, if you are still looking for some inspiration, perhaps a destination in Europe, with plenty of sunshine, good food, some culture or just some chilling time on the beach, why not give Sicily a try? Andiamo.
We landed in Catania, on the East side of the Island and navigated our way North to Cefalù. It’s probably best to arrange a car rental in Italy as there are so many beautiful towns that you wouldn’t want to miss visiting, and so the easiest way to travel would be by car. By all means, you can do the Vespa thing, but not for the light-hearted ones like me.
The ride from the airport is actually quite smooth, with tireless views of picturesque landscape, including the majestic Mount Etna. Ok, I have to get this out of my chest. Ehhm. I always had my preconceived vision of the Sicily depicted in movies, notably the mafia ones, where the leader’s Sicilian routes have to be traced to the origin. By and large, they’d show the dreamy, hopeful little child growing up in Sicily, depicting endless mountaneous landscapes and farm animals etc. Well, the reality is actually not so far from it. The landscape I encountered today is like a frozen image I had in my mind. Bravo to the film industry for captivating such realistic images.
We stayed in Cefalù, a charming Italian medieval town located on the North side of the Island. With its distinguishing giant rock – La Rocca, a cathedral with two twin towers, churches, sandy beaches and countless restaurants – Cefalù has so much to offer. Frequented by numerous tourists in the summer, it is also where the film Cinema Paradiso was filmed. Some images from Cefalù. Please click on images to enlarge.
We found shelter in a hotel called Cefalù Sea Palace. It couldn’t be better located if you love the beach. You only have to cross the road and you find yourself at the beach. The hotel is super clean, rooms are really spacious and staff are so friendly. And once you get their musical Italian accent, then you could hold a pretty decent conversation. Tip: It is worth reserving the sea view rooms. Well worth it – the second picture below I took from the balcony.
There are so many places to visit just near and around Cefalù. We visited a town called Castelbuono, which inherits its name from its 14th Century castle. Apart from enjoying the architecture and cheeky gelatos, what I really like also is to meet the locals and see how they lead their daily lives, I find it quite interesting. It could be as little things as how they deal with domestic wastage. They simply suspend their tiny plastic bags from the balcony and the bin man swiflty yanks them away, nice! Turns out that it is the best way to keep cats and dogs from devouring the contents. I wonder why Venice wouldn’t do the same then. I’m also a sucker for watching seniors. I love how they just gather around and enjoy endless conversations. I’ll leave you with my captures.
Castello di Caccamo – Further South West of Cefalu, there is a giant Norman castle. You can actually go into the castle. There are a lot of original items kept intact. My favourite room was the bedroom, completely dressed up, even the shoes are on display. Check out the photo below, how cute are those booties! Incidentally, there was a memorial service as we were visiting, hence the parade picture.
If you happen to be in Gangi, then you must dine at Casale Villa Raino for a taste of authentic Sicilian food. Probably it is worth mentioning the villa is not easily accessible. Prepare to navigate many hills and windy roads, nothing new for Italy I know. Perhaps avoid asking the locals for directions, we were thrown off course big time so we had to rely on good old Google Maps. The décor will transport you way back in time, and as for the food, the taste is nothing like the food you get in mainstream restaurants where they try to please all nations. There isn’t even a menu, the host comes and offers you the traditional Italian course, i.e. antipasti, primo piatto (pasta) secondo piatto (meat/fish) and dessert afterwards, if your stomach can handle it.
If you were thinking of visiting Sicily, thumbs up. Thank you for visiting my page. I’d love to hear some of your travel stories.
Until soon, enjoy your travels. Ciao!