So, in a few weeks my cousin is coming to visit and of course has been asking about where to go when she’s here. Now, Sicily is a lot larger than most people imagine and oftentimes people think they can visit places from one side to the other with no problem at all. It’s here that I’ll let you in on an essential piece of information: It takes about 4 hours to travel from Trapani, on the Western-most tip of Sicily, to Catania, the centre of the Eastern side of Sicily. That’s not an insignificant drive. I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re only going to stay the other side one night. Speaking from experience you’ll want two nights. And providing your flights are in and out of the same airport then you’re going to waste one day of the holiday purely driving, 4 hours there and 4 hours back.
There’s really no need to spend all that time travelling. There is plenty to see on each side of the island. This is even true for Western Sicily, the less popular side of Sicily.
Although I have visited the Valley of the Temples several times since moving to Sicily, I have never managed to the visit the Colimbetra Garden. That is until now.
The Giardino della Kolymbethra (Colimbetra Garden) is in the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily. Dating back to the time of the Ancient Greeks, it is a lush garden located in a large opening in the rocks where three valleys converge. It covers 5 hectares and contains an abundance of citrus and fruit trees, and other Mediterranean flora. Continue reading “The Giardino della Kolymbethra, Agrigento”
I confess, the first time I went to Agrigento I wasn’t very impressed. I’m not talking about the Valley of the Temples, that is amazing— Ancient Greek Temples, what’s not to like? But the first time I ventured into Agrigento I was a little underwhelmed. Not so this time when I went to see their spectacular Festival of the Mandorlo in Fiore (Almond Tree in Bloom). This time I found it charming, and full of unexpected gems! Continue reading “The Festival of the Mandorlo in Fiore”
A few weeks back we decided to take a trip to Agrigento to see the spectacular festival of the Mandorlo in Fiore. While we were there we took a trip around the historical centre of the city. There we came upon the Chiesa di Santo Spirito. Continue reading “The Church of Santo Spirito, Agrigento”
Today is Shrove Tuesday, in Italian Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday), and it is the day which signals the end of carnival and the beginning of lent. It is therefore the last day of carnival celebrations across Italy excepting those which follow the Ambrosian rite.
So, when my mother-in-law heard I was going to write about Chiacchiere her immediate response was…
Let’s make some together, I’ll teach you how.
Now, it’s here that I should point out that my mother-in-law in some kind of culinary genius. She is an authentic Sicilian housewife of the old mould. She whips up all kinds of amazing things without a written recipe to be seen anywhere. So, whenever she offers to teach me things I’m not one to say no (after all this woman is the reason my husband is prone to say “that’s not how my mum makes it”).
If you’ve been thinking since my last post- I’m not going to be in Italy around carnival so I won’t be able to try chiacchiere- then you’re wrong.
As I look out of my window at the ominous grey sky, it makes me long for the hazy days of summer (or more precisely early autumn—summer is some kind of burning inferno I try to escape from) when a spur of the moment decision led me off into the middle of nowhere in search of a ghost town.
Returning from a trip to Selinunte, we decided to take a detour off in search of the ruins of old Poggioreale.
As we headed off on a road seemingly leading to nowhere, through endless fields of ripe yellow melons, I began to question whether this was really a wise idea at the end of a tough day’s archaeological-site visiting. As the road turned into some sort of winding, precarious track, which at one point had seen a landslide and had a new way through bodged together, I began to reflect seriously on whether I had lost control of my mental faculties.
This year marks a momentous occasion, as this year it will have been a whole decade (I can barely believe it) since I first moved to Sicily. In that time I have done more things than I anticipated, seen more beauty than I thought possible, and stayed a hell of lot longer than I EVER intended.
You see, I moved to Sicily fresh out of university and attaining my TEFL certificate. I came here on a temporary 8 month contract with no intention of staying any longer.
My twenty-two year-old self was going to teach English here for eight months and then head off somewhere else. It was entirely by chance that I ended up in Sicily anyway; I wanted to go to Padua, where I spent a year of my degree studying, but somehow (and to this day I’m really not at all sure how, seeing as the job I applied for was in Padua) I was offered a job in Sicily. Anyway, I figured I could last anywhere for 8 months. So I packed up my suitcase and arrived all alone on a flight. A taxi service met me at the airport to take me to my destination, and it was there that my whirlwind delivery into Sicilian life began. Continue reading “7 Things You Never Knew You Could See In Sicily…”