Someone once told me Sicily is like an old-fashioned Italy. It definitely has a charming, old-world feel to it, but it also has its own very distinct culture. The streets feel different to the rest of Italy: the vibrant murals, winding backstreets, bright ceramics and backdrop of a smoking volcano, make it quite the intoxicating destination. We took the girls for a few days during half term, and here are our favourite Sicilian spots:
– Bam Bar for morning granita (an island speciality), Honor loved the lemon flavour.
– A morning swim at Isola Bella, the little peninsula leading to a private island. The walk down is steep but beautiful: locals selling lace dresses and Panama hats line the rocky stairs down. This is a popular spot, so head down early, it’s like stepping back in time into a Slim Aarons portrait.
– Take the cable car up from the beach to Taormina, and get lost in the backstreets just soaking it all in. For once, we didn’t plan every outing, and I loved discovering ornate little churches, buying fresh marzipan, and watching locals chat from the street up to friends leaning out of their shutters. We stopped for Sicilian Arancini, pizzette, and then carried on hunting for traditional ceramics, and Head of Moro vases. On many corners, you will see artists painting, musicians playing, and ladies embroidering handmade linens. I bought two children’s aprons for my God-children, with their names embroidered onto the top. Adorable.
– Gelato: Gelatomania, try the nocciola flavour and watch how they delicately create your cone!
– Aperitivo: An Etna spritz (Campari instead of Aperol) on the Belmond Timeo terrace, watching the sun set behind Mount Etna. Get there by 5 pm though, it’s popular. Right behind is the Teatro Antico, the Ancient Greek Theatre with astonishing views and history.
– Date night dinner in the quiet bay at the Belmond Villa Sant Andrea, overlooking the little boats rocking on the water. Highly recommend the lobster ravioli and local Sicilian Cabernet Sauvignon!