Sensational Sicily: Eat, drink and explore Roman ruins

Architectural treasures, delicious food and a wealth of cultural remnants from invasions over the past couple of thousand years or so are what give the Sicily of today its unique identity. Part of Italy it may be, but this sun-drenched island –the largest in the Mediterranean – has a heritage that includes Greek, Roman, Arab and even Norman infuences.

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Traces of these vastly different cultures are everywhere on this sun-drenched island, from its distinctive, flamboyant architecture to the world famous Sicilian cuisine. The major attractions here are well known – Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, sent spectacular columns of lava high into the air as recently as a couple of months ago.

And its cities – such as Syracuse and nearby Catania – are packed with sunny squares and glorious historic churches. But for our summer holiday, we decided to explore Licata, a city on the south coast between Ragusa – where BBC Four’s popular Inspector Montalbano series is filmed – and Agrigento, home to Sicily’s most famous historical attraction, the Valley of the Temples.

It put us within reach of a cornucopia of cultural sites and beaches, although Licata is not well known itself – except by Second World War buffs as a landing point for invading Allied forces in 1943. It has its share of pretty churches as well as a castle and a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, La Madia, that attracts fine diners from all over the world.

After flying into the capital, Palermo – and driving our rental car three hours south – we reached our rental villa, Masseria Falamandrina, a renovated farmhouse with a glorious pool, all nestling in an olive grove on a working organic farm. The owner, Giulia, kindly presented us with a bottle of olive oil made on the premises. It was gorgeously fruity when poured over the caprese salads we made each day for our alfresco lunches on the villa’s shady terrace.

Licata’s attractions included an historical centre with imposing buildings and cafés offering refreshing coffee and gelato. Impressive edifces included the grand Palazzo Frangipane and Palazzo di Citá, an art nouveau building that overlooks the town’s central road crossing. Also worth seeing is the 18th-century Church of Santa Maria La Nova, which houses the famous ‘Black Crucifix,’ blackened during a fire set by the Turks during the 15th Century.

http://www.express.co.uk/travel/shortbreaks/501921/Things-to-see-and-do-in-Sicily

Excursions to the Gorges of Tiberius

The Gorges of Tiberius, site Geopark recognized by UNESCO, are located along the river Pollina in the Madonie Park in the San Mauro Castelverde. Gole, about 400 meters long and as high as up to 50 meters, are made up of limestone rocks formed in the upper Triassic.

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The visit to the Gorges of Tiberius is a trip back in time, in a wild and unknown accessible to all, but recommended only to those who truly love the unspoiled nature, silence and live a unique sensory experience to discover a primordial world dating back some 200 million years ago a completely preserved even today, as very few other places in the world, where the changing seasons and plasma model the surrounding ecosystem.

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Visiting the Gorges means discovering fossils of gastropods, the many bird nests also just inches from the water, the numerous caves once inhabited by bandits and legends related to them and to the place, that of the famous Miricu, the Truatura and Monster, the play of light that are created between the water and the walls, the contrast between the warm winds outside and cool inside, and if you are lucky, even the eagle in flight.

http://www.madonieoutdoor.it

 


 

10 of the best beach towns in Italy

Wedged between mountains and coastline, the idyllic town of Cefalu is small but popular for its sandy beaches, Sicilian restaurants, and vibrant nightlife scene. In summer the population of Cefalu can triple, making the main streets and major roads in the country crowded, but give it a youthful atmosphere and an impressively lively night life.

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Cefalu is in the Province of Palermo, located on the northern coast of Sicily, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The town, with its population of just under 14,000, is one of the major tourist attractions in the region. Despite its size, every year it attracts millions of tourists from all over Italy and Europe.

http://stunningplaces.net/best-beach-towns-in-italy/

Lavatoio Medievale

The Lavatoio Medievale

The Lavatoio Medievale is a point of interest in Cefalu that cannot be missed, as it’s one of the many historical landmarks that one can visit throughout the region. The story behind the Lavatoio Medievale is an ancient one, as this is the area where the women would come to wash and rinse their family’s clothing during ancient times many centuries ago.

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It’s also a very refreshing spot to stand and watch the water fill up the small pools, and just imagine what life was like back then. This gorgeous historical point of interest is easily accessed by walking, and is away from the sun’s unrelenting rays. From there, the water flows into a small channel and enters the sea. From a historical standpoint, the Lavatoio Medievale is a picturesque place to be. The sweeping steps that lead down to this ancient, but so beautiful, landmark has trees that literally come out of the steps, and are a guide to another world.

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If you would like to stay awhile in this area, there is even a restaurant located near the stairs that has a decent view of the sea, and great food. This attraction is perfect for those who love to visit historical landmarks, and will even entertain the children because of the small pools of water.

Ti Vitti Restaurant

This up and coming restaurant interestingly enough is named after a traditional Sicilian card game, and is run by Vincenzo Collara. The pasta, cannoli and fish dishes that are cooked up at this restaurant are unlike any other, and are created using nothing but the freshest ingredients from the local market.

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The menu at the Ti Vitti is based on what is in season, such as swordfish and some of the special treats that are sourced locally, such as the basilisco mushrooms that come from the Monte Madonie. During the winter time, the menu at the Ti Vitti is down to three secondi, three primi and three antipasti, which is all extremely fresh based on what is available at the local market during that day. The Ti Vitti proposes typical Sicilian dishes that are traditional through their tastes and colors.

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The name, Ti Vitti, comes from the traditional Sicilian card game, “vitti you get on and off”, which is inspired from the Sicilian dialect that means “I saw you”. The game is played by trying to get one of the players to break a rule, such as speaking, and is a game that is usually taught to children.

To inquire further about their menu, or about what’s in season, you can visit their website at ristorantetivitti.com, or call them at 39 0921 921571.