There are dream-like places, places which remind you of your childhood, places perfect for relaxing... and then there is Sicily. I am sure you know how attached I am to Italy and, during such a difficult year, I have decided to celebrate it in a few lines in my diary, everybody should visit this fantastic island!
Follow the scent of citrus fruits
I want to talk to you about Sicily because it has its own special way of being discovered: through scents and colours. You don't have to follow an itinerary or read the pages of a guide bookin order to discover it, you will just need to free your senses and allow yourself to be enchanted by the symphony of fragrances, sounds, emotions and colours this land has to offer. Let us start with the kings of Sicily: citrus fruits. Here citrus groves are also known as gardens and are true protagonists.. The tangerine from Ciaculli (an area belonging to the city of Palermo), one of the Slow Food Presidia, ripens in March, it has an intensely yellow skin and a unique aroma. The lemons from Bagheria, also in the province of Palermo, an area dedicated for centuries to this kind of crops. While the oranges from Ribera take us close to Agrigento and inebriate us with their scent. These are only a few of the typical areas where these fantastic fruits are grown, which allow us to discover ancient traditions and a slow and respectful way of approaching nature.
Citrus fruits, obviously, are not only eaten in their original form, they are also used to make the famous Sicilian granitas. The mixture of water, sugar and fruit is left to freeze slowly and never completely, while stirring it constantly. This magic creates a dessert which is a classic Sicilian breakfast: refreshing, low-calorie and with an intense scent.
Orange zest, citron and tangerines are just a few of the typical ingredients of the Sicilian canditi(candied fruit). Ancient method for preserving fruit and necessary ingredient of the Sicilian cassata cake: a joy for both the eyes and the palate!
In addition to these culinary masterpieces, citrus fruits also give us wonderful essential oils, perfect for perfuming body butters, creating perfumes, soap bars, unique air-fresheners and pampering ourselves. While most essential oils are extracted by using steam distillation, citrus fruit oils are extracted by cold pressing the zest. This way we obtain a true concentrate of citrus fruits, perfect for dreaming about summer during gloomy winter days!
Let the sea enchant you
A coastline many kilometres long, white sand, cliffs plunging into the sea, wide beaches and small hidden bays: I present to you paradise. What makes me dream is not only the coast but also Sicily's rich sea beds: full of life, colourful and perfect for snorkelling and diving, jaw-dropping.
I would like to use these few lines to suggest a couple must-see beaches!!
- Isola del Conigli (Rabbit Island):very close to Lampedusa, it has been recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Famous also for being visited by the Loggerhead sea turtles, it has beautiful waters which range from emerald green to cobalt blue.
- Scala dei Turchi (Steps of the Turks):his wonderful beach is situated along the coast of Agrigento right next to a white marl cliff which plunges into the emerald green sea.
- Cala Rossa (Red Bay):in the north-west of the island of Favignana, it can be reached both by sea or by land, along a steep and picturesque path. This little corner of paradise will repay you for all the effort you put into reaching it!
- Cala Capreria (Capreria Bay):turquoise water and white rocks for a breathtaking spectacle. This amazing beach is in the Province of Trapani, immersed in the Zingaro Nature Reserve.
There is no need for me to tell you that there are many more beaches worth visiting, some perfect for sunbathing, others for water sports, but I decided to select the not-to-be-missed ones, which you must see at least once.Remember, though, to always respect the places you visit: never take anything back with you, not even a handful of sand and always pick up your rubbish (not only yours, also what others may have left behind!). Only this way we will be able to preserve these enchanting places and their delicate ecosystem.
The taste of the sun and history
A land as generous as Sicily cannot fail to offer excellent wines, a true heritage to be preserved and promoted. Have you ever heard of the heroic vineyards? This strongly significant name is used to define vineyards in areas at hydrogeological risk, in areas where mechanical farming is impossible, on small islands, or in areas of particular aesthetic and environmental importance. For this reason they arefarmed with particular care, in the ancient Greek way and with total respect for nature. Some vines are up to 120 or 140 years old, unbelievable!
With so much care, the wine that is produced cannot be less than excellent. Here is a list of the ones you need to try:
- Zibibbo: surely one of the island's most famous wines and a true pride for Pantelleria. Its colour, its scent and its taste remind us of sunsets on the Mediterranean sea.
- Nero d’Avola:: while it is also known as “Calabrian” it is a 100% Sicilian indigenous vine variety.
- Syrah:a very interesting wine with a strong character, its dark and intense red colour, after ageing, tends to ruby red. It smells of pepper, chocolate and berries.
- Etna:you can find it both in red and white and it is made with very high-quality grapes. Its name reminds us of the slopes of the volcano which is a symbol of this island.
These are just a few of the wines you need to try while being enchanted by the delights of Sicily. Sitting in front of a great dish, talking with friends or meditating on the beach at sunset: a good wine can make any moment unforgettable!
I could not resist creating a fragrance which sums up the scents and the emotions given by this wonderful place, so, when I cannot visit Sicily, I can imagine I am there, on one of those marvellous beaches having a lemon granita. If you too would like a spray of Sicily, try my Green Tea, a fresh and energising fragrance, perfect for recharging and purifying your mind and spirit.