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Thank God Sicily does exist!

Sicily is a great place for cycling holiday

In my mind Sicily is an exotic place because I went there for the first time as a child, during my very first journey with my parents. I remember I was astonished for the huge contrast with my homeland in the north of Italy: nature, climate, tastes and smells, everything was so different. By plane Sicily is just one hour and half far from my place and I feel good about it. In a little while I can reach such a fascinating region, where winter is not so hard.

Sicily maintains the Arabic and Norman aesthetic, cultural and historical influences. In the 17th century, the French cooks Monsù mixed their cuisine with the local one, obtaining a great result: Sicilian cuisine is both tasty and light, thanks to the great local natural ingredients. Thank God Sicily does exist!

I’ve seen most of Sicily, but it is never enough. I visited Palermo and the area of Agrigento whether for land and sea, then Trapani, Egadi islands, San Vito lo Capo, Cefalù, Enna. Then the Sicilian east side, that runs from Messina to Capo Passero. Some locals I met, let me see the amazing baroque features of Ragusa Ibla. I’ve also discovered the typical cheese of Ragusa and the chocolate of Modica, cooked the way the Native Americans did.

I must confess. I also acted the common tourist and I went on a tour looking for the set of the famous Italian book and TV series “Il Commissario Montalbano”: Montalbano’s house in the imagined village of Vigata. I would always come back there.

What about bike tourism?

Let’s do some ecotourism by bike! I love cycling holidays and Sicily is a perfect place to travel by bike. This land always leaves me open mouthed. Both for admiration and surprise about natural views and historical architecture, and for local cuisine! The mastery of Sicily in its cooking tradition and the taste of local products are peerless, as I said before.

Sometimes I open my mouth to shout against the aesthetic and environmental pollution of my beautiful Sicily: buildings growing everywhere, sheds, greenhouses built without skills, bleak suburbs… These kind of issues are spread almost all over Italy, but the decay of Sicily makes much more angry. These criticisms are more significant if you travel by bike: a slow tour makes you enjoy the beauty of the landscape, but it makes you notice all the ugly aspects at the same time.

 

Credits pics

Ragusa Ibla (main pic): Isabella, Flickr user LaPetra

Palermo: Dimitry B., Flickr user Ru_Boff

Agrigento: Alain Muller, Flickr user Alain Muller

Cefalù: Andrea Ciambra, Flickr user Tchacky

 

Visit Palermo: helpful hints

Arrival

Palermo has its own international airport connected to the city centre by a bus (rides every 30 minute, many stops in different part of the city, 6€). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports (Rome, for example).

Transports

The best way to visit Palermo is on foot. About the public transports, in Palermo you can pick both bus and tram: single ticket 1,4€ for 90 minute ride.

What to do

Palermo is the capital city of the region Sicily, a big island in the South of Italy. The long history of the city and the succession of many different civilizations gave it a remarkable artistic and architectural heritage. Italian Capital of Culture in 2018, Palermo is the main seat of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale. Most of the must-see monuments is located inside the city center; others are distributed throughout the territory of Palermo: historic villas, watch towers, rock paintings, ancient churches or noble palaces. You really should attend the St. Rosalia Festival on Semptember 4th and July 15th, it is a very good experience.

In Sicily you will meet very nice people and you will taste very good food… Some tips about local street food: try some arancina (fried stuffed rice balls filled with ragù or cheese & peas), pani ca meusa (soft bread stuffed with chopped veal lung), pane e panelle (soft bread filled with fritters made from chickpea flour), cassata (ricotta cheese and candied fruit), the famous cannoli (tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta cheese)… and so on and so forth. Visit Palermo’s food markets to taste the best local street food, they are called Vucciria and Ballarò.

Where to sleep

Choose carefully where to sleep. The best areas for tourists are the city centre, Kalsa and Mondello (on the seaside). We should recommend you to avoid some urban areas like Cuba, Zen, Brancaccio, Zisa, Falsomiele, Uditore and Cruillas.

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Patrizio Roversi

Accidental tourist. His main passions while traveling: anthropology, economy, lifestyle, food and taste

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