I am writing today from the island of Ortigia near Siracusa, Sicily. I am a little more than halfway through my Best of Sicily Tour and boy are we having fun traveling off-season and off the beaten tourist path. My group is small, just two single ladies, but we’ve seen and experienced a lot together these last eight days.
We began a week ago in Palermo. It sputtered rain on and off for two days, but we managed to get most of our sightseeing in between showers. The local markets and the historic town center topped our sightseeing, as did a trek to visit the Catacombe dei Cappuccini where more than 8,000 Palermitans are hung out to wither and dry in the crypt under the neighborhood church. Here we saw perhaps the most disturbing of all the dead folks, the perfectly preserved body of 2-year-old Rosalia Lombardo who died in 1920. See a picture here.
We also enlisted our hotel chef to teach us how to prepare arancini, a traditional dish in every Sicilian kitchen. After several hours of preparing and cooking the round, risotto-based “orange-sized” food balls, it was a delight to sit down and taste the fruits of our labor. Arancini are a meal in themselves with a ragú or cheese center being wrapped in a tasty layer of fried rice.
Leaving Palermo, we’ve traveled counterclockwise around the island visiting Trapani, Marsala, Agrigento, Ragusa, and today in Siracusa. There is too much to tell about all our adventures, but a few highlights have been: tasting Marsala wine, visiting a 4th century BC Greek temple and having it all to ourselves with not a soul in sight, getting “lost” while driving in a small hilltown and having to navigate some very tight lanes to return to civilization, and enjoying wonderful food!
Sicily is filled with fun-loving locals, fantastic destinations, and the best experiences Italy has to offer. I am coming back in September and would love to have you join me. Check out my Best of Sicily tour here.