Usually when we think of Italy we imagine great food, wine, beautiful fashion, amazing landscapes and architecture – but also chaos, and the last part is exactly how my journey to Sicily started.
The flight from Venice where I departed left after a two-hour delay. The air traffic controllers gave us the chance to discover every angle of the airport as we had to change the gate probably ten times and moved up and down between floors – but I was thinking: “Hey I am in Italy so what can surprise me …”
Finally we got on the plane which was not the one we should have flown with, plus we had a more roller coaster type of flight with plenty of turbulence and a pit-stop landing.
I booked my stay at the Hotel Metropole because it is located in the heart of Taormina and it offers an infinity pool with breathtaking views over the Mediterranean sea,but when I arrived there I was truly surprised to see that the interior of the hotel look like a museum of art.
Passing through small and traditional villages, I felt I was travelling back in time several hundred years. The first thing I chose to do was to take a few moments to sit on the terrace and enjoy the view, to watch the beautifully-dressed Sicilians and tourists passing by. Taormina is considered a touristic hotspot for famous Italians as well as international stars that decide to stay here on holidays.
In the evening I went out in my Blumarine dress for a walk on Corso Umberto, the pedestrian street of Taormina, with a vast choice of restaurants and stores of all kinds. For such a small city I was amazed at how luxurious and glamorous the fashion stores are.
Strolling around the narrow streets I was able to find cute little stores offering all kinds of souvenirs, including the famous Sicilian porcelain. Nearly every shop offers you a huge choice of Moorish Heads, the traditional icons with a history of more than 1000 years. I couldn’t resist, so I decided to buy two for my home which are now decorating my garden, and a pair of earrings.
My day started early so I soon found myself getting hungry, but where to go? I was on an island and so I wanted to try seafood of course. I decided to stop at Rosso di Vino, where I ate the best grilled tuna of my entire life. It’s a little bit more expensive than other restaurants, but definitely worth it, as the food is a pure feast. The two waitresses, sisters by the way who recommended for me an appetizer of raw fish, were incredibly cute and helpful choosing the right dish. In fact they helped me discover a plate I’ve never eaten in Italy before.
The next day I relaxed in the hotel pool and in the afternoon I visited the Ancient Greek Theatre that is well maintained and still holds shows just. On that same day Mika was in town giving a concert in the theatre, and the crowd – especially the teens – had been queueing up to get their seats.
I stayed a few more minutes to admire the panorama of the city, then took some pictures and went to another restaurant called Cinque Archi that was recommended to me by a local. I sat on the terrace and admired the April IX square and the market at sunset.
On the last day at the pool I met a very nice lady from Scotland, I exchanged a few words and she told me to go to a village called Castelmola, 10 minutes from Taormina by car.
Thanks to this advice I had an unforgettable experience in Castelmola, which is on a hilltop and offers panoramic views over Taormina, the hills around, and the sea. The streets are very narrow, which makes every one of them unique and adds a special charm.
I stopped for lunch at a bar named Turrisi that had an unusual atmosphere. Everything was decorated with statues in form of men’s penises…lamps, ashtrays, umbrellas… Everything. After finishing my lunch, I visited a few more stores that were much cheaper than in Taormina. I bought some coral earrings and a few souvenirs and left to the next stop, Isola Bella. It was a very busy place where I barely managed to find a parking space at 10 Euros per day, but if you do it the Italian way of course you can negotiate.
In the evening I turned back, having another walk on Corso Umberto. Under no circumstances could I leave Sicily without eating their famous cannoli, so I went to the Pasticceria Roberto, which made my heart jump. It was heaven on earth and as I love pistachio I ate one cannolo and one delizia di pistacchio. Already the name sounds delicious. I could return to this place just for some more pastries.
I left Sicily too soon – impressed by its food, the history and the cheerful and always-friendly Sicilians respecting their traditions, heritage and unique beauty of their island. I will definitely return.