Thanks to world-class infrastructure and an array of activities for the entire family, this region is red hot.
Go for this: Visiting an abundance of Greek ruins
But try this: Visiting wineries all over the island
Favorite hotels: Capofaro, 7 Rooms Villadorata, Belmond Timeo
Favorite guest experience: Seeing Stromboli erupt at night by boat
Foods: Caponata, swordfish, cannoli
Wine: Etna varietals (Nerello Mascalese)
Best time to visit: March-November
On Sicilian Shores
The sea breeze is the world’s greatest alarm clock. It’s only my first morning in Sicily and already I feel anew. Looking out at the sparkling Mediterranean from my waterfront room at the Rocco Forte Verdura Resort, I decide to take a morning jog around the hotel’s private beach. I can’t remember the last time I had such an enchanting jog, but I know I won’t soon forget. Following my jog, I find myself enjoying a lavish breakfast replete with local cactus pears, fresh sheep’s milk ricotta, apricot-filled cornetti to name a few.
I am whisked away to a private tour of Segesta where wildflowers paint the landscape of an ancient Greek city. I marvel at the 5th century BC Doric temple and amphitheater, both mysteriously well preserved for their age. Looks like I’m not the only one rejuvenated by the Sicilian air.
My next stop is the one I’ve been most tantalized by. Castellammare del Golfo is a gorgeous fishing village near Sagest. Here I board a private catamaran for a cruise along the northwest coast of Sicily. We pass along Scopello and the Zingaro Nature Reserve as we head toward the white sands of the San Vito lo Capo beaches. Before we arrive, our captain drops anchor, allowing us to plunge into the magnificent aquamarine waters of the Mediterranean.
As afternoon gives way to evening, I return to my hotel to freshen up. From here I head to Sciacca, famous for its ceramics and incredible views of the Mediterranean. I meet a convivial ceramist who explains the history of ceramic-making in Sciacca and shows me what sets the region’s ceramics apart.
With sunset drawing near, I sit at the town square and enjoy an Aperol Spritz as I watch the boats return to shore. I contemplate ordering another, but dinner beckons and I make my way to Porto San Paolo for the freshest fish imaginable. The seafood here comes straight from the boat, the vegetables and herbs straight from the farm, and the pasta straight from nonna’s kitchen. It’s a flavor you notice right away, and one that cannot be replicated anywhere else. I know I’ll dream about it tonight … and likely every night from here on out. What a place.