Sorrel trekking from Enna.
The bountiful food of Sicily.
The colourful town of Cefalu.
It is the Mediterranean's largest island and has far more to offer than beautiful beaches and stories of the Mafia. Its superb location, warm climate, Greek temples and Roman ruins will have you sold.
Sicily is surrounded by the Tyrrhenian, Mediterranean and Ionian seas. It is the Mediterranean's largest island and has far more to offer than beautiful beaches and stories of the Mafia. Its superb location, fertile soil and warm climate have given it a history made up of invasion after invasion, so it is scattered with Greek temples, Roman ruins, Norman churches and castles, Arab and Byzantine domes and beautiful baroque churches and mansions.
Sicily is just right for trekking. The Madonie Mountains and volcanic Mount Etna are near the town of Enna, right in the centre of the island.
People on the walks are usually surprised by how different Sicily is from other parts of Italy. The area trekked through has primitive villages with a feel of poverty and isolation, but the wonderful aromas of home cooking, wild flowers and drying herbs make it very appealing. The locals think of themselves as Sicilian before Italian and they do offer hospitality to visitors.
Villadoro, a village of less than 100 people, is perched on the side of a hill. Traditional and authentic, it has an espresso and gelati bar which is the focal point of the town. The affugata, ice cream with coffee, is worth tasting. Sperlinga is known for its castle and cave dwellings, which were once used as a prison. One dwelling is now used as a cafe.
Gangi, the next village, resembles a turtle's back, lying on top of a rounded hill. You could stay the night in the 200-year-old Villa Raino. The former hunters' lodge is like a dolls' house, with rooms named after little girls. Aldo, the village cook, prepares delicious meals from whatever is growing or preserved, accompanied by delicious, fresh ricotta.
Geraci Siculo is a tiny but striking village. The ruins of its 11th-century castle are now home to vultures. Here you can also see trained falcons, which are no longer used for hunting, and taste the wonderful spring water, reputedly excellent for liver and gallstone problems!
The Madonie Mountains are the wilderness part of the trek and one that people seem to find the most satisfying — the region offers wildflowers, scrub, pastures and, on a clear day, a view of Mt Etna. You will come across shepherds who rely on cheese and meat for their income and who also make ricotta in the traditional way.
As you approach the coast you will come across the pretty, friendly little town of Isnello. It has shops, a couple of hotels and is a mix of the old and new ways.
Cefalù has a celebrated Norman cathedral and is a tourist town different from others along the trek. It was once a fishing village, but the sea now lures people there for a break and a swim. You might like to visit one of its many bars for coffee, beer, wine, gelati or a light snack or taste one of the colourful marzipan fruits it's famous for.
This trek gives a great opportunity to discover Sicily's history and culture and to sample its wonderful cuisine along the way.
The island off the south-western toe of Italy.
Qantas is offering an exclusive fare to Rome for Getaway
viewers. Return economy airfares are $1399 from the east coast, Adelaide and Perth for departures between January 20 and February 20, 2001. The sale ends at 5pm AEDST, October 12, 2000. Conditions apply. See your licensed or AFTA travel agent, Qantas Travel Centre or call Qantas on the Getaway hotline: 13 2223.
ATG Oxford has eight-day Sicilian packages, including accommodation, meals and guides, starting at $1924 per person twin-share, from June to October.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Qantas: 13 22 23
Italian Government Tourist Office:
Ph: (02) 9262 2000
Fax: (02) 9262 1677
ATG Oxford are represented in Australia by Outdoor Travel
Ph: 1800 331 582
ATG Travel: www.alternative-travel.co.uk/