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A Week in Sicily

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Everyone knows Sicily because of the mafia, but it’s so much more than that. It is the crossroads of the Mediterranean, closer to Africa than Rome, which made it a hub of trade dating back at least to the Greeks. That means anyone who was anyone in the area has been there, built something, and contributed to the culinary culture. Plus it’s warm most of the year so swimming is encouraged, long strolls in sultry Palermo are de rigeur, and boat rides out to the islands will delight you.
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Via dei Biscottari, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza In the area of the Norman palace, near the market, there are still some little medievalbotteghe(shops) below the level of the palace. Via dei Biscottari is where they used to make the pastries and cookies for the king. There is...
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Piazza Indipendenza, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza Within the Palace of the Normans, there’s a chapel of the kings. “It’s sumptuous,” Fabrizia says, “all covered with mosaics. It’s like getting inside a golden box of jewelry.” Piazza del Parlamento 1 This story appeared in the...
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Via dei Benedettini, 20, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza This 12th-century Norman church [St. John of the Hermits] has five Arab-inspired red domes. It’s a narrow little church with a garden filled with jasmine and succulents— a very peaceful place. Via dei Benedettini 3 This story...
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Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza Palermo’s opera house, built in the 19th century and inspired by ancient Greek ruins in Sicily, is the largest in Italy and the third largest in Europe. You can catchRigoletto,La Traviata—I love all of Verdi and Puccini; I’m...
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Piazza Cappuccini, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy
Walking through Palermo you get the feeling that much hasn't changed in the last hundred years or so. That is especially true at the Capuchin Catacombs. The catacombs contain skeletons and mumified bodies of various citizens of Palermo. The...
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Via generale Magliocco, 19, 90141 Palermo PA, Italy
Seeing the locals and businessmen slowly sauntering in for their espresso or lunch, you get a sense that these locals don't realise what great food they have at their fingertips. Whether you are after a coffee, sweets, something for lunch or a...
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Piazza Marina, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy
Perhaps my favorite thing about Palermo, aside from the colors, the people, the life and the beach, is a plate full of panelle, fried chick pea fritters, for lack of a better term. In Piazza Marina, I usually head to Nni Franco U' Vastiddaru or...
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93100 Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza

At her cooking school in Regaleali, Fabrizia Lanza (right) learns from Sister Lidia how to make zuccata, a traditional candied squash dessert.

Name:Fabrizia Lanza
Age: 49
Hometown:Palermo, Italy
Occupaton:Formerly an art historian...

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90010 Ficarazzi PA, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza This central square is famous for carts that serve Sicilian antipasti in front of the Oratorio di San Lorenzo, which has amazing 18th-century sculptures, perhaps the most extravagant art Sicily produced at the time. Via dell’...
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Southern Europe
by Fabrizia Lanza People line up at seven or eight in the morning to order a big dish of soup made with tripe and intestines. You can getpanelle(pancakes made from chickpeas) hot from the vendor. They also sell the most famouspanino—spleen stuffed...
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93100 Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza Palermo’s art museum, which houses medieval and modern works, is around the corner from the Mura delle Cattive (Wall of Widows). It’s in a well-preserved palace of the 15th-century Gothic Catalan epoch—we belonged to Spain at the...
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93100 Caltanissetta, Province of Caltanissetta, Italy
by Fabrizia Lanza A restaurant built within Palermo’s ancient walls, where chariots were once housed. Under these enormous vaults there is a library, a garden, and a bar—it’s a fantastic place for drinks. Foro Umberto I This story appeared in the...
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Piazza Europa, 38, 91023 Favignana TP, Italy
Favignana is the largest of the Egadi Islands off the western coast of Sicily, the butterfly shaped island is small enough to easily explore by bicycle or moped. Stay: Cas’almare , a small boutique hotel adjacent to the sea and an ancient roman...
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Via Teatro Greco, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
The Island of Sicily has many wonders. Taormina is a popular resort town on Monte Tauro and has an old Greek Theatre that is still used for performances. The sitting has awesome views of the coast and Mount Etna. I would like to go back and actual...
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Mt Etna, 95031 Adrano, Province of Catania, Italy
To see Sicily properly, you need to rent a car and drive. This is not a problem until you get to Mt. Etna......very curvy steep incline so here is where we had an Italian guide drive us(strongly recommended). At the rest area(before the cable...
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97100 Ragusa, Province of Ragusa, Italy
We drove into Ragusa - Sicily in the late afternoon, walked the cobbled streets, devoured a locally made nougat gelato and on the drive back down from the old town were met with the beautiful sight of the traditional houses lit up by their...
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Via della Giudecca, 96100 Siracusa SR, Italy
Stumbling across a place and people whilst on your travels is one of the major drawcards that keep the travel bug alive. This was one such moment. Walking the old streets of Ortigia, we came across Laborotorio Pupi, run by the Vaccaro-Maurceri...
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Via Etnea, 270, 95100 Catania CT, Italy
I keep coming back to Sicily for more. This time brings me to Catania, the more overlooked of the island's two large cities. Its unique charm and beauty merits an overnight visit for sure. Spinella, a local institution, attracts Catanians and...
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Corso Umberto I, 159, 97015 Modica RG, Italy
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is has been at this location since 1880 when the father of Francesco Bonajuto introduced fine sweets of Arabian and Spanish origin to the Modica locals. Upon entering this beautiful nook of a store which happens to be the...
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Contrada Scavuzzo, 92010 Realmonte AG, Italy
With a love for the prints of Massimo Vitalli, a visit to the Scala de Turchi in Realmonte, Sicily was a must do for me. Seeing the sheer scale of the cliff face along with its stark whiteness was something I will not forget. We set up a picnic...
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Via Pardo, 29, 95131 Catania CT, Italy
Make a meal of fresh sea urchin at Osteria Antica Marina among the bustle of the fishmongers in Catania. This appeared in the August/September 2013 issue. Image courtesy of Osteria Antica Marina
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Contrada Barbaro, 91013 Calatafimi TP, Italy
The Greek theater at Segesta may not be as large as the theater in Taormina, but it certainly doesn't disappoint in terms of wow factor. It also doesn't have the ridiculously crowded and touristy atmosphere of Taormina, with busloads of...
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98030 Castelmola ME, Italy
High in the mountain above Taormina, a similar village appears, without the crush of tourists. Castelmola is a beautiful little place with chessboard paving, tiny artisanal shops, and peaceful bars dotted throughout the network of courtyards and...
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90015 Cefalù, Province of Palermo, Italy
With the abundance of Sicilian produce (think lemons, oranges, eggplant, tomatoes from Mt Etna) - it is no wonder that the early morning markets are overwhelmed with options. Grab your bags and head out early to get the best variety --- and make...
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Vulcano, 98055 Lipari, Province of Messina, Italy
What’s that smell? It’s the entire island of Vulcano, the Aeolian Island most famous for its clumpy, mineral-rich mud baths and healing hot springs. Laghetto di Fanghi is the name of the famed mud bath closest to the dock. A massive pit of greyish...
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Contrada Regaleali, 90020 Sclafani Bagni PA, Italy
Regaleali is one of five estates run by the Tasca d’Almerita family. Call ahead to book a vineyard tour. Snacks such as estate-made ricotta accompany the wine tasting. Visitors can stay overnight in the estate’s baglio, a farm villa. Villa Tasca,...
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Via dei Mille, 4, 95030 San Pietro Clarenza CT, Italy
Sicilian vintner Arianna Occhipinti enrolled in RAGUSA winemaking school at the age of 18. Since then, the 32-year-old has gained notoriety for the natural wines she produces from her vineyards in Vittoria, on the southeastern tip of Sicily. Her...
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SP79 Km 91, 92013 Contrada Passo di Gurra, Menfi AG, Italy
The cookbook author Judy Witt Francini offers weeklong culinary tours in Sicily that include cooking classes at this renowned winery. From $4,000 per person. This appeared in the May 2014 issue.
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92017 Sambuca di Sicilia, AG, Italy
Brothers Gunther and Klaus Di Giovanna oversee the vineyards their great-grandfather first planted in 1860. Tours are by appointment and include a tasting of the estate’s wine and olive oil. This appeared in the May 2014 issue.
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90027 Petralia Sottana, Province of Palermo, Italy
One of Sicily’s most historic producers of nero d’Avola, Feudo Montoni estate dates to the 16th century. Its Vrucara wine, made by 44-year-old winemaker Fabio Sireci, is considered one of the best expressions of the grape. This appeared in the May...
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91010 San Vito Lo Capo TP, Italy
In the height of summer, this national park is swarmed with Sicilians worshiping the sun and sea. To get to the beach coves you hike a hot and dusty path along the mountain cliffside. As we ascended the craggy cliff down to the second cove, we...