Travel notes

News, Travel notes

The “Green Pass”, a certification through which it will be possible to travel or move between regions in Italy and Europe, seems to be the solution for summer travels.

Regarding travels within Italy, the situation to date is the clearest: this “green certification” consists of documents that certify the vaccination (even just one dose, as long as 15 days have passed since the first inoculation), an antigenic or molecular swab with negative results, the certificate of termination of isolation following the contraction of the disease. With these certificates at hand, it will be possible not only to travel between regions but also to attend a wedding.

Regarding trips from or to Italy, it will still be necessary, for those who have made the vaccine or for those who have finished isolation, to show the result of a negative swab, in line with the current European provisions, until the European Green Pass will be ready.

In this regard, the situation is yet to be defined, but precise and structured information should be available from July 1st: the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be issued through a special platform, where European countries will have previously uploaded the parameters for the certificate. The Certificate will in fact be based on a QR Code associated with a unique identification code at national level and readable by all EU countries, therefore the active participation of member states is essential in order to make the issue of the certificate fluid, usable and effective for all.

In the meantime, news regarding the access criteria of the EU states is on the agenda, so those wishing to make a trip will need to check the government portal dedicated to travel during the health emergency in order to have the most up-to-date news.

News, Travel notes

Since 1993, Italy has celebrated its natural and cultural beauties with the FAI Spring Days, an event entirely dedicated to the rediscovery of Italian wonders.

Like Valle d’Aosta and Sardinia, also this year Sicily will be one of the protagonists of the 29th edition (which was also awarded with the Plaque of the President of the Italian Republic), although with some delay due to Covid restrictions.

Isnello

These days, set for Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th June 2021, will allow those who wish to visit different sites on the island, to discover many surprising beauties.

In fact, during this event, some places will be open to the public, many of which are less popular or not accessible on a daily basis.

The places that can be visited will be several, including the Collegiate Church of San Pietro e Paolo in Castelvetrano, the Botanical Garden and the Basilica of San Nicolò, the Arena of the Benedictine Monastery in Catania, the Naturae itinerary “The Ubano Geological Trail” and the wooden treasures of Isnello, the church of San Rocco and the ancient “calderole” of Acireale, the Donnafugata Garden in Pantelleria, Forte Ogliastri in Messina, and many other places around our beautiful island.

Pantelleria

Moreover, in each location, the participants will be able to hear particular narratives of the sites they will visit, thus learning much more about the beauties of Sicily.

In this way, the volunteers of the association will also be able to make people learn about the new concept of FAI regarding the cultural and historical context of the country.

The visits and excursions will all take place in compliance with Covid regulations, keeping the right distance between the participants, which must all wear face masks. Safety will also be guaranteed thanks to the limited number of seats for each shift: in fact, reservations for entrances are available on the FAI website, until all seats are booked up.

This event is also an excellent opportunity to commemorate the rebirth of a nation tried by the events of recent years: by celebrating nature, art and history of these Italian regions, it is also possible to take a look into the future.

Travel notes

In addition to being a religious holiday, Easter is an opportunity to enjoy a small vacation: this year, we will accompany you on a journey around Europe, to discover the most curious and original Easter traditions.

Let’s start from Finland, where the sacred is closely linked with the legends of the place: according to popular beliefs, in fact, the Saturday before Easter is the day when evil spirits and witches begin to wander undisturbed through the woods and streets of the towns, which is why, today, tradition has it that large bonfires have to be lit to keep them away. On Easter Sunday, on the other hand, egg hunts take place, which, unlike in many other countries, are organized indoors, as the cold and snowy climate still does not allow outdoor games.

Speaking of eggs, during Easter period in Romania the real “Battle of the eggs” is held , where all the members of the family have a competition where the participants beat boiled eggs against each other: the egg with the hardest shell wins and the owner of the losing egg will have to eat all the broken eggs.

In France eggs are also the protagonists of a curious habit: in the southern countries, during Easter, a giant omelette is prepared, which according to tradition can reach almost 1000 courses. This peculiar anniversary derives from the legend according to which Napoleon, stopping in that area, ate an omelette so good that he ordered a gigantic one for his entire army for the next day.

On the other hand, in the United Kingdom there is the particular tradition of the “Morris Dance”, which takes place on Easter Sunday: this dance, of medieval origin, requires men to dance with traditional costumes holding sticks with at their ends a pig’s bladder in their hands, hitting softly the girls they meet with these sticks as an auspicious sign.

News, Travel notes

A few kilometers away from Agrigento there is a unique place in Sicily, a real open-air museum entirely dedicated to contemporary art and architecture: we are talking about the Farm Cultural Park of Favara, which just recently obtained the Seoul Human Design City Award for the design of harmonious and sustainable realities between individuals, society and nature.

The Farm Cultural Park, which today has a substantial number of visitors from all over the world, was founded in 2005 with the aim of creating a space dedicated to exhibitions, or where was possible to organize meetings and events focused on the world of art, music and culture in general, among the buildings’ courtyards and gardens of the historic center of Favara. The basic idea arises from the fusion of three unique places in the world, the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Marrakech and Camden Town in London, real symbols of the interaction between cultures, creativity, art and dynamism. The success of this formula was such that, after a few years, the Farm entered the sixth place in the ranking of contemporary art tourist destinations, up to the latest Korean recognition where the project succeeded among ten international competitors.

The harmonious fusion of residents’ homes, museum areas, accommodation facilities and shops has made the heart of Favara a real Casbah in Sicily, becoming the second most visited place in the Agrigento area after the Valley of the Temples. For those who are thinking about making a trip to Sicily, or for Sicilians who love to discover the beauties of their land, the Farm Cultural Park is an important step to discover a new and original side of Sicily.

Travel notes

The usual idea of ​​camping echoes in our minds reminding us to a genuine holiday immersed in nature, but also the heat, insects, uncomfortable mattresses. What if we told you that camping can also be luxury?

A very widespread trend in Europe, which has also been appearing in Italy for some years, is glamping (from the union between “glamor” and “camping”), that is a camping in the middle of nature but accompanied by luxury services , to the point of resembling in all aspects a resort surrounded by nature.

Glamping facilities generally offer accommodations such as yurts, teepee tents, wooden huts, vintage tents and caravans, accompanied by services such as linen changes, private bathrooms, restaurants, spas and much more. In addition to comfort, glamping facilities generally focus on respect for nature, with eco-friendly and low environmental impact solutions.

Glamping therefore allows you to immerse yourself in nature, with all the comforts of a hotel, however in a conscious and sustainable way, with strong influences of bio-architecture.

As already mentioned, in the tourism sector in Italy glamping began to spread only a few years ago, already experiencing great success thanks to the fact that easily allows a last minute trip and, above all, in the midst of nature and in the open air, topic recently taken into great consideration.

Travel notes

One of the main characteristics that strikes visitors when they arrive in Palermo is the great variety of churches that dot the streets of the city, with their different styles, reflecting the dominations that have influenced the very essence of the city.

Our virtual tour begins right from the emblem of the mixture of cultures, the Palatine Chapel, whose artistic syncretism makes it one of the most precious jewels of the city. Consecrated in 1143, the Chapel has decorative elements typical of Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures, including gold details, carved ceilings and breathtaking mosaics such as that of the Christ Pantocrator among the apostles.

Speaking of mosaics, we cannot fail to mention Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, also known as the Martorana Church, whose interior of typical Byzantine architecture is entirely covered with mosaics that create a striking kaleidoscope of sparkling gold, red and blue. Next to the Martorana is the Church of San Cataldo, with its characteristic red domes that distinguish the skyline of the city.

Continuing through the streets of the historic center to the heart of the Ballarò market, we find Casa Professa, the church of the Jesuit brotherhood: the path from Byzantine to Baroque is short in Palermo, as with this church we abandon the splendor of the mosaics to enter the delicate marble decorations, which completely cover the entire building.

On the other hand, the church of Santa Maria della Catena is of Gothic/Catalan/Renaissance style, so called because of the chain next to it that closed the marina during the 16th century: both the inside and the outside are designed to create a game of spaces and geometries, a real spectacle for the eye that projects the spectator upwards.

The tour ends with one of the symbols of the city, the Cathedral of Palermo: the Chatedral also represents a mixture of different styles (and of uses, considering that it was also a mosque!) and its beauties can be seen not only inside the church itself but also in the areas dedicated to the Treasure (such as Constance of Aragon’s Tiara) in the crypts and even on the roofs, from which it is possible to enjoy an amazing view of the city.

Travel notes

Christmas is a period rich in traditions and customs, some of which are common all around Sicily, while others vary from area to area. Between food, religious cults, historical reconstructions and typical decorations, the Festivities express the very essence of our region, made of conviviality, recurrences and good food.

Among the traditions that mainly unites the whole region, there are the Nativity scenes: from the living ones to the theatrical representations, the reconstruction of the Nativity even mobilizes entire villages, populating their streets with real masterpieces. Speaking of living nativity scenes, we cannot fail to mention the one of Palazzolo Acreide and the one of Forza d’Agrò, characterized by a medieval inspiration, while in Caltagirone, land of ceramics, the creation of nativity scenes becomes a real form of art that involves the craftsmen who, during the Christmas period, exhibit their creations in every corner of the city which, not surprisingly, is also called the city “of a thousand nativity scenes”.

Another typical Christmas tradition in Sicily is the “Zucco”, which has a more pagan origin and is widespread in ​​eastern Sicily: it is a large bonfire that is set up in front of churches on Christmas Eve, symbolizing a source of light that illuminates the darkness of the winter night. The term “Zucco” derives from the Arabic and identifies the branches used to light the bonfire. The “tronchetto di Natale”, a typical holiday dessert, also comes from the same tradition.

Speaking of desserts, we cannot fail to mention the culinary traditions of Sicily during Christmas period: the fish-based dinner on Christmas Eve unites the whole region, December 25th instead is characterized by lust and opulence with elaborate and rich dishes, followed by equally sumptuous desserts, a real joy both for the palate and the eyes with their bright colors, decorations, candied and dried fruit garnishes.

Nativity scene, tree, fireplace or traditional sweets, the beauty of Christmas is that – even during this very peculiar period – it doesn’t take much to breathe the festivity air!

Bus tales, Travel notes

Sicily is a land full of curiosities, which even Sicilians themselves often don’t know and, just as often, correspond to Italian or even international records.

These anecdotes concern some of the naturalistic characteristics typical of the area, while others concern its history and culture, thanks to the different dominations that took place over the years.

Everyone knows the Sicilian natural beauties, but perhaps not everyone knows that:

  • Sicily has the primacy for protected natural areas, with its five natural parks, six marine protected areas and seventy-two nature reserves;
  • one of the most destructive event of the twentieth century is the Messina earthquake of 1908;
  • Sicily includes a variety of climates that contain almost all the climates of Europe and northern Africa.

Regarding monuments and artistic beauties, there are lots of surprises:

  • Sicily is the Italian region with the highest concentration of artistic and cultural heritage;
  • the oldest written document in Europe, a letter from Adelasia degli Aleramici dating back to 1109, is kept in the State Archives of Palermo;
  • the first jazz record in the world was recorded by Nick La Rocca, son of Sicilian emigrants;
  • the fresco “Il Trionfo della Morte” (The Triumph of Death) kept in Palazzo Abatellis inspired Pablo Picasso for the realization of Guernica;
  • the feast of Sant’Agata di Catania is one of the most important religious events in the world;
  • the Sicilian flag is the most long-lived in the world;
  • according to some testimonies, both ice cream and spaghetti have Sicilian origins!

Between nature, monuments and…food, of course, Sicily is a land waiting to be discovered, full of surprises for those who live there and for those who want to visit it as a tourist.

Travel notes

Among the most important Sicilian turistic attractions in this particular Summer 2020, Agrigento definitely stands out, as we have already had the opportunity to talk about the initiatives promoted by the Valle dei Templi (Valley of the Temples). In addition to the archaeological park, however, the city itself has registered a positive trend, which at the end of the season demonstrates the tourist importance of the area.

As the mayor himself Lillo Firetto said, the large quantities in terms of presences and incomes deriving from the tourism sector proclaims Agrigento as a destination not anymore for “hit and run” holydays, but a real tourist center whose attractions have allowed a solid season, despite the Covid emergency.

The secret of the success of the ancient Akragas is in the mixture of culture, art, nature and pristine sea, reachable from Palermo Airport in just over 170 km. In addition to the Valle Dei Templi (Valley of the Temples), one of the most important archaeological site, Agrigento has other wonders dating back to past dominations, such as the Hypogea, dating back to 480 BC, which reveal the wonders that the city hides under its feet. These underground tunnels, dug into the calcarenite (typical stone of the buildings in the area), were initially conceived to guard the water reserves, but were later used to store food, different kind of resources and, in a much more modern era, as air-raid shelters.

Going back up on the ground, the historic center of Agrigento reveals to its visitors suggestive and typically Sicilian glimpses, where the sings of the past dominations are clearly visible. A visit to the Cathedral of San Gerlando, a majestic example of architectural mixes, and the birthplace of Pirandello, which has now become a museum entirely dedicated to the writer, cannot be missed during a tour of the city.

Between one visit and another, Agrigento also allows suggestive breaks by the sea thanks to the places nearby. The most popular is the Scala dei Turchi (currently closed to visitors), but in the immediate vicinity it is possible to enjoy the crystal clear waters of Realmonte or the unspoiled nature of the Torre Salsa Reserve, which alternates sea with typical flora and fauna of the dune environment of the area (distinctive of the reserve, the sand dunes of aeolic origin allow the growth and survival of some very specific species).

The summer in Agrigento is not over yet! Thanks to the hot climate, the city’s summer initiatives will last at least until the end of the month, with special openings, evening events and much more.

News, Travel notes

As we had already seen from the statistical data of mid-July, Sicily is now confirmed as the flagship for this very particular summer of 2020, thanks to a mix of elements including the variety of offers both in terms of places and locations.

These two features are not mentioned by chance, as they well represent two of the Sicilian locations that recorded the highest number of visits in Italy, namely Agrigento and Taormina, closely followed by Selinunte, Segesta and Monreale. A peculiarity that unites these places is certainly, in fact, the possibility to enjoy both the beauties, among monuments and archaeological parks, and benefit from the surrounding bathing areas! Just think of the beach of Isola Bella or the entire coast adjacent to the Scala dei Turchi to be able to easily imagine how much these splendid and evocative places can only contribute to creating an extraordinary complete package for the visitor to Sicily.

The detail that immediately catches the eye is the triumph of archaeological sites: the Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina also contributes to complete the previously listed picture, thus confirming that summer is not only all Sicilian, but also characterized by a strong interest towards the historical-artistic testimonies.

Sicilian archaeological parks and sites of interest, it must be said, are well prepared for the arrival of this summer: if the Greek Theater of Taormina persevered in a dense program of musical events, started around mid-July, the Valley of the Temples was the first park in Italy to be certified “Covid-Free” and it also launched an official App designed to guide the visitor both before and during the visit to the site.

The Villa del Casale in Piazza Armerina, on the other hand, a little less known but guardian of an inestimable heritage, will be open until 25 October also at night, thus giving a new perspective, under the moonlight, of the ancient Roman villa with its decorations still perfectly preserved. The night opening of monuments and points of interest in Sicily is a topic on the agenda, as the redistribution or extension of the scheduled time provides for a better organization of visitors throughout the day, a highly strategic choice to the present day.

Although in comparison with the past years the data are not entirely prosperous, compared to the prospects for March and April, traveling to Sicily was the most suitable choice for both Italians and foreign tourists, a choice that demonstrates the solidity of the region. within the tourism sector.

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