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.

News

Over the past few weeks there have been the first rumors regarding the Green Flags 2021, which are related to the beaches ideal for families with children and teenagers from 0 to 18 years.

Also for this summer Sicily stands out in this ranking, with three coasts: Noto, Sampieri and Tonnarella, located in the eastern area of ​​Sicily. If Noto and Sampieri are two flagships of the South-East area of ​​the region, both also part of the Vie del Barocco, Tonnarella instead is located in the area of Messina, shortly after the Marinello lakes, another place of extraordinary beauty in the area.

Noto obtains this recognition for the fifth consecutive year, thanks to the wide and sandy coast with a few accesses to the sea, low water – allowing children to play safely -, presence of lifeguards and lifeboats, beaches equipped with changing tables and services dedicated to early childhood.

New entries are instead Sampieri and Tonnarella, whose beaches had some previous recognition not only thanks to all the requisites required to obtain the Green Flag, but also for the proximity to other structures such as farmhouses, thus sealing a particular proximity to sea and nature, an added value not to be overlooked. Furthermore, Sampieri was the first to obtain the title as she was the first to gather and deliver all the official documentation necessary for the candidacy, complete with as many as 55 reports from pediatricians, when 35 are sufficient by regulation.

The delivery ceremony of the Green Flags 2021 will be held in Alba Adriatica on July 10th, and never as this year the event is full of importance given the need for families and children to enjoy outdoor and seaside holidays, after a long period spent at home.

Gusti-Bus

Summer is almost here, and with it also one of the typical desserts of the Palermo area: we are talking about the gelo di mellone, a watermelon-based kind of pudding. Trying this typical desert is a culinary experience that cannot be missing during a holiday in Sicily. Today our Gustibus stops right here and. Let’s dive together into the recipe and origins of this typical dessert in Palermo.

Let’s start with the name of this dessert, which could sound contradictory for the rest of Italy: “gelo di mellone” would suggest that the main ingredient is melon, that is, the one with yellow pulp, different from the watermelon. In Sicily, the watermelon is instead called “muluni”, and from this term derives the profession of “mulunaro”, which is the person who sells the best watermelons, expert in recognizing them by every single pat on their skin. Another misunderstanding is the term “frost”, which ca be easily mistaken with ice cream: the consistency of this desert is actually quite different, more like a pudding which, depending on the area where it is made, takes on a more or less compact and gelatinous character.

There are different opinions regarding the nature of this dessert, as it dates back to two different dominations of the past: one, in fact, derives from the Albanian settlement in Sicily, people accustomed to cultivating this fruit even in their land as it is ric of water, the other instead traces the recipe of the dessert back to the Arabs, especially for some of its main ingredients, such as cinnamon, the garnish with pistachio grains and jasmine water (flower of Arab origin) deriving from the soaking of the flowers in water for a whole day.

The freshness of the watermelon, combined with the fragrant and exotic aroma of the other ingredients, makes the gelo di mellone one of the typical sweets of the Sicilian summer, in Palermo in particular, generally enjoyed in a bowl or used to garnish cakes or pies.

News

It seems that the prospects for those who want to travel during summer 2021 have begun to take on a more positive connotation: from May 15th, in fact, for those traveling to Italy from Europe, it will be enough to show the negative swab report or the Covid vaccination certificate, without having to undergo the quarantine period required until now.

This regulation will apply to all the countries of the European Union, Great Britain and Israel, and has obviously been welcomed with great relief by the Italian tourism sector, which is already beginning to see the first reservations for the summer from the Netherlands, Germany. and Portugal.

The next step, now, consists in applying the same measures also for those coming from the United States (where Covid-free flights are already on the agenda), from Russia and China, the most important areas where tourist come from to visit Italy.

Regarding Sicily, however, the Covid-free islands project has been correctly launched: in Salina for example the first part of the generalized vaccination has already been completed and the other Aeolian islands are proceeding, and the same is for Lampedusa. The project will end with the islands of Ustica and Linosa, with the hope of ending within a few weeks and making some of the most important locations of tourism in Italy safe for both its population and tourists.

For those traveling from Sicily, on the other hand, Palermo Falcone e Borsellino Airport announced the 91 destinations for summer 2021, between domestic and international, aimed at connecting 21 countries with 31 airlines, including some new entries such as Blue Air , Lumiwings, Lot and Wizz Air.

After a difficult year for tourists and operators of the sector, it would therefore seem that there is a glimpse, which it is hoped to become bigger and more concrete in the coming weeks.

Bus tales

In addition to being an important commercial point for Sicily, Termini Imerese contains some peculiarities perhaps not known to most people, but extremely characteristic of the territory.

The name of the place itself immediately recalls its ancient origins: the town rises in fact near Himera, a Greek colony founded in 648 BC. and its hot springs with the same name, still used today for thermal purposes. Thermai Himeraìai is therefore the original name of the place where now Termini Imerese stands and from which it takes its name, evoking a past with strong Greek influences.

The archaeological site covers a huge area, of which only a small part has been the object of archeological excavations: the ruins can now be visited, as are the two museums where the archeological discovers and reconstructions of the temple of Victory in Himera are located. Not far away, moreover, is the Oriented Natural Reserve of Monte San Calogero, rich in flora and fauna typical of the area, in addition to the traces of the hermits who in the past chose to spend their lives in the silence of this area totally immersed in nature.

In addition to the archaeological remains, the spas and the nature reserve, the area is also an important point of interest from the cultural point of view and the Sicilian traditions: the one of Termini Imerese is one of the oldest Carnivals in Italy, of which they were found written documents dating back to the late 1800s that testify to the perfect organization. The Sala La Barbera, which is located inside Palazzo del Comune of Termini Imerese, also represents an important artistic point of reference, thanks to the paintings housed in it, created by Vincenzo La Barbera, concerning the history and events of ancient Himera. The room represents one of the most important examples of Mannerist pictorial art in Sicily.

For those who like to discover new places, Termini Imerese and its peculiarities can be an option for those who want to expand their itinerary in the area of Palermo.

News

Protagonist of the architecture and history of Palermo between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, the Liberty style has strongly marked the characteristics of the city, leaving today several traces of its unique and elegant style.

Most of the villas and gardens of Palermo in Liberty and Art Nouveau style are open to visitors during certain periods of the year (such as for Le Vie dei Tesori), attracting citizens and tourists curious to relive, through the walls of the ancient noble houses, glimpses and moments of a bygone era. For years, however, the hypothesis of creating a real Art Nouveau Itinerary had been making its way, a project that today feels more real than ever: news of the last few days is in fact the one coming from the Regional Presidency, which announces the intention to finance the creation of the regional Liberty Museum of Villa Deliella and the itinerary with the same name.

This news has its important artistic and cultural significance, but not only: between the 1950s and 1960s the characteristics of Palermo were completely transformed due to building speculation, the so-called “Sacco di Palermo” (Sack of Palermo), which resulted in the destruction of many of the most emblematic Liberty villas of the city, including the aforementioned Villa Deliella, on whose land there is now a parking lot; the choice to recognize the importance of an architectural style that has profoundly marked the history and society of Sicily is therefore a clear signal of the desire to restore, as far as possible, the repeatedly violated beauty of a city that has seen during the Art Nouveau period its golden age.

Going to the first news on the project, the itinerary will connect the remains of Villa Deliella with the Villino Ida (which will be used as a museum entirely dedicated to the architect Ernesto Basile), the Villino Favaloro (which will become the seat of the Regional Museum of Photography) and the Villino Florio (inside which temporary thematic exhibitions will be organized). It will be therefore even more interesting and evocative to follow the footsteps of the great protagonists of the time, including Ernesto Basile himself, the Florio and Whitaker families, rediscovering the beauty and characteristics of a part of the city yet to be discovered, for those who visit the city of Palermo for the first time and also for its citizens.

News

The summer breeze is already in the air and the first hypotheses about the upcoming summer holidays are making their way and, thanks to the vaccination plan, the forecasts on the characteristics of the second summer since the beginning of the healt emergency are starting to take place.

As already foreseen, and as occurred for the last season, Sicily is again among the favorite locations, especially considering the chance of staying in rooms or apartments in locations with several attractions just a few km away from each others. Also from Sicily it will be possible to travel easily, thanks to the new airport routes recently inaugurated and the protective measures taken for those traveling, both departing and returning. An example is that of Palermo Airport, which from April 19th will provide a free antigen swab also for departing passengers: the passengers will just have to show the boarding pass and fill in the form (which can also be downloaded and filled in from home) to access the dedicated area, also accessible from the day before for those traveling on the first flight in the morning.

Still on the subject of air travel, the news of the opening, by Ryanair, of new routes from Palermo Airport, to Cagliari, Alghero, Seville, London, Krakow and other destinations, is in recent days, including the possibility to change your booking at no additional costs and twice for flights purchased by June 2021 departing until October 2021. Travel to London will also be possible with EasyJet, with 6 weekly flights to Luton, and to Germany with Eurowings, twice a week to Düsseldorf.

Compatibly with any updates on the current restrictions, in anticipation of the summer it will be possible to travel with vaccine certification or with a swab made at least 48 hours before, which becomes more and more usable and concrete, making us begin to breathe a little bit of summertime.

Gusti-Bus

Summer is coming and with it comes also one of the most loved vegetables in Sicily, the aubergines, which reach their maximum flavor during summer.

Speaking of aubergines, our Gustibus has to stop to one of the recipes where they are the absolute protagonists: the Caponata!

Appetizer or side dish typical of Sicilian tables, the Caponata is made of diced vegetables (mainly fried aubergines, capers, olives, celery) cooked in a thick and aromatic tomato sauce. The recipe of Caponata varies considerably from city to city. Today there are 37 variants, including the most refined ones with swordfish or apples.

Known already in the eighteenth century as a single dish paired with fresh or toasted bread, Caponata was the dish of the common people, given the simple and easily available ingredients: according to one of the legends on the origin of its name, in fact, the Caponata would not be other than the poorer version of a gurnard fish (capone in Italian) and vegetable soup very popular in the cookbook of the aristocrats of the time which, as well as for sardines a beccafico, took its name from the precious ingredient replaced with eggplant.

But there are of course other stories regarding the origin of the word “Caponata”! If for some the term derives from “Caponium”, meaning “osteria” in Latin, for others it derives instead from the Greek word “Capto”, meaning “cut”.

Whatever the origin of its name, the only thing that is certain is that caponata is one of the most loved Sicilian dishes, often served in the middle of the table ready to be shared. During a travel experience in Sicily, a taste of this amazing and unique dish cannot be missed, a real glimpse of all the history and tradition that characterize Sicily.

Bus tales

Made famous by the fiction “Màkari” aired on Italian television, we get to know Macari better, a small seaside town really close to the more famous San Vito Lo Capo.

Macari is studded with beaches and coves characterized by the blue of the sea and the green of an unspoiled nature and is an unmissable destination for those who want to discover the most authentic places and, of course, good food while visiting Sicily.

Although the town is very small, the name Macari refers to an entire side of the gulf, which is wild and breathtaking. It is in fact a crescent-shaped coast dotted with rocks from which coves, sheer cliffs and golden sandy beaches peek out, offering the possibility for sea lovers to choose between rocks, stones and sand, which are all located just a few meters away from each others – perfect for those who want to enjoy them all on the same day!

Among the places in the surroundings of Macari that should be visited, we cannot fail to mention the Cala del Bue Marino, with its sea characterized by ​​a thousand shades of green, blue and turquoise, the Caletta Rosa, whose name derives from the color of its flat rocks, and the Baia Santa Margherita, a beach where stretches of sand as far as the eye can see merge with the waves of the sea. As the names of the beaches and coves already suggest, color is one of the most important aspects of the landscape, especially during the spectacular sunsets on Monte Cofano and even on the Egadi Islands, on particularly clear days, where the red of the sun spreads on the shades of the sea.

Speaking of Macari it is impossible not to mention, moreover, the beaches of San Vito Lo Capo and the Zingaro Nature Reserve, ideal locations to enjoy completely the Sicilian sea, in locations of unique and unforgettable charm.

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.

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