Our Sicilian Adventure: Serene, Scenic, Special
By Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer
We had been to Sicily before and were bewitched and beguiled by the land, the people, the food, the atmosphere. We have been to a good many places around the world doing travel writing. Sicily, somehow, for us held a special charm. We vowed to return.
Now in the spring of 2017 we did return. Our very complete itinerary was created by a good friend, Paola Vasta, of Managing Director & Founder of VP Luxury Key. She arranged for a car and an excellent and pleasant driver through Ulisse Tour Operator, founded by three young women of Sicilian and Spanish origins. Their company plans and designs tours, vacation stays itineraries and experiences. With lots of stops along the way with our ten day plus writing trip, everything went quite seamlessly. So kudos to Paola and the ladies of Ulisse Tour Operator
BAGLIO SORIA WINE RESORT TRAPANI
First stop in the trip for us was the Baglio Soria Wine Resort in the Trapani area, an 11-room retreat. It is a very unique experience – the merger of nature, real. Sicilian landscape and a place where the past is felt but the present is very close to the surface.
Located in the middle of vineyards, fluttering birds, lots of sunshine, clean perfumed air, rolling hills and long horizons of olive trees and in the distance the sea.
One of the highlights of our visit was a special wine-tasting experience with a highly informed and enthusiastic young man named Luka, a sommelier who shared just the right information. He came to symbolize the charm, the character of the Baglio Soria Wine resort experience which then continued with a fabulous dinner with the owners Mrs. Irene Di Gaetano and Count Federico di Monte Jato
The meal was a gourmet delight and the company was charming and informed about their business and the way it works. The food was inventive, served in an elegant restaurant with fish and vegetables from the region and, of course, wine.
Unusual, located far from the maddening crowd out in the true Sicilian countryside, Baglio Soria Wine Resort exemplified Italian hospitality – -wine, food, pleasant company and fabulous hospitality. GO THERE!
Contrada Soria, 91100 Trapani TP, Italy +39 0923 861679
ALBA PALACE IN AGRIGENTO
After an informative and picturesque walking tour to the Agrigento Greek Temples, which belongs to UNESCO Heritage, we enjoyed a truly Sicilian lunch at Terracotta Restaurant which is uniquely housed inside a unique and fabulous Church in the city centre of Agrigento.
The first 40-star hotel Alba Palace in Favara is just 7 kilometres from Agrigento and the Valle dei Templi. Named for its owner Antonio Alba and supervised by General Manager Marta Agro, the property fuses modernity and tradition in a restored 19th century building that once was a palace.
The 20 large rooms and suites are spread over the first and second floors and are custom interior designed with a blend of traditional and contemporary materials including oak and sheet metal.
At Alba Palace luxury suites, tasty dishes of the best gourmet cuisine combined with the excellent labels of their wine cellar are all there for any traveler to enjoy.The restaurant, Le Traveggole, is included in the La Repubblica’s Guide to Sicily for its fresh, exciting and original interpretation of Sicilian cuisine of chef Salvatore Tortorici.
Via Belmonte, 21 92026 Favara (Ag)
Tel. +39 0922.437146 E- firstname.lastname@example.org
Marzipan – Museum of the Sicilian Almond. intent to promote excellence in the Sicilian food and agriculture sectors, has dedicated an area to the Museum of Almonds in Sicily.
The visitor finds out about the history of the almond – with over 200 varieties unique to Sicily. How it is harvested and processed, through to its culinary uses both sweet and savoury, and will have the opportunity to observe some of the antique tools used in the various processing stages. The museums’s aim is to introduce the visitor to the beauty, history quality of the Sicilian almond.
MASSERIA DELLA VOLPE Hotel
Marco Riflettivo, General Manager – Masseria della Volpe – Noto
Everything about this special place plays bigger than it is. There are 15 acres with all kinds of appealing growth, almonds, grapes, oranges even palm trees and vegetable gardens on the verdant, rolling, dramatic land. The number of rooms is listed at 22. Yet it seems there are more.
The Masseria della Volpe is named for the foxes who once upon a time roamed free on this spectacular property.
Receipient of a four star rating, that too seems to minimize what exists. The entire operation plays big and should have five stars. Even the swimming pool has bragging rights to bigness.
Established in 2015, a small luxury boutique hotel located in a a seamlessly restored historic farmhouse, Masseria della Volpe is anchored in an idyllic, almost heavenly setting.offers exclusive accommodation, fabulous services and amenities, and fine cuisine in an idyllic rural setting.
Healthy Mediterranean cuisine is served in the comfortable, elegant restaurant or weather permitting al fresco on the terrace. Masseria della Volpe’s award-winning chef creates delicious menus modeled after r-imagined versions of time-honoured Sicilian recipes.
Just a short drive from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Noto, the facilities at the incredible boutique hotel include a range of spa services, a large outdoor pool, a tennis court.
A PLACE TO GO OUT OF YOUR WAY FOR Masseria della Volpe Contrada Casale sn 96017 Noto, Sicilia, Italia T. +39 09126.96.36.199 | email@example.com
ORTEA LUXURY PALACE HOTEL
There was some time spent going around the fabled city of Siracuse and then a unique experience at a splendid and unique property just about to open, the Ortea Luxury Palace Hotel. There we met up with a good friend from the past, Patrizia Torri, now General Manager of what is destined to be a very famous and successful hotel.
Massimo Papa, Front Office Manager, Patrizia Torri, Myrna Frommer, Paola Vasta
An elegant building, Art Nouveau designed in 1920 by architect Fichera with works of the sculptor Florio, formerly a Post Office, the structure underwent five years of renovation and restoration. Located in the historic centre of the city, the hotel showcases 75 elegant and stylish guest rooms,
We enjoyed a hosted lunch with the owner, management team members and made a mental note that we want to return. After all we claimed a record – the first “guests”who had the distinction of being the first to dine at what will be a legendary hotel.
Go here: http://www.orteapalace.com/index.php?lang=it
We overnighted at the five star luxe hotel in Catania on our last night in Sicily. Our arrival was late and our departure was early so we did not get to experience much of the prestigious property.However, what we experienced was first class.
Dating back to 2004, the Romano Palace is the first and the only five-star luxury hotel in Catania. A mix of baroque details and precious furniture with modern amenities and comforts, it has 104 rooms and something for everyone. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Travel Bytes: SICILIA OUTLET VILLAGE (http://www.siciliaoutletvillage.com/en) is a good stop off for all kinds of designer bargains.
About the Frommers
The Frommers are a wife and husband team who successfully bridge the worlds of popular culture and traditional scholarship. They are the authors of five six critically-acclaimed oral histories (It Happened in the Catskills; It Happened in Brooklyn; Growing Up Jewish in America; It Happened on Broadway; It Happened in Manhattan; It Happened in Miami and It Happened in Israel, 2018). They are professors at Dartmouth College going into their third decade where they teach oral history. Their many travel articles have appeared in such outlets as The New York Times, Newsday, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Redbook, Golf Digest, International Herald Tribune, USA Today, Washington Post, Haaretz, Caribbean Travel and Life and many Internet sites.
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