Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dad's Day in Italy

This morning when I opened Facebook I read so many post on my friends' walls dedicated to their fathers. I was nicely impressed, it seems that family is still important in everybody's life.

Dad's day used to be a great celebration when I was a little child, at school they made us prepare a little gift for our dads, I was always thrilled by the moment when my dad, back from work in the evening, would have opened it and said how lovely it was, but I was always secretly producing my personal version of dad's gift to give to him afterwards and enjoy his surprise, that one was the one most appreciated!
Then for a while the celebration was moved to the first of May, celebrating in conjunction with Labour's Day, but I wanted a special day to celebrate my dad! Eventually, it came back on the 19th of March, but time passed and I was not anymore producing a gift at school. I miss that age, because I miss my dad.

Every dad is special but mine, was SO special. I adored him, this photo is probably the second photo I took in my life, he was in the garden of the house in Sicily, near the succulents corner he created that is not anymore there, with Tell, the English setter he really adored. I remember him worrying that the dog was in the shot.

He taught me to think out of the box when a teacher was imposing her point of view, he taught me to speak with people listening to what they have to say, he taught me to love animals, the great passion of his life. He taught me that honesty is the most important thing to pursue in life. He taught me to enjoy the beauty of nature, to appreciate art, to read a lot because we never stop learning.He taught me to love chocolate...
I miss him so much.

Happy Dad's day wherever you are

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

West of Sicily: Marsala

There are so many bits and bobs I've started to write down in the past months and haven't go time to finished...

As usual I'm celebrating my adored Sicily. Why mine? I can proudly say that a quarter of my blood is Sicilian.

Last September we spent a holiday in Sicily,  we visited the western part, landing in Trapani airport where we rent a car and traveled around. If you want to visit Sicily, unless you are staying in a big city, bear in mind that you need a car, distances are not so enormous but there are not good connections. Trapani airport is a small one, we queued for a while but not due to the personnel of the rent a car but due to disorganized customers. Coming back there were severe controls on the weight of the hand luggage, so be careful not to buy too many things, otherwise you have to leave them there. The civil airport shares the runway with the military one, recently quite busy, if there is a little delay the risk is that it takes longer due to closure of the flying zone.

Marsala Chiesa Madre from via Vaccari (B&B Il Profumo del Sale)
Firstly we stopped in Marsala for few days, I've been pleasantly surprised by that lively and elegant town, located in the extreme western bit of Sicily. In Marsala we stayed in a lovely B&B Il Profumo del Sale, right in the town centre, few steps away from the Cathedral square, near the "circolo" strictly for men only, where everyday I always spotted an elegant  and old man reading the newspaper. He looked like Il Gattopardo.
The owner of the B&B, Celsa is an active lady from the North of Italy who chose to live in Sicily, she used to run a restaurant so you will never be disappointed by the breakfast she prepares. Follow her precious suggestions for itineraries, she knows the area and what is worth visiting.

Marsala enoteca Sirena Ubriaca: the best aperitif

Marsala San Lorenzo Osteria

We tried all the nice restaurants in town, avoiding those that offer touristic menu,  worth to mention for a very good service and good food and very nice cosy atmosphere is San Lorenzo Osteria. If  you'd rather have an aperitif, stop at La Sirena Ubriaca try a tasting of Marsala wines and you won't be disappointed, meanwhile enjoy the "struscio" (a real ritual in that town!), much better that the more than packed Mercato del pesce, which is a proper fish market in the morning and in the evening becomes the heart of the local movida.
Marsala "struscio" at Porta Garibaldi
Marsala fish market by night
A must do visit is the Cantine Florio, a journey through the history of Sicily, of wine production and of a great family, the Florio. But this is a long story and I will talk about it in another post...

See you soon
Marsala fish market during the day