Sicilian lemons are the best in the world, large, and juicy, nine out of ten lemons produced in Italy actually come from Sicily. Indeed, in the Province of Messina the production of lemons even exceeds that of the more famous oranges. The climate means a long growing season and the gathering of lemons takes place over three distinct periods. First is the autumn harvest or ‘primo fiore’, followed by the cultivation of the ‘bianchetti’ in Spring and the ‘verdelli’ between June and July. The most common variety of lemon is the ‘femminello’ which also has its own strains, some with seeds some without. Of the other types, lemon enthusiasts might like to take a closer look at the ‘monachello’, the ‘interdonato’ and the ‘femminello S.Teresa’. Sicilian Oranges are the most famous in the world and the most exported from Italy. They are rich in vitamin C and can be eaten or squeezed to make juice. Sicilian oranges are good for you and as any Italian doctor recommends: eat three oranges a day and you will not have the flu!
Accommodation: Farmhouse 3* superior
The Tank is a restored an old winery of 1834 located in the municipality of Adrano in contrada Scolaro locations Cistern at the foot of Mount Etna – Heritage site – only 20 minutes from the main crater.Twenty hectares of land at 1,000 meters above sea level, among flourishing orchards and a magnificent forest of oaks and chestnut trees right in the heart of Etna. Its geographical location makes it the best starting point to quickly reach the most famous tourist resorts of eastern Sicily, but also the arrival point for those who are looking for attentive hospitality and genuine. The Tank is the ideal place for a relaxing holiday, the contact with nature, away from the smog and noise of everyday. The Tank has 4 apartments and 6 double bedrooms with 1 triple and 1 quadruple, equipped with every comfort: private bathroom with shower, hairdryer, mini-bar, TV and wi-fi in common areas.The property also features a beautiful outdoor pool (June to September) with several areas furnished with sun beds and umbrellas, free wi-fi, services, showers and bar where you can sip aperitifs excellent ice creams and sorbets, for the most small slides and swings, bowling alley, soccer field, parking.Possibility to book excursions to Mount Etna and visits to the main Sicilian resorts, also transfers to and from Catania’s Fontanarossa airport, car rental upon reservation.
Rate per person- minimum 2 pax
3 days / 2 nights) + b&b service
Car rental – 3 days ( with full insurance included)
*** *** Single room supplement + € 20,00
***Prices may vary depending on the season.
WHAT TO SEE: Lentini
Adrano-Lentini : 55 Km – 56 min
The city was originally founded by colonists from Naxos as Leontini in 729 BC, which in its beginnings was a Chalcidian colony established five years earlier.It is virtually the only Greek settlement in Sicily that is not located on the coast, founded around 6 miles inland. The site, originally held by the Sicels, was seized by the Greeks owing to their command on the fertile plain in the north. The city was reduced to subject status in 494 BC by Hippocrates of Gela, who made his ally Aenesidemus its tyrant. In 476 BC, Hieron of Syracuse moved the inhabitants from Catana and Naxos to Leontini. Later on, the city of Leontini regained its independence. However, as a part of the inhabitants efforts to retain their independence, they invoked more than once the interventions of Athens. It was mainly the eloquence of Gorgias of Leontini which led to the abortive Athenian expedition of 427 BC. In 422 BC, the Greek city-state of Syracuse supported the oligarchs against the people and received them as citizens, Leontini itself being forsaken. This led to a renewed Athenian intervention. Initially as a diplomatic one, the exiles of Leontini joined the envoys of Segesta in persuading Athens to undertake the great Sicilian Expedition of 415 BC.After the failure of the Expedition, Leontini became subject to Syracuse once more. The city’s independence was guaranteed by the treaty of 405 BC between Dionysius and the Carthaginians, but it was soon lost again. The city was finally stormed by Marcus Claudius Marcellus in 214 BC.In Roman times it seems to have been of small importance. It was destroyed by the Saracens in 847 AD, and almost completely ruined by the earthquake of 1693. Until the middle of the 20th century, Lentini was regarded by travellers as a malarial stopover to Syracuse of minor historical importance. The ancient city is described by Polybius as lying in a valley between two hills, and facing north. On the western side of this valley there was a river flowing with a row of houses on its western bank below the hill. At each end was a gate, the northern gate leading to the plain, the southern, at the upper end, leading to Syracuse. On each side of the valley there was an acropolis, lying between precipitous hills with flat tops, over which buildings extended. The eastern hill still has the remains of a strongly fortified medieval castle, in which some writers are inclined (though wrongly) to recognize portions of the Greek masonry.Excavations were made in 1899 in one of the ravines in a Sicel necropolis of the third period; explorations in the various Greek cemeteries resulted in the discovery of some fine bronzes, notably a lebes.Lentini’s economy is mainly based on agriculture, and less remarkably on woodcraft and handicraft production.
Once women are concerned with the preparation of the bread: they bring it to the bakery for having it baked in stone oven fueled by wood.The bread, when baked, was shared with the owner of the bakery in payment for his work.Today the dough is made with semolina flour, durum wheat, salt and water. The yeast used is that of beer, although many bakers are returning to the so-called “crescenza”.The dough rests for an hour or two, depending on the season and the amount of yeast used. The breads are all about half a kilo and are molded in the shape of “S” and sprinkled on the surface with sesame seeds. Cooking, about forty-five minutes, occurs in stone ovens fueled by wood.The bread Lentini is characterized by its compact soft foam with small, thin, soft crust.The bread of Lentini, produced accordingly to tradition, is a Slow Food Presidium, thus among the products of excellence that the artisanal food movement is committed to safeguard and promote.The strict rules of production include the use of durum wheat semolina variety of regional production in Sicily, water, sea salt and the exclusive use of “crescenza” the end of a trial period during which the small percentage of beer yeast used as starter still will gradually decrease.The result will be a slow-rising bread even more rich in flavors and fragrances, and more digestible for longer, improving further the characteristics of a product already appreciated by consumers.
Adrano-Mineo : 80Km – 1h 20 min
The town of Mineo is in south-eastern Sicily, between Gela (on the coast to the south-west) and Catania (on the coast to the north-east) and north of Vizzini.In Mineo old town there are several churches and public and private buildings of great historical and artistic value. We start our tour with the churches of Vineo before describing some of the other places of interest.
Church of S. Maria Maggior
Among the religious buildings of Mineo it is the Church of S. Maria Maggiore, thought to date originally from the first half of the third century AD, that stands out. Damaged by several earthquakes and later rebuilt, it has a Latin cross plan and three naves separated by columns salvaged from an earlier pagan temple.
The façade, with three architectural orders, is particularly interesting:
the first part is divided by four pilasters with Doric capitals and three entrances;
the second has Ionic capitals, a window in the centre and two niches at the sides and (above the window) the coat of arms of the Buglio family, who restored the church after the earthquake in the 16th century;
the third level has three arches separated by Corinthian pilasters with capitals. At the top is a big sun in memory of the original pagan temple.
Also in the facade there is an ancient portal that once belonged to the castle of Ducetius.Inside the church there are several works of interest such as a 16th century stone baptismal font, an alabaster statue depicting the “Queen of Angels” (11th century), a marble sink by Girolamo Mazzola (1500-1569), and various paintings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.In Mineo you can taste local products such as blood oranges, black olives and white cheese, ricotta, and snails, a typical dish of the city.
Grammichele (Sicilian: Grammicheli, Greek: Echetle (meaning “plowshare”); Latin: Echetla, Ochula; Medieval: Occhiolà) is a town and comune in the province of Catania in Sicily, southern Italy. It is located at the feet of the Hyblaean Mountains, some 13 kilometres (8 mi) from Caltagirone.The town was built in 1693, after the destruction by an earthquake of the old town of Occhialà, located to the north of the modern Grammichele. Occhialà, which, on account of the similarity of name, is generally identified with Echetla, a frontier city between Syracusan and Carthaginian territory in the time of Hiero II, and which appears to have been originally a Sicel city in which Greek civilization prevailed from the 5th century onwards. Being laid out on a hexagonal street plan, it is one of several Val di Noto towns with distinctive layouts.On July 15, 1943, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division fought its first battle against German troops during the Battle of Sicily at Grammichele. The name of the town was later granted as a Battle Honour to three regiments of the Canadian Forces.
The city of Caltagirone is one of the most interesting inland Sicilian destinations. Perched on three different hills which boast of stunning views of the valley below, it became famous for the quality and sophistication of its ceramics. Caltagirone is developing into a major tourist destination, able to attract many visitors throughout the year. The famous staircase “La Scalinata”, the nativity scenes, the patronal feast of St. James, the Baroque heritage of Unesco, are more than good reasons to get to know this vibrant city in the province of Catania.
WHAT TO SEE IN CALTAGIRONE
– Scala di Santa Maria del Monte
– The Cathedral
– The Basilica of St. James
– The Church of Santa Maria del Monte
– Villa Patti
La Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, or simply the Steps of Caltagirone “La Scalinata”, is the most famous site of the city: it was built in 1608 to join the upper and the lower part of the city. In 1953, the 142 steps that constitute it were completely rebuilt in lava stone and were elaborately decorated with hand-painted works from local craftsmen. The visual effect is stunning. The Staircase is often used during performances or cultural events to create color, using floral designs, or in the evening, lit by a variety of different colors. Along the steps there are numerous craft shops, where the prized ceramics are created using the craftsmanship of long ago.There are also bars and well cared for local places, attracting the attention of families and young people that in the evening stroll through the city streets.
THE MUSEUMS IN CALTAGIRONE
The Museum of Ceramics, located near the Teatrino, is easily accessible from Via Roma. It was inaugurated in 1965, the second of its kind only to that of Faenza. In it is the well-illustrated five thousand year history of ceramics in Sicily, with particular reference to local works.The museum is divided into three sections, each referring to a particular historical period. The first preserves pottery from prehistoric times until the Roman period. The second section, however, in addition to artifacts from the medieval period, also presents models of furnaces used in the past.The final section contains works in modern times, with particular emphasis on the ceramics of Caltagirone.AlphaThe Civic Museum is located near in the former Bourbon prison, in Via Roma. In the archeological and historical sections, finds dating back to prehistoric times are preserved, as well as old Greek-Roman coins and medieval sculptures.The gallery contains beautiful paintings from the years prior to the earthquake to the present day.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF CALTAGIRONE
Caltagirone is definitely one of the oldest cities in Sicily, evident by numerous archaeological finds dating back to prehistoric times. The period of greatest prosperity came with the Normans, with the Arab defeat in 1030: the troops of King Roger were able to conquer the mighty castle, now completely gone; Caltagirone quickly became a reference point for the entire eastern hinterland of Sicily. The trades and crafts, driven by the production of ceramics, were able to increase the socio-economic growth of the city for several centuries.It was the violent earthquake of 1693 that halted the development of Caltagirone: entire neighborhoods were destroyed, and only with the patience and the skill of the population were they able to resurrect the city, in its clear Baroque style, that today, makes it stand apart. It is the birthplace of Don Luigi Sturzo, an Italian politician, prominent in the first half of the twentieth century, and founder of the Italian Popular Party. After suffering a massive emigration in the years after World War II, Caltagirone is clearly emerging as a touristic and cultural city
CALTAGIRONE BY NIGHT
You will certainly enjoy spending a night in Caltagirone: the city has a good number of bars and restaurants to either get a pizza or enjoy a dinner of typical Sicilian delights.Especially on weekends, Caltagirone is quite animated; children from neighboring counties choose the old town and the Spanish Steps as a meeting place for the evening.Its geographical location also makes it attractive as a starting point to other places of interest in eastern Sicily.
The cassatella is in a sense a mini version of the baked cassata, but with some important differences. It is a single-portion pastry and it is fried and not baked. For the rest here too we find the shortbread, flavored with the addition of a little wine, and, of course, the cream cheese.
No Sicilian holiday can be complete if you do not taste the cannoli, among the most famous traditional Italian pastries in the world. The name comes from the fact that originally, to shape the waffle, the dough was rolled around a cane. As for the cassata, this is a very old recipe that some say dates back to Roman times. In the Middle Ages it was produced by the Arabs and finally perfected by the nuns. At the beginning the cannoli were a typical dessert of the Carnival season, now it is prepared throughout the year. Among the most famous cannoli, also for their remarkable size, there are those of Piana degli.
La riviera dei ciclopi: i borghi marinari e il mito
Acitrezza is a small and picturesque fishing village in Catania. Its charm lies in the stunning natural landscape that you cannot easily forget. It seems to be catapulted into an ancient world full of tradition. Walk down the road to the harbour with small boats to see the traditional fishermen’s boats.Acitrezza was founded in the 17th century at the behest of Prince Campofiorito Don Stefano Riggio who belonged to the House of Etna, and for years has been an active center of fishermen. You can easily reach it from Catania in 20 minutes by the bus AMT (line 534), the price of the ticket is about €1.30. The bus also passes through another beautiful village called Acicastello. The bus leaves from Piazza Falcone e Borsellino,but also from other parts of the city.
The Island of Cyclops is the most attractive part of Acitrezza. It is an archipelago of rocks, which is right in front of the village. The stacks are related to two legends:
The first legend says that Polyphemus, the Cyclops, fell in love with Galatea, but his love was unrequited because Galatea loved the shepherd Acis. Blinded by jealousy, Polyphemus killed Acis throwing the rock. The rock formed the Island of Lachea and Acis turned into a river.
The second legend says that when Ulysses reached the island with his fleet was imprisoned by Polyphemus. Ulysses managed to escape thanks to a gimmick and he blinded Polyphemus which hurled the boulders.
The main rocks are Faraglione Grande, Faraglione di Mezzo e degli Uccelli. Then, there is the beautiful Island of Lachea. If you visit Catania in summer, I recommend you to spend the day
For all literature lovers, if you know the novelist Giovanni Verga visit Casa del Nespolo, the Civic Museum located in Via Arciprete Salvatore De Maria, 15. The admission price is about €1.50. Here you can see photos and testimonials of the masterpiece “La Terra trema”, written by Luchino Visconti, and other testimonials of the 19th century Acitrezza world. There is also a collection of tools, furnishings and photos belonging to Giovanni Verga.
If you are in Catania from June 23 to 25 enjoy the feast of San Giovanni Battista, the patron saint invocated by fishermen who want to be protected when they are at sea. During the feast fishermen decorate their boats and stage the pantomime of the capture of the swordfish, named U pisci a mari. This feast, which represents the comparison between the man and the sea, the fisherman and his pret, is one of the most important feasts in Sicily.