Two years ago I went for a week in Sicily, known as the garden of the Mediterranean. Located at the southern tip of Italy with all those wild stories you hear about it, I was quite curios and happy to go there. What I immediately found striking was that Sicily it’s more than just an island, it’s a huge island where bits and pieces of Europe, Africa and Asia are blended into one of the world’s first multicultural societies. It’s a unique place full of art and archaeology, history and breathtaking scenery. The fabulous mixture displayed in Greek amphitheaters, temples, Roman villas, Arab mosques and gardens, Norman cathedrals, Renaissance palaces, Baroque churches – more than 30 centuries of culture. Not to my surprise I could see signs of several towns like Piana degli Albanesi that was founded or repopulated by the Albanians in 1488. These “Arbereshe” communities still exist today and some of these agricultural sites are distinguished for wine tasting and recreational activities.
Since happened to be in Palermo, I also visited the little coastal town, Cefalú. Its breathtaking rocky seaside along that charming little town made it quite interesting place to spend the day. Special were the little restaurants, souvenir shops, the delicious food and of course “La Grande Famiglia”gatherings. That was fun, when we had to squeeze ourselves in a tiny corner once the entire restaurant was “invaded” by 30 people part of a family celebration for a 1-year-old birthday boy. It was great to observe, as Sicilians are known to be unbeatable for their body language. As D.H. Lawrence writes about Sicilians in Sea and Sardinia “They pour themselves one over the other like so much melted butter over parsnips.”