An Ionian seaside town, Avola is a mix of old and new. The town focuses heavily on the sea, with its history as a tuna fishing port. Today, the remains of the Vecchia Tonnara at the wharf are a stone backdrop to the sandy beaches. Avola dates back to a pre-Greek people called the Sicani.…
The largest of italian islands, seeking for independence and great place of landscapes – it is a gift of God! My 8 days of discovering northern part of Sicily was just not enough! 🙂
So here is how it started!
Prior landing to Palermo Airport, we flew over crater of Etna – 3,323 m high volcano that is still active. Apparently it has long and even mythological history: Aetna was the mother of Zeus of the Palikoi, gods of geysers and hot-water springs. The giant Typhoeus or Enkelados (Enceladus) was buried beneath the bulk of the vulcano. His restless turnings were the cause of earthquakes and lava-flows.
Travelling through the islands I admired the agriculture, fields, wineyards, smells of nature and tame villages! Everywhere we go, there were yellow flowers called mimosis!
Being there I was eager to try some of their wines. Sicily has more vineyards than any other region in Italy; it also grows more grapes. Indeed, this island is blessed with the climate and great rows of wineyards. I tried Malvasia and Perricone. 🙂
The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the island dates from as early as 12,000 BC. By around 750 BC, Sicily had three Phoenician and a dozen Greek colonies and, for the next 600 years, it was the site of the Sicilian Wars and the Punic Wars, which ended with the Roman Republic’s destruction of Carthage at the battle of Carthage in 2nd century.
We visited Segesta: originally one of the major cities of the Elymian people, one of the three indigenous peoples of Sicily, but later a Greek colony. There can be found a doric temple of Segesta and amphitheater. It is said, wherever the Greeks builded the temple as a place of worshipping – it must have been a speacial place to do so. Unfortunately, the city was destroyed by Vandals, like almost every ancient city of Europe of that time.
Then there was Trapani! Founded by the mentioned Elymians, the city is still an important fishing port and the main gateway to the nearby Egadi Islands. In ancient times, Saturn was the god-protector of Trapani. Today, Saturn’s statue stands in a piazza in the centre of the city.
From Trapani up to the hill is the old city of Erice. There are two castles that remain in the city: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, and the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped.
In Alcamo we had canoli – typical sweet sicilian dolci. Too sweet if you ask me, but it was a worth to try by visiting typical gelateria and buying some local products.
That night we decided to scroll down the bar and try italian liquors. 🙂 Digestivos are alcoholic drinks infused with herbs or aromas such as limoncello, fragolino (strawberry liquor), maraschino (cherry liquor) or nocino (nut liquor).
My night-out finished at 5 am, watching the sun rise over the nearby city Castellamare del Golfo and admiring this beautiful island. 🙂 There was something so special about it.