There is a special place in Sicily, where I never tire of return. Is the polar opposite compared to my Messina, and is the area bounded by the salt road, connecting Trapani to Marsala. A unique natural and cultural landscape where salt draws a fine line that joins the land to sea. A calm sea, closed from islands in a sort of lagoon inhabited since remote times, first by the elymians, then by the Phoenicians and the Greeks. The first thing that strikes those who choose to take this route are the colors: the yellow stones, the blue sea, the green Mediterranean vegetation and the white salt. Trapani and Marsala are Windy City, where the air smells and smells different from the rest of Sicily. Both are first seaside town, of fishermen, but here we must never forget that just a few kilometres from the coasts and beaches there are cultivated fields (vineyards and fruit and vegetables) and farms. Here grow garlic by Nubia, melons “gialletti” Paceco, the watermelons, they produce the oil Dop Valli trapanesi, Marsala wine, the Doc Erice.
I suggest you start your journey fromTRAPANI, the city of salt, sailing and wind. Before you go in the streets of the historic center, completely pedestrianised, take a tour of the Harbor area with brightly coloured vessels and imposing buildings like the Tower of Ligny, La Colombaia, Il Villino Nasi. From all these points above the sea, wait for the sunset with its myriad shades of color that lights up the city. Before diving through the narrow streets of the historic center, stop at the ice cream shop Ciuri Ciuri (via Ammiraglio Staiti 73), on the boardwalk in front of the boarding point to Egadi Islands, or the ice cream shop Liparoti for a good granita with Pistachio and almond.
Get your walk along the main street, Via Vittorio Emanuele, overlooked by the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, with its Baroque façade and rich of arches, He cherishes a painting attributed to Van Dyck (the crucifixion), and the beautiful Baroque building of the Church and the Jesuit College. Don't miss the 14th century Church of Saint Augustine, piazzetta Saturno, and the Church of purgatory, that contains the 20 sacred groups of mysteries, the famous procession held during Holy week.
If you like the Sicilian baroque, Please also visit the Church of Santa Rita and St Peter's Church (throughout Italy). The Center is rich in historic buildings: Nicholas Palace Burgio in via seven sorrows, Chiaramonte-style, but also the seat of the City Council, Palazzo Cavarretta, with its Baroque façade. The narrow streets of the historic center, you will find many antique shops, Jewelry handcrafted of wrought iron and coral.
For a sweet break, I suggest you stop by strong>Chocolate Ferlito (in via Turretta) to test the cassatelle di ricotta cheese and the Genoese Erice, topped with lemon cream, to taste strictly warm. For a savoury break, Choose the arancine of “Ke balls, arancine d'Autore“, along the via Garibaldi, made with Carnaroli rice in at least 15 stuffings. Finally, at sunset, take a walk along the mura di Tramontana, to admire the colors of the Sun and the sea. I'm used’ one of the most beautiful views of the city.
WHERE TO EAT IN TRAPANI: If you want to taste the flavors, try the Trattoria Khanna. I'm used’ a very small, so book. A no-frills eatery, that is part of the circuit of Slow Food, run with passion by Pino Greater. Among the starters, products of tonnara (10 euro), raw prawns (8 euro), marinated fish (10 euro), them sardines (6 euro); among the first courses: the fish cous cous (15 euros), the busiate al pesto trapanese (12 euros), pasta with sardines (10 euro), tuna pasta with eggs and almonds (12 euros); the latter are traditional style fish ranging from 10 to 18 euros. The price is cheap, the portions are generous and well executed dishes, but leave a little presentation and service’ to be desired. We say that it is a substance, He doesn't care much to aesthetics…
Leaving Trapani, from the port take the provincial route leading to Marsala (the County Road 21: the salt road), avoiding taking Hwy 113, passing farther from the coast. Stop in Nubia in buying red garlic (Slow food) and then stop for lunch at Saline Culcasi.
Here you can dine at the Trattoria del Sale, inside an old mill that you can visit. The dishes are traditional: from tuna products (mojama, lattume, heart, tuna fish rolls, ROE) until busiate alla trapanese (with garlic, almonds and tomato) or seasoned with various types of fish and Roe. The salt pan there are beautiful views to photograph.
WHERE TO STAY IN TRAPANI: Trapani is a bustling and chaotic night, and I love the peace and quiet that I chose a place in the country, the Baglio Soria, resort of the winery Firriato. Salvatore Di Gaetano and his wife Vinzia Novara have restored a beam in the midst of 110 hectares of vineyards and olive groves, where everything revolves around wine, in what is a real ' wine experience '. The rooms are spacious and quiet, well appointed, and carried out respecting the original structure. The baglio del 1600 watch Egadi and Lake Paceco and preserves its charm thanks to a careful restoration and sensitive. Here I found a pool surrounded by Agave, a wine bar, one shop, a tasting room, a sky lounge. And a restaurant level realized by keeping inside the ancient millstone. In the resort, You can make several wine tasting experiences Firriato, with the help of young and competent sommelier: an opportunity to learn more about the elegant bubbles brut Saint Germain; the amazing Favinia The Muciara, a white from cricket, Catarratto and Zibibbo, that is the first wine from its vineyards in Favignana produces Firriato, that impresses with its strong citrus and floral scents and salinity; the curious Jasmin, made from Zibibbo grapes; the lavish Harmonium, a Nero d'Avola top that Sicily can boast, and the excellent Ecru, a raisin wine with intense aromas of honey and apricot, a wine never cloying and delicate to be discovered.
In the kitchen, the chef Gaetano Basir gives its best playing the Sicilian fish dishes, using raw materials of excellence, with some flicker of imagination: It is definitely worth tasting his creations, where triumph the great products of my Sicily and I refer you here for full review of local.
LE SALINE: And here we are at last at the wonderful set of Stagnone of Marsala, which includes several saline, the long island and an archipelago of small islands including Mozia. Many disused salt pans are, whereas in others it still works and the salt is harvested mechanically. In Saline Ettore e Infersa, Instead, everything is done again as once: from sea water salt is born, that matures slowly. The workers collect by hand, using an ancient tradition unchanged until today. Among the many experiences you can do, I suggest the guided walk along the salt marshes: look at everything carefully and hold in the eye the windmills, the foam of salt that is lifted into the air, the crystals that form along the edges of stone tubs, water colors. Then, by boat (Departures every 30 minutes), go around the lagoon and try look the way, now underwater, two kilometers long and seven wide, that the Phoenicians built to connect Motya to the Mainland. A blast from the past.
MOZIA is a private island, owned by the Whitaker Foundation: people come here to admire and learn about the archaeological remains found by the English scholar Joseph Whitaker, who first made the excavations on the Phoenician island. In the Museum, between amphoras and precious artefacts, the statue of “Giovinetto di Mozia”. On the island, even experimental crops of vineyards: Here the company Tasca d'almerita produces a white wine: the “Cricket” Mozia. The whole complex of saline, natural reserve, is a magical place to take pictures. The best time is just before sunset, When the tanks are taking amazing colors. I'm used, If you're lucky, You can also admire the flamingos strolling in the water.
From a height of 750 metres high, with a historic center of just 512 inhabitants, ERICE is one of the most beautiful villages of Sicily. Of ancient origins, It was founded by the Elymians and is home to the Centre for scientific culture Ettore Maiorana. Known in antiquity as town of a hundred churches and convents, is dominated by the Norman castle, the castle of Venus, looking towards Mount Hood. You can visit the Cathedral of the assumption, with the treasure and a bell tower which offers a unique view over the Egadi and on Drills, St Peter's Church and the Palazzo Chiaramonte (Convent of San Domenico).
Stroll along the streets in cobblestones and peek in the courtyards of stone houses. If you get hungry, I suggest two stops rolling. The first, in pastry Maria Grammatico, to taste the morsels of Erice, made with marzipan and Cedar, then the fried ravioli with ricotta cheeses the. The second stop is the laboratory of blueview (in via San Domenico) that, in my opinion, does the best ever from Erice genovesi. But you will also find a selection of sweets in Opatija.
In the countryside of Erice in contrada Fulgatore, Don't miss a visit to the Winery Fazio. Led by brothers Vincenzo and Mimmo, together with Roberta Zaccarioni and Lilly Irons, This company produces wines of Doc Erice, that is one of the most important promoters and custodians, and the wines of Doc Sicilia, large regional denomination that is growing rapidly. A family very committed to enhancing indigenous productions, as Cricket, Catarratto, Ickes, Zibibbo, but also to invest in other territories or international varietals such as Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Integrated viticulture and sustainability are the guiding principles of Fazio. Among the wines that I would suggest: Sacred Stone from Catarratto, an elegant white by the great scents coming from the vineyards of approximately 60 years; a Chardonnay, Doc Erice, great flavor and mineralià; and a sweet wine, called “KY”, late harvest made from Zibibbo.
Continuing along the salt road you will arrive at MARSALA, founded by the Arabs and known mainly for Marsala wine and for the landing of Thousands of Garibaldi, in the Risorgimento. I'm used’ a little gem, Why is kissed by luck from the naturalistic point of view: stands on Capo Boeo and watch the Egadi Islands and the islands of the lagoon. Was once surrounded by walls and guarded by four doors: Today there are two, Porta Nuova and Porta Garibaldi.
The architectural style of Marsala is clearly Baroque style. After the mother church, along the course “11TH may”, the most beautiful church is the Church of purgatory. Please also visit the Church of our Lady of sorrows and the Carmelite Church. Here too there are palaces, they are Grand and opulent: Palazzo Fici, Palace Gates and Salem-Burgio. Visit Archaeological Museum “Baglio Anselmi”, overlooking Capo Boeo, but I advise you to inform you in advance to find out if the renovations are finished. On my trip in August 2016, due to the closure of some areas of the Museum I couldn't admire the grotta della Sibilla and the Punic ship. For wine lovers, Marsala is the place. There are many wineries, producing Marsala but also great Sicilian wines: Florio, Martinez, Rallo, Mineo, Pilgrim, Alagna, De Bartoli, Caruso and Minini.
In Marsala, the nightlife is particularly lively. Between 14 and 17, you will find only open pubs and some café-bar. Take the opportunity to try the ice cream of Saeed or that of Gelateria del Cassaro. If, Instead, do you prefer salty, enjoy bread and cake, or the classic pizza rianata (with oregano) in small kiosk which is located inside the old Market. A gathering place that in the morning is a rowdy fish market and of tuna products, and in the evening turns into the Centre of nightlife.
At breakfast, the place is the Antica pasticceria Dahl, in via Dei Mille, just outside Porta Garibaldi: a simple and basic (the granita is served in plastic cup), that respects the traditions of the past. Tastes are only coffee and lemon, but you can enrich the breakfast with cassatelle, genovesi Erice, Cannoli with ricotta cheese and brioche. For an appetizer, opposite the Church of purgatory, drop from Ciacco Putia Gourmet, offering a few selected dishes but quality: among these, the platters of cold cuts, the fried dough, Baked Eggplant, sardine patties and the cotoletta alla pizzaiola, accompanied by fine wines served by the glass. If you want to sleep in Marsala I recommend a charming residence in the Center, Caron 168 (rooms and suites between 80 and 100 euro per night), set in a historic building with a careful restoration that has kept the original beams and beautiful ceramics, matching them to a minimal furniture and modern.
On this journey along the via del sale, find an area to visit the winery Donnafugata. A modern company that has its own headquarters in Marsala, in an ancient and great baglio totally renovated and now features a brand new wine shop. The company, founded by Giacomo Rallo, today is led by Antonio and his sister José. They have one of the most significant contributions to the relaunch of the image of Sicilian wine in the world. From the barrel to bottling up to unique labels (inspired by the drawings of an Italian artist and each with its own particular story to tell), Donnafugata style impresses the originality. The wines of this Winery come not only from Marsala but also from the territory of Contessa Entellina and on the island of Pantelleria. Anthilia, Tancredi, Arabian nights are some of the most famous wines, obtained primarily from local grapes. But I cannot fail to mention one of the best Sicilian dessert: the well-Rye, great wine for meditation and to combine with sweets and cheeses.
WHERE TO EAT IN MARSALA: If you love raw fish, I have a place to recommend: It's called The Buccaneers, located in front of the sea. In the dish sensational shrimp and Red prawns of Mazara, SCAMPI, sliced steak and tuna tartare, Carpaccio of Seabass and seabream, chopped Sea Urchin, all on a bed of peaches snuff boxes. I recommend taking it in two, at the price of 40 euros, in a portion quite generous. Great couscous (15 euros). The restaurant belongs to a family of butchers and therefore also offers the best of local meats: You can choose between cut, chops, tripe, fillet of beef and pork. Interesting mixed meat appetizer to try to land (20 euro).
For a candlelit dinner in a stylish and creative cuisine, the chef who's been eyeing in Marsala is Emanuele Russo, restaurant owner The Lumie, a few km from Marsala. A romantic view of the Lagoon and the Egadi and flat in unusual combinations between Sicilian products of excellence. Even in this case I refer you to the full review you can read here.
Finally, in and around Marsala, in the locality of Petrosino, There is a unique place that I recommend to visit. This is an old Tuff quarry, from yellow walls to precipice, which has been given new life. Inside, In fact, they have settled on Dairy Impicciché and the nursery Zichittella. The scenario is "one thousand and one nights, because it seems to be in the Middle East, with Palm trees, olive trees, Cactus and oleander that fill the quarry with their bright green. The cheese factory, led by Giovanni, It produces 15 kinds of cheeses, made with sheep's milk. From fresh to those seasoned pecorino cheese, cheese with herbs to those seasoned in Marsala wine. Ask the Piddiato, a pasta filata cheese, or the Partisan, in two variants of red and black.