Arriving in Sicily was the start to a fascinating trip that I really had not fully anticipated. I’m not quite sure what I had expected, but the sheer happy days of meeting warm locals, taking in incredible views and indulging in some mouthwatering food clearly outline the signature trademarks of this captivating island.
Flying into Catania, the rooftops reflecting warm hues of terracotta against verdant hills, captured the essence of our weekend ahead. Smiling locals and a relaxed vibe at the airport paved the way for soaking up this vibrant city and it’s surrounds, abundant with simple treasures for our voyage of discovery!
Hotel Romano House, a relaxed 15 minute taxi drive from the airport (approx 25€) and hidden within the winding streets, was an oasis of contemporary chic. Sophisticated and welcoming, this hotel is central, immaculate and unfeasibly cool. You only have to check out the eye catching ceiling lights in the funky bar to realise you are in the presence of uber-mod meets elegance! Rooms are the same, definitively simplistic, yet with all you need, giant shower heads, mattresses with perfection etched in their souls and of course quirky lighting to further enhance the chic appeal. Breakfast is a veritable feast – the Sicilian oranges delicately sliced to within an inch of their lives were some of the most delicious I have ever tasted. Scrumptious pastries winked at us from the abundant spread of local fare; ideal with the rich, aromatic coffee on tap. Evening drinks, served with huge aplomb, ensured the regional Prosecco was chilled to perfection and served by wonderful bar staff.
A two minute stroll from the hotel, the local market stretches out beyond your wildest dreams. It appeared never-ending, with sections of glorious wares displayed in a myriad of styles, ready to catch your eye and for the stall holder to entice you for a nifty barter. The beautiful fresh produce simply astounded me and was a true feast for the eyes; never have I had the pleasure to see such giant fruit and veggies in the most incredible condition. Certainly not something you’d find in the local supermarket back in the UK…..dream on!
No wonder all Sicilian Mamas are up with the lark, basket at the ready to fill with a charge of sublime produce to feed the family. This daily shopping ritual keeps it real and also ensures the freshest ingredients are consumed, this has to be the true way to follow the Mediterranean diet. Regional cheeses beckoned us with their creamy succulence, aubergines glinted in the sunlight and a rich scent of olive oil and herbs wafted on the breeze. Living in Sicily must be a pure pleasure from simply a gastronomic perspective.
Read more in post 2 coming soon!