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Manu | 27 December 2011 | no comments


Sicily, December 31st, 2010

Sicily gave me her welcome with an hug and a smiling sun. Coming from Amsterdam and its 0 degrees and landing in Catania, with 18 has been one of the best arrivals ever at the end of December. What a great feeling walking out of the plane and feeling the warm temperatures invading my body!

Great feeling also going out of the airport, hearing again the familiar Italian kaos just outside….yes…I am back to Italy!

From Catania, together with my brother, we have been driving directly to Ragusa, deep South, for a full immersion into the real Sicilian and Mediterranean air.
Ragusa and its area, called Ragusano,are the most Southern part of Sicily and Italy. This area brings with itself the sweet scents of the Arabian world, just one step away, together with the Barocque architecture of its old little villages. During the night the shadows of the town fascinate, with sensational games of lights, giving a touch of antique life to the building and the surrounding area.

During the day, Ragusa, Modica, Noto and all the towns crossed enchant your eyes with Medieval examples of power! Modica sleeps peacefully on top of a hill, all concentrated and narrow. All the houses seem to have been put there together as there was no space around, and the town instead of growing in the valley seemsto be growing just on the hill. Everywhere in town the smell of the chocolate surrounds you and your senses. In every bar drinking a glass of hot chocolate is a must, together with everything that can be possibly made by chocolate. They say the recipe of Modica chocolate comes from the Aztecs,and was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the XVI century. The chocolate of Modica is something totally different from the normal chocolate. The taste is strong and proud, like the inhabitants of these lands, the colour is dark and looking at it carefully you can see the sugar inside, something that it’s better revealed when you taste it. Even if the day is not cold at all, a hot chocolate with the chilly powder inside it’s the best the warm up the hands and the evening.

During daytime, the South of Sicily is warm and bright. A shining sun welcomes us at Pozzallo, one of the last villages of the South of Sicily. It’s December and on the seaside it’s a pleasure to enjoy the sun and its 23 degrees. I think it’s was since the times of Australia that I didn’t have a walk on the beach without a coat in December. What a warm and beautiful sensation. You can feel it’s a nice soft air the one surrounding you and you only imagine how the temperature can rise up during the summer period, that starts in February around here. On the way to Pozzallo, a beautiful field of yellow flowers accompanied us all the way to the valley, donating an unexpected sensation of Spring! What a beautiful feeling breathing Spring during the last week of December, and watching it surrounding me all around. Sicily made me smile and hugged me with its colours.

The people of this part of Sicily are open and very kind. A lot of people from Northern Africa countries live here, and they live peacefully together with the Sicilians. The culture is a mix. It has always been a mix. Down here you can feel the population is used to live together with people of other countries, despite the languages and the colours of their skins, they have been doing this since the Normans, and the Arabs, and the Spanish..and they keep doing this …and I found it amazing nowadays…not everywhere in Italy you can have this amazing sensation of living together. The result is a fusion of styles. I had a taste of it in a small restaurant on the beach, where the traditional seafood cuisine got mixed with the Tunisian one by the chef of the place, offering me the opportunity to taste one of the best seafood lunch since long time.

What a great place Sicily! It really hugs you with a deep dive of your senses in its vibrating tradition and flavour. A place to discover further,where to go back again and again, it gave me a touch of sun and freedom.