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Italy

La Buona Vita in Sicily

20 April 2018

Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean sea and part of ‘La Bella Italia’. Everyone that has visited Sicily said it is a beautiful and versatile island. So it was time to explore this island!

landscape Sicily

The beautiful landscape of Sicily

Sicily, let’s go!

Maastricht Airport

Time for vacation ! You can’t wait to go on holiday! The only disadvantage of an airplane trip are the long waiting times and the long hours at the airport.

I have good news for everyone who dreams of a fast check-in! From April, Corendon will fly from Maastricht to 17 different destinations in Southern Europe such as Sicily, Sardinia, Ibiza, Tunisia, Algarve, Antalya, Bodrum, Bulgaria, Costa de la Luz, Corfu, Egypt, Kos, Crete, Macedonia, Mallorca, Rhodes and Zakinthos! For more information, check their website  www.corendon.be!

Why Maastricht Airport?

From Antwerp it is only a 1.30 hrs drive to the airport of Maastricht. You can park your car in front of the entrance, which is completely free for Corendon customers! The airport of Maastricht is very small so everything goes very smooth. After 15 minutes we were checked in and totally ready for departure. This a very pleasant and easy way to start your holiday! Sicily here we come!

 

Palermo, at the crossroads of the worlds

Palermo is the capital of Sicily and Italy’s 5th largest city. This rustic Italian city has a very interesting history with influences from the Romans, the Greeks and the Arabs. This results in beautiful churches and impressive Arabic – Norman, Byzantine and Baroque architecture. Unfortunately, this city suffers from a lot of prejudices due to the maffia in the past, so we had to find out whether these prejudices were justified. The whole city has many of those typical narrow streets, where cars drive trough with some Italian temperament . Palermo has beautiful historic buildings, cozy cafes, delicious food, rough beautiful facades and the stirring Italian atmosphere.

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Our 3 personal highlights in Palermo were:

  • Teatro Massimo
  • Fontana Pretoria
  • Quattro Canti

I highly recommend to visit a typical Sicilian market, this is an experience itself! The so called ‘abbanniate’, market traders come up with the most crazy slogans to promote their products. The screaming seagulls flying around trying to catch a piece of fish and loud talking local residents are exchanging the latest news on the market. As you read, you will be overwhelmed by all kinds of colors, smells and sounds!

We also visited the poor district of Albergheria in Palermo. The inhabitants are still really poor and a part of the population can not read and/or write.

Last but not least, Italy is a country with great food. This is certainly the case in Palermo! This Sicilian capital is known for its delicious street food. In the dishes they use a lot of olives and fish, usually with a glass of wine. In general, the dishes are slightly ‘rougher’ compared to the average Italian cuisine.

 

Hotel Hopps, relaxing near the sea

We stayed at Hotel Hopps. This 4 **** hotel located in Mazara del Vallo was completely redesigned in April 2018. The hotel is a U-shaped building with a central pool, so all rooms have a good view. The long boulevard on the beach is perfect for a morning run .

 Link: https://www.corendon.be/italie/sicilie/mazara-del-vallo/hopps-hotel?tab=destination-info-tab

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Mazara del Vallo with its red prawns

Within walking distance of Hotel Hopps lies the picturesque village of Mazara del Vallo, which is still known for its ‘Sicilian red prawns‘. Mazara del Vallo is situated in the west of the island, which lies at the mouth of the ‘Mazaro’ river. Formerly, Mazara del Vallo was known for its fish trade. Today, the main source of income comes from vineyards, olive and lemon plantations. You can visit this cozy town on a morning. It is very quiet, let’s say the typical southern atmosphere. There are some beautiful historic churches to be found between the small streets of Mazara del Vallo.

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Wine tasting @ Gorghi Tondi

Between Mazara del Vallo and Selinunte are the extensive vineyards of Gorghi Tondi located. The company is owned by the 2 sisters Annamaria and Clara Sala and has a unique location in the Lago Preola e Gorghi Tondi nature reserve. This place is a refuge for many birds. All wines are distinguished by their elegant and refined taste, especially the red wines could charm us.

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The vineyards of Gorghi Tondi on Sicily

The wine tasting at Gorghi Tondu was a very pleasant experience. An interesting explanation was given about the different types of wine: how these are produced, the ripening process, the composition and how to serve in different types of dishes. This was immediately put into practice by serving several traditional Sicilian snacks, which were delicious !

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Selinunte Archaeological Park

Selinunte archaeological park is located within a distance of 40 km from Hotel Hopps. Here are several historic Greek temples, some of them have been destroyed. Temple E was beautifully reconstructed in 1950. You would forget that you are in Italy and not in Greece .

 We also visited the little sister of Sicily, Sardinia. Read our experience here!

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