Sicily offers the most exciting of all the Wine regions in Italy. Why? Well it is the largest Island in the Mediterranean sea and as such the land has a myriad of maritime influences as well as extreme altitudes and thermal amplitudes and finally Winds blowing over from Africa or the North. The native varietals are not transferable and the jewel in the Crown is the wines of Etna which are phenomenally interesting and unique and know globally sought after. Colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Normans and finally by Giuseppe Garibaldi bringing it into unified Italy in in 1860. No country this size has had more influences to bear on on it that Sicily. These influences are so pronounced today in the food, the people and the fascinating mix of incredible sights all bound within this 1000 miles of coastline. Make no mistake, Sicily is a country to its own and in such it deserves to be a destination of its own. Robertson wine tours can plan your Sicilian wine tour and combine this with culinary tours and cooking classes and more importantly with cultural and archaeological sights that are too numerous to name. Any wine and culinary themed vacation to Sicily needs time. Don’t try too see or do too much. you can return. In Sicily less is more. It is our ethos at Robertson wine tours not to try to squeeze too much into a holiday. Sicily is enormous, the driving and roads are not some comforting so really don’t self drive, if you are looking for peace and tranquillity then let us deal with the logistics and driving so you can sit back and enjoy this incredible place. After 6 years in Pulgia and Basilicata we have made Sicily our base of operations in Europe. We cannot imagine living anywhere else. Hopefully you can see how enamoured we are with Sicily, There is nowhere like it and and wine and food experience in Sicily is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime.
Perhaps the most exciting wine region in Italy. The largest, most interesting and beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea.
Colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Normans and finally by Garibaldi bringing it into unified Italy in 1860.
Sicily is a fascinating mix of incredible sights all bound within this 1000 miles of beautiful coastline.
Palermo with its Norman Palace and Cathedral and the Massimo Theatre
Palermos markets Del Capo and Ballaro Markets, Total Chaos naturally
Monreale Cathedral with stunning golden mosaics and its cloisters
Cefalù with its Norman cathedral and sandy beaches and medieval alleys
Aegadian Islands are Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo.
Catania, the 2nd largest city in Sicily after Palermo located at the foot of the Etna.
Enna, nicknamed, the navel of Sicily is the highest town in Sicily at 900meters
Catania has the beautiful Piazza del Duomo and The Fontana dell’ Elefante
The “Cyclops rocks” (Faraglioni) That were thrown at Ulysses escaping Polyphemus
The stunning Aeolian Islands Lipari, Salina, Vulcano and Stromboli and Salina
Syracuse and Ortigia island have enough to keep you here for days Caltagirone home of the Ceramics of Sicily
Trapani, a beautiful sea town with Erice overlooking
Taormina, Forget what you have heard this is a magical place. Isola Bella, Greek Theatre and stunning views over Etna
Valley of the temples in Agrigento. The most magnificent intact temples outside of Greece
The Baroque Cities of Noto Ragusa and Modica
Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, temple of Concorde and Hera
Scala dei Turchi These unique white limestone cliffs with erosion
Temple of Segesta and its panoramic amphitheatre, ideally placed between Erice and Palemo
Selinunte Temples complex that still remains undiscovered by the masses
Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest active volcano at 10,930 feet (3330 metres).
Villa Roman Casale with its intact Roman Villa and Mosaics and Beautiful Piazza Armerina
How long do I need
As we have previously stated rushing around any region is not our modus operandi, We prefer clients to get a bit of a deeper understanding of where they are. As you will no doubt be flying in Rome to Palermo or Catania you will likely have a night or two at the front or end of the tour in Rome before you fly home. We think 7 nights on the ground is the minimum if you want to see a good chunk of the biggest Island in the Mediterranean. If you really want to a full immersion and to see all that Sicily has to offer then 10 to 14 nights would be perfect. Hopefully you can see how enamoured we are with Sicily, There is nowhere like it and and wine and food experience in Sicily is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime.
When to come
Our suggestion is to come to Sicily in April May June and then followed by September and October. Sicily is blessed with consistent sunshine and a moderate rainfall one could it the ‘classic Mediterranean’ climate’. In April the flora starts to show. Temperatures allover the island are generally pleasant from May onwards the sea is warm but the beaches are still very much for yourselves. As a good estimate average temperatures will be 22°c 72°f with sea being at 18°c 64°f warming of course as you move thorough into Summer in June. We do not suggest you to come to Sicily in July and August. Its very hot, crowded and the only things to do is take a beach holiday, which is of course not what you would be employing Robertson Wine tours to arrange for you. Perhaps our favorite months to visit Sicily are September and October, the Harvest is taking place both vine and olive and the temperatures are not oppressive and there is no longer the over crowded feeling. You will find the average temperature for both in and out of the sea at 22°c / 72°f.
The Wines of Sicily
Sicily has more vineyards than any of the other Italian regions, but Sicilians consume less wine per capita than any region in Italy.
We have to state right now that no wine tour to Sicily would be complete without visiting and tastings the wines and wineries of Etna. Mount Etna is Europe’s tallest active volcano at 10,930ft (3330m). It is from this mineral-rich, black sand that Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio express to make Etna Rosso, one of the great wines of Italy.
Modern Sicilian cuisine is widely varied due to the many centuries of outside influences. Today, the diet is comprised of grains and vegetables, seafood, meats and dairy and plenty of fresh produce and olive oil. As with most of Italy, Sicilian cuisine often offers pasta; Most of the pasta is made from semolina wheat.Sicilian cooking is strongly influenced by their Greek neighbours. The impact the Greeks left included flatbreads that would later develop into the well loved focaccia loaves. Greeks also taught the Sicilians to use snow from the mountain tops for iced desserts flavored with local fruits and honey. Other influences on the widely varied Sicilian cuisine came from the Arabs during the Middle ages. Arabs brought sugar and taught the Sicilians to make extravagant dessert dishes with it, They also taught the Sicilians to fish for deep water fish such as tuna and swordfish. Sicilian recipes are also famous for both their olive oil and capers complementing the seafood that are so prevalent Sicilian recipes.. Sicily’s moderate climate and the rich volcanic soil that covers the whole Island is one of the reasons the Romans called Sicily their Breadbasket. Tomatoes are fundamental to Sicilian cooking and there are many styles and sizes and flavours., Eggplants and peppers feature heavily too. Visitors have long known to expect delightful food when visiting Sicily. When you travel with us to Sicily expect to go home to start a diet.
Breakfast with a warm brioche bun with a bowl of frozen granita, flavoured with fruit or coffee
Famous Olive Oils include Monte Etna, Monti Iblei, Val di Mazara, Valdemone, Valle del Belice, Valli Trapanesi
Sfincioni are thick focacce topped with tomato and cheese
Deep-fried Mozzarella Sandwich. “Mozzarella in Carrozza” a Calorific Bomb
Fried dough called crispeddi is enjoyed sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
Crispeddi can also be savory version with anchovy and wild fennel
Zite al pomodoro e tonno is made from short pasta tubes and served with a fresh tomato and tuna sauce
Pasta con le sarde, sauce of fresh sardines and anchovies seasoned with nuts, herbs and raisins
Cùscusu. Fish, prepared with herbs and tomatoes with rolled balls of couscous.
Pasta alla Norma spaghetti tomato and eggplant sauce
Baked Cauliflowers Fritters
Busiate al pesto Trapanese. Instead of Basil we use Almonds in this western Sicilian pasta
Dumplings called gnocculli are a semolino gnocchi are topped with a creamy ricotta and meat sauce
Gambero rosso (red prawns from Mazara del Vallo
Swordfish is cooked with pine nuts, raisins, olives, herbs and tomatoes
Fresh tuna and swordfish are often marinated, roasted or grilled as steaks
Involtini di pesce spada – baked swordfish rolls
Grilled swordfish is also popular stuffed with cheese and vegetables
Arancini di riso (“little oranges”)are fried balls of cooked rice with a filling made of chopped meat, tomatoes, cheese & peas
Melanzane alla siciliana, eggplant slices deep fried topped with mozzarella, tomato sauce and baked
Carciofi ripieni, baked artichokes stuffed with cheese, sardines and sausages
Caponata, a luscious stew of eggplant, tomatoes, capers, olives and onions
Pepperonata stews bell peppers and tomatoes with onion and olives
Pork, lamb and kid are the preferred meats, but rabbit, poultry and veal are also eaten
Sicily lays claim to inventing meatballs, known as polpetti or polpettoni, swedes may have something to say about this
Bottarga is salted, cured fish roe from grey mullet or bluefin tuna
Blood oranges, known as arancia rossi di Sicilia
Famous cheeses include Pecorino Siciliano and Ragusano
This region’s citrus, stone fruits, figs and table grapes are also famous for their lush juicy sweetness and flavor
Many fruits are dried and used along with nuts in desserts
Cassata is a sponge cake layered with a maraschino cheery flavored ricotta, candied fruits and nuts
Cannoli, deep-fried pastry tubes full of creamy ricotta with the candied fruits
Fravioli di Carnevale, a deep fried ravioli with cinnamon and ricotta cheese
Almonds are ground and sweetened to make marzipan and pasta reale
Pistachio nuts grown on Etna in Bronte are often enjoyed in ice cream
Pignolata are fried balls of dough are placed in a pile and held together by liqueur flavored caramelized sugar and sometimes chocolate
Below you will find some of the tours that we have or are going to run that feature Sicily
Rome and Campania, October, 2019. TESTIMONIAL Thank you, Tim! Our 8 day visit to Rome and Campania was simply incredible. The wines were excellent, of course. Your extensive knowledge of wine was continually on display; Sheila and I learned more about Italian wines from our daily tastings and visits to local wineries than we ever thought possible. But,...Mr and Mrs Kirk Rome and Campania
Fantastic!! Suzanne and I had a wonderful time on our GC WS tour of Sicily. Thank you for your professionalism in setting it up and managing the bumps along the way. We appreciated the "upgrade" for our room at Villa Athena. Dionisio (was an outstanding tour guide! )In our opinion, the... Peter & Suzanne Grinnell Morris