48 Hours in Sicily

Gary took a group of fellow travel professionals to Sicily for the weekend and stayed at the beautiful Donna Carmela Resort and Lodges.  Here, he gives us a synopsis of 48 hours on the Italian island:

I first visited Sicily in 2006. Back then I was blown away by the many huge personalities I met, and I was overwhelmed with a destination steeped in history, culture, tremendous landscapes and most of all sincerity. I coined a phrase ‘Genuine Sicilian Hospitality‘.

I have been fortunate enough to visit Sicily on at least an annual basis ever since. This time as a host for a fam trip curated by Workham Hotels and Donna Carmela Resort & Lodges.

So what can be reasonably achieved during a 48 hour stay on Sicily? After all this is a vast destination with so many aspects to enjoy. Indeed my Sicilian friends will never ever be able to enjoy every feature that their mini-universe has to offer, not even in a very good life time!

Here goes, my opinion is clear – you can cover a lot of ground and create some truly great memories in just 48 hours.

Friday afternoon – a visit to the gorgeous Radicepura Gardens.

View towards Etna from the Radicepura Gardens

Friday evening – a walking tour of Taormina followed by dinner at a fabulous pizza restaurant :

Saturday morning – after a wonderful Sicilian breakfast at Donna Carmela we transferred to a meeting point on Mount Etna. Here we enjoyed a three hour hike and a comprehensive introduction to the incredible geology of the volcano  – we learned so much about the eruptive processes, botanics and the local culture. After all, the mountain means so much to the Sicilian people. Credit due to our wonderful guides Paolo and Simone who really looked after us so well.

Saturday afternoon – after our walk, and now joined by the General Manager of Donna Carmela, the one and only Mario Ballarino we were ready for a serious lunch. No-one could have prepared us however for the amazing In Cucina dai Pennisi , a butchers shop with restaurant in the pretty Etna village of Linguaglossa. The website is only in Italian but those reading that don’t understand the language will easily see how incredible the venue truly is by taking a peek at the website.

After a swift espresso in a local bar, we were back on the road. We are in one of Sicily’s key wine producing areas, so a visit to the wonderful Pietradolce Winery  was an essential experience. This place just oozes class: a delightful wine tasting experience was enjoyed with yet more food.

Saturday evening – we for sure loved our exquisite alfresco a la carte dinner with pairing wines set in the gardens at our hotel and hosted by Sharon Monaco, the Sales Director of Donna Carmela.

Sunday morning – after breakfast, we had time to relax at the hotel which is an absolute haven of beauty followed by a quick blast on the padel court. The hotel is set in botanical gardens with a lovely swimming pool and spacious air-conditioned reception areas. Of course we were accommodated in the very special suites and lodges the property has to offer. The property is a true treasure island and the family who own and manage the property certainly understand the true essence of nature, wellbeing and hospitality. The entire team at the property from the reception front desk to the chefs, waiting team and the unsung housekeepers are absolutely first class.

Thank you Sharon Monaco, thank you Mario Ballarino: you represent the very best of Genuine Sicilian Hospitality.

For more information on the hotel, get in touch with Gary on Gary.boyer@workham.com.

Written by Gary Boyer, May 2024

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