I’m suffering from a bit of Sicily withdrawal. Please bear with me.
Thanks to a birthday present from my parents (thank Mom and Dad!), I returned to Sicily for a long weekend. There was an airline strike and my flight departed over two hours late. The weather was horrible. I rented a car and had an accident. I got lost constantly. It didn’t matter.
The minute I drove up to the reception area and saw the views, smelled the Sicilian jasmine, and had a glass of wine, I forgot all about the hassles to get there. Like my friend Gina, I’m already plotting my next Sicilian trip.
One major reason for my withdrawal is Monaci delle Terre Nere. This was my third trip and hopefully there will be a forth. I think I need to go during the Spring as that’s the only season I haven’t been there. While checking out, I told Sara that the next time I return I want to be there with my man. Hello, I’m single.
I stayed in the Fragante room. It has a fireplace, terrace, a Jacuzzi, and sea/vineyards views. It’s a short walk, through lime trees, to the main villa.
I loved the little details, like this floral arrangement.
I woke up to sunrises with the sounds of roosters, the sheep next door, and Mt. Etna.
It got a little chilly at night, so I really appreciated the fireplace.
They have a newish chef and the food (lunch and dinner) is a little less rustic than before. It is very good but it’s a high-end take on Sicilian cuisine. The wine list is extensive and excellent. The breakfast spread was on point.
It rained most of the time I was there, so no lounging by the pool (or the pool bar) this time. I’m glad it did clear up a little bit the day I drove down the coast.
Of course it was a stunning day the morning I checked out.
Grazie mille Guido, Ada, Nujuan, and Sara for everything.
I have a solid sense of direction. Therefore, I was perplexed by my Sicilian driving situation. None of the rentals cars came with GPS but I had maps, directions printed out, and Google Maps on my phone and still I got lost. What the heck?
My plan was to go to Ragusa, Modica, and then meet Gina in Ortigia for dinner. Some how I took the wrong exit for Ragusa. It was a happy accident because I ended up in Scicli which was incredible.
I gasped when I saw this view. Pictures do not do it justice. Stunning.
Had a slight fender bender. It wasn’t my fault and after my nerves were frazzled. At least I wasn’t driving a stick shift. I thought Modica was beautiful as well.
Three years ago when I was trying to decide between staying in Modica or Ortigia, I picked Ortigia. I liked Modica but I would’ve missed being by the sea and it’s a lot more touristy than Scicli. If I had to pick a small hill town to stay in it would be the latter.
It started to pour again. Gina and I went to a small caffe for aperitivi to wait it out. The rain never stopped.
One thing I noticed right away, is how much Ortigia has changed in one year! The word is out. There were small tour buses. The caffe I always went to in Piazza Archimede was packed with tourists. There are several new shops selling souvenirs (at least most of them are food related). I hope this is great for the local economy.
Even in the rain, The Duomo and its piazza moved me.
Dinner at Le Vin de L’assassin was delicious.
By time we finished dinner, the rain had tampered off. Then I got lost while driving through flooded streets. Fun.
I finally made it to the Autostrada. It stopped raining and there wasn’t any traffic at midnight. Life was lovely. I was singing along with the radio, loudly, when all of a sudden the skies open up. BUCKETS of rain. I was near Catania and the heavy rain did not stop until I reached the exit for Acireale. More flooding as I drove on hairpin curves up the mountain. Thankfully, this time I found Monaci no problem.
I really need to see Palermo and so many other places not just in Sicily but also Italy in general. I haven’t been to Puglia or much of the North. However, Sicily keeps calling me. I find the architecture beautiful and inspiring. The food and wine are incredible. The people I’ve met made me feel at home.
Sicily has my heart and my head.
Photos: Me and my iPhone.