Sailing in Sicily – Falling in love with the island at sea and ashore
A cultural crossroads and cradle of Italian baroque, with a spectacular sea that will literally take your breath away. Sailing in Sicily is a wonderfully surprising and captivating experience. The island is an open-air museum of sorts so ravishing it is virtually impossible to take in with the eyes alone. You have to breathe it, touch it, taste it, to understand the island’s intimate yet genuine grandeur.
This Sicilian sailing experience winds its way between past and present along the south-eastern tip of the island where nature is completely pristine and the Mediterranean is a place of unique flavours, colours and scents.
Our itinerary takes us from sea to shore and back again because there really is so much to this lovely island. We will sail along the coast of the tip of Sicily aboard Invictus, a 56’ Dufour Exclusive launched in 2017, and see the stunning scenarios so generously provided by nature and expertly moulded and passed on by man over the centuries.
Casting off from the Marina di Ragusa, the perfect base for a sailing experience in the south-east of Sicily, Invictus sets a course for Marzamemi. This lovely old seafaring town, whose name is derived from the Arabic “marsa al – hamam” meaning port of the turtle dove, also had one of largest tuna traps in the Mediterranean under Arab rule.
Marzamemi is a place out of time, its little restaurants and bars abuzz with life all year round. You’ll adore wandering the narrow streets of Marzamemi. But don’t forget to sample the delicious granita at Ciclope, a delightful old bar, before moving on to Noto.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Noto survived a devastating earthquake in 1693 but had to be entirely rebuilt. This produced the extraordinarily beautiful Sicilian baroque architecture that greets visitors today. It is a place of wide streets, three main squares and the spectacular Duomo di San Nicolò.
Sailing up the coast towards Siracusa, you will find the crystal clear waters of Fontane Bianche named after its freshwater springs and gleaming white sand. This is the perfect place for fishing and diving fans sailing in Sicily. Just a few kilometres away also is the Plemmirio marine reserve, a place of inestimable natural value where visitors can admire gorgeous coral in spectacular surroundings.
The lure of the city centre is irresistible in Siracusa. Cross the Umbertino Bridge and you will immediately find yourself in Ortigia. An island within an island, an onslaught of wonderful surprises that span the spectrum from astonishingly rich history and architecture to a marvellous seafront dotted with little restaurants and bars serving fabulous Sicilian cuisine. There’s also Caravaggio’s The Burial of Saint Lucy to admire in the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia in Piazza del Duomo.
Did you know that …. ?
The Duomo di Ortigia, which dominates the piazza of the same name, is one of the most significant buildings in history in terms of the fusion of architectural styles resulting from the many rulers that passed through Sicily over the centuries.
The architecture heritage also includes one of the most famous Doric monuments: the Temple of Athena.
Ruins of the columns are still visible today. In the VI century, the Byzantines built a Christian basilica with three naves and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Under Arab rule, in the IX century, building was turned into a mosque while in the XII century, it became a Norman Christian church.
The real luxury is living Sicily
Take a dive into the gastronomic culture of this rich and fertile land and you will embark on a thrilling voyage of discovery of a string of gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants presented by “Le Soste di Ulisse”, an association linking 32 fine dining restaurants (including the 13 Michelin-starred eateries in Sicily), 20 charming hotels and 2 master confectioners as well as a wealth of wineries to allow you experience the very best of Sicily’s wines.
We heartily recommend a call to the Locanda Don Serafino in Ragusa Ibla. This Michelin-starred establishment is renowned for its sophisticated cuisine which raises the flavours of traditional dishes to dizzying new heights and combines them with the joy of the new. The result of a natural inclination to source the finest ingredients which chef Vincenzo Candiano then crafts with skill and passion into culinary delights.
This area offers endless and exciting new visitor opportunities when sailing in Sicily. Not least the locations that provide the backdrops to Italy’s most famous TV series, Inspector Montalbano, based on Andrea Camilleri’s novels.
One of the best-known is, of course, Punta Secca, a small fishing village that is home to Montalbano’s house with its famous sea-facing terrace. Then there is Scicli, one of the most charming baroque towns in Val di Noto. The surrounding countryside features steep limestone cliffs and stunning hilltop limestone houses in the Hyblaean Mountains, making it uniquely fascinating. In Scicli, La Grotta serves up excellent Sicilian cooking and you can also learn the secrets of making your own bread under the watchful eye of chef Angelo Di Tommasi.
Last but very far from least is Modica, home to the famous chocolate, where a long flight of stone steps leasd to the Duomo di San Giorgio and the town’s majestic Baroque palazzos. Foodies will adore Da Fabio, a wonderfully welcoming trattoria where the traditional Sicilian menu will put you right in tune with this unique and authentic land.
“You know what our life is? Yours and mine? A dream made in Sicily. Maybe we’re still there and still dreaming.”