Sicily is one region of Italy that has managed to retain its ancient charm. One of the richest region for art, history and culture in Europe, it was the scenario of the ruling elites of the time: Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, French, Germans, Spanish, Austrians, English, and all leaving a wealth of artistic, architectural and culinary mementos in their wake.
We may not all be art buffs or history experts, but one cannot leave this region without having gained a profound understanding of how its people have lived throughout history. The confluence of cultures created a mix of art and architecture that is still there alive and surely unparalleled in its preciousness: the Greek Doric Temples are the best preserved in the world, the delicate carvings of Sicilian Baroque has no better example in Italy, the Roman Mosaics at the Villa del Casale and the Norman Byzantine mosaics of Monreale are the greatest mosaic schemes in the world.
When it comes to food, you might think you’ve tasted the best pasta—be it your mother’s, spouse’s or the one you found at the trattoria around the corner. I’m not about to tell you that Sicilian food is better... I’ll leave that for you to discover. But I will give you a hint: Apocarps from Siracusa was the first in writing about the art of cooking in 485 BC and in 380 BC Terpsione made the first studies in what would be called the food science. Dionysus, so the story goes, came across a strange, unknown plant during his voyage to Sicily. Curious, he took an example with him and on back in Greece planted it. The plant was of course a vine! After this trip to Sicily, every time you’ll pop open a bottle of wine, spare a thought for Dionysus and Sicily. Prosit!