After driving over the north side of Etna, through the Nebrodi mountains, and along Sicily’s north coast with a gelato stop in Cefalù (of course!), my beautiful, loving, and always amazing cousins and I celebrated my birthday with a pizza party and live music!
The beloved trio of Alfanso, Ettore, and Salvatore even got them all doing traditional Sicilian contra dancing! My heart is so full!
Today, with my companions, us “Intrepid Five,” I am relaxing by the sea before my husband Joe and I say, “alla prossima Sicilia!” tomorrow.
Thank you for the birthday wishes! It was a very happy birthday.
When in Sicily, I am on top of the world! It’s been a very busy and inspiring few days: Intense and full! I apologize that my posts have been inconsistent… With me acting as driver, guide, tourist, and always explorer, looking for new and phenomenal experiences for our clients, I simply collapse as soon as the day is over. We’ve had so many remarkable moments! Here, Jennifer Stigliani Bowen photographed me soaking up the energy of contemporary Sicilian sculptor Lorenzo Reina’s Teatro Andromeda sculpture theater when we we hosted on Friday by Val di kam in Santo Stefano Quisaquina, in Sicily’s Sicanian mountains. Meanwhile, today is my birthday, and I’m going to enjoy being here every second … Soaking up the island’s energy to bring it home to New York and share it with you!
We stopped for lunch at one of my “homes” in Sicily, Case di Latomie, where my dear friend Sebastiano Chiofalo of GelsominoImports.com hosted us among the olive trees. Sicilian hospitality continues to amaze me and warm my heart.
Thank you to chef Francesco Gallo for a remarkable lunch!
From left to right, Jennifer Bowen, Nola Bee, Allison Scola, Joe Ravo, and Fred Arcoleo.
Today was a day I’ve been looking forward to! From Trapani, on Sicily’s northwestern coast, we went to the Egadi Islands of Favignana and Levanzo for a full-day excursion. Early in the morning, being the curious culture and history-buffs that we are, my husband Joe and I took a walking tour through town and learned about the Florio family’s transformation of the island one hundred years ago into a tuna canning capital. After our in-town exploration, we stopped at this spot, pictured, for a swim off the boat. The water was clear and deliciously refreshing, with river-like currents. After a typical lunch featuring pasta with Trapani-style pesto aboard the boat, we headed to Levanzo for a lazy afternoon, followed by another dip in the clear sea. Wow, was the water beautiful! Jennifer, Fred, Nola, and I were gleeful.
Castellammare del Golfo is our host for our first stop on the “Allison’s Secret Sicily” tour…. Not an official tour! Just 5 of us traveling together and going with the flow and following our whims for discovering corners of Sicily new to me and visiting some of my top favorites. After a very intense few months, I retreat here to get some rest and inspiration for what’s next. We’ve swam at the tonnara in Scopello, learned to make couscous and fresh busiate pasta in Trapani, and learned about salt production on the coast at Nubia. While being exhausted, I’m also energized.
I’m posting when I have a moment and internet service (that’s the flowing with the go part! Internet, when off the beaten path, isn’t so reliable).
Follow us for this journey of discovery!
Did I mention the boat excursion we took in Taormina on Thursday? For me, this was my favorite moment during our private family heritage tour last week. It was a dream come true to see the joy on everyone’s faces as the music blasted, they drank limoncello, and our guests danced in the sun and swam in the clear blue waters.
After saying, “Arrivederci!” to our wonderful guests from the last week, I drove to Siracusa to meet my cousin and business partner Evelina and her close friends. This evening, we attended “Le Rane,” or “The Frogs,” a comedy by Aristophanes, written in 405 BCE. The ancient theater was full. Joyful theater goers, seemingly all Italian, laughed at Dionysus, the play’s main character, as he journeyed to the Underworld in an attempt to save the sad state of theater in Athens. What fun it was to hear another world-class production here, one of the theaters for which such a play was originally written!
Across all generations of the family we are hosting in Sicily, Etna was a hit! We spent much of today learning about the volcano which included exploration of a lava cave from the 1792 eruption, pictured here. (We learned, among other things, that there are 197 known lava caves in the Etna territory.)
Our always fabulous guides, Fabrizio and Marco, concluded the educational, environmentally-powered day with a picnic lunch featuring local specialties. I love when our clients are happy!