Today’s blog post is provided by Nancy of La Cuisine.
I just got back from a wedding anniversary/birthday trip with extended family (there were 10 of us at various stages) in Sicily. My son-in-law advised us to choose either visiting the eastern or western part of Sicily and we chose the West as we are definitely going back! I thought I would share some of my “finds” as this is a super affordable vacation for a family.
Sicily is a breathtaking country which has rid itself of much of its Mafia cloud. In fact, the airport at Palermo is named after the two prosecutors (Falcone and Borsellino) who lost their lives in bringing down the Mafia in 1992. MonReale, the Cathedral, the archeological museums are all worth visiting. You are looking at a short century reign of Norman warriors who assimilated the population of Arabs, North Africans and native Sicilians with remarkable ease. In fact, today you will see a few redheads whose DNA reflects the Norman invasion!
Palermo has crazy traffic (forget renting a car) and some trash in the streets. But the easily accessible waterfront is perfect for kids and there is a free shuttle bus to take you around the historical district. Palermo is street food heaven for children (and it is good)…pizza, sandwiches, granita in brioche, ice cream and fruit with flavor! As in all of Italy, kids are welcome in any restaurant. Take a walk in the pedestrian area of Palermo’s swankier hotel/restaurant/shopping district and you all will have a blast.
We stayed in Aragona Rooms right outside the historical district and got the name and address of a taxi service that does business “on the side”. We should have done this from the start. So when you make your reservations, ask the proprietors about a taxi service that you can use.
Bisso Bistrot, Ciccio In Pentola were our favorite restaurants and kids were in tow. Bisso is Palermo in a small space – Packed, hipster-ish, and exuberant with delicious inexpensive food. More refined and relaxed is Ciccio. This restaurant should be in the Michelin guides soon. Our lunch there was probably one of the best meals we had in Sicily.
But the real surprise for us was Scopello, a very family oriented tiny seaside resort with a few hotels and lots of B&B possibilities. We rented a 4 bedroom house (Villa delle Rose) with an unbelievable walled garden overlooking the sea plus roof top terrace for aperitivi. There is a remarkable grocery store outside of Scopello that will have everything from diapers and toothpaste to beef and carryout. Next to it is a lovely pastry/gelaterie/gastronomia . Meal making will never be so easy as here.
Your children may not like the idea of visiting Greek ruins, but i think they will thank you later. Bring a few children’s books about Greek and Roman mythology and a walk up the wild flowered path to Segesta will be something they will remember. It was only built 2500 years ago.
Another wonderful experience for them were the fishing expeditions. You go out with a family run fishing boat, swim in some grottoes if you like, “help” them catch and then you purchase some of the catch to cook at home, which we did.
As you can see, there were many wonderful places to visit and amazing food to enjoy with family in Sicily!