Casale la Zagara - Apartment Oleandro
“Theatre of lights and winds, of epic battles and sublime architecture; the southernmost bridge to Africa; indulgent cradle for different civilizations, the island lies down the middle of the Mediterranean Sea like a matron waiting for guests coming from far-off countries.
The sun kisses the blazing sands and the low cliffs; the sky is tinged with strong colours, especially at sunset; the wind brings odours and sands from Africa.
The sandy, golden beaches dance with the bright, blue sea; silver olive trees mix togheter with palms and euphorbies; everything invites you to enjoy life and to get the most of nature.”
But that’s not all!
Sicily is an amazing mixture of nature and history: breathtaking panoramas and natural beauties are perfectly combined with impressive monuments from the past.
From the ancient Greek temples of Agrigento, Selinunte and Segesta, to churches, gardens, palaces and theaters built by several civilizations (Romans arrived in the 2nd century BC, followed by the Arabs, Normans, French, Spanish and finally the Bourbons).
Sicilian cuisine is an adventure in history. Its cooking speaks of its complicated history of invasions and occupations as well as of the fresh flavors of the land and the bounty of the sea. It blends extravagant Arab and northern techniques with simple peasant ingredients, mainly the catch of the sea and the pick of the garden.”Pasta con le sarde” is the perfect example: featuring a sauce made with sardines, raisins, pine nuts, fennel, saffron, parsley and capers, its origins go all the way back to the Phoenicians.”Pasta alla Norma” combines tomato, eggplant and tasty “ricotta salata”. Swordfish and tuna dishes abound, especially in May and June.
Sicilian street food is something unforgettable: “Arancine” are fried rice balls resemble oranges - the Italian word for orange is arancia. They can be stuffed with a variety of mixtures, but a meat sauce, or ragu, is the most traditional. “Panelle” - Sicilian Chickpea Fritters - are made from chick-pea flour that may be of Arab origin. Panelle and Arancine are a favorite snack food to the Sicilians, found in fryshops, on the street by vendors, in the airport or even in some gas stations!
But the Sicilian tooth is most glorious when it's sweet. Sicilians think nothing of having a brioche stuffed with ice cream for breakfast. Try it, if you dare.”Cannoli” and “cassata” we've all tasted, but rarely have we encountered anything as dazzling as “frutta Martorana”, perfectly authentic looking marzipan fruits and vegetables originally made by the nuns of the Martorana convent.
Furthermore Sicily offers a great variety of wines and extra-virgin olive oil.
Sciacca (pronounced she -a -kaa) is a colourful town full of art and artists. A bustling, sunny, thermal spa town on the south-west coast of Sicily, Sciacca boasts warm sulphuric springs, clay rich in healing minerals, and natural sauna caves. The area has been populated - thanks to its Thermae - since the Greeks arrived in 5th Century BC.
Sciacca's coastline is beautiful, with a crystal-clear, turquoise sea, and unspoilt sandy beaches. The city of Sciacca has about 25 km of coastline alternating sandy beaches and steep or jagged cliffs, and offers to its visitors the opportunity to discover and choose between wild environments and well serviced beaches.
There is an impressive fishing port, where an abundance of fresh seafood (Sardines, Prawns, Langoustines, Sword Fish, Tuna, Cod etc) can be obtained daily from fish stalls, and the 400 or more fishing boats moored alongside the harbour walls - the main international export being canned and salted blue fish such as Sardines and Anchovies.
There is a large, bustling street market held every Saturday morning in the district of San Michele. Full of local atmosphere, the loud, animated market traders sell everything from marinated olives, local cheeses, cured meats, seasonal fruit and veg, fresh meat and seafood, to designer clothes and ethnic jewellery. It's certainly a must for the shoe and bag lover with huge bargains to be had on leather goods.
Important wines and olive oils are made in the region: Planeta wines and oils (on the menu at Hotel du Vin in the UK); Cantina Settesoli wines on sale at M&S, supermarkets and wine merchants; Marsala fortified wine from the nearby town from whence it gets its name - the most notable Marsala wineries being that of Corvo and Florio. Planeta is really worth a visit and wine tasting sessions can be arranged in advance.
Sciacca holds various religious Festas and processions throughout the year, a favourite Festa being that of Ferragosto (held annually on 15th August) where a majestic marble statue of Sciacca's patron saint, La Madonna del Soccorso, is carried barefoot through the city streets by honoured fishermen. The Festa culminates in an impressive firework display over the harbour in the early hours of the morning. It's a really atmospheric event and not to be missed - even by the non-religious.
The official language is Italian, although most Saccensi speak in the animated local Sciacchitanu dialect amongst family and friends - if you do know some Italian don't expect to understand the local dialetto...
The Saccensi people (Sciacchitani in the local dialect) are most proud of their famous, annual Shrove Tuesday Carnevale. People come from all over Italy (and the world) to join in the festivities by following gigantic, allegorical, papier-mâché floats, and singing and dancing processions as they pass through the narrow city streets.
Sicily is steeped in a rich and varied history, its strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea making it a first stop for any unfriendly invader who happened to be sailing by. The Carthagians, Phoenicians,Greeks, Romans, Normans, and lastly the Aragons of Spain have all left their archaeological imprints on Sciacca and its surrounds - there are more Greek temples at the nearby settlements of Agrigento and Selinunte than there are in Athens! But it was the Saracens who left the biggest legacy.
The name Sciacca is of Arab origin (Xacca, meaning 'water') and the Arabian influence can still be felt through the town's art, architecture, artisan majolica ceramics and allegorical folklore. It can certainly be tasted in the rich, regional dishes that are much spicier -picante - than mainland Italy. In the nearby town of Trapani couscous is more widely eaten than pasta.
A very interesting attraction of the area is the Graham Island (better knonw as "Isola Ferdinandea"), a "non-existent" island located just a few miles away from Sciacca. The island emerged in 1831 out of the water, but in 5 months the new land, formed by spontaneous eruption, gradually sank beneath the sea down to six meters of depth. Today the sea near the island is a true natural paradise and it is possible to do scuba diving and snorkeling with organized tours departing from Sciacca.
Sciacca has one of the most beautiful squares of all Sicily: Piazza Angelo Scandaliato, a panoramic and elegant terrace in the city center facing the african sea. The city is also interesting for its historical remains: more than forty churches, over twenty historical buildings and three original city medieval gates.
A unique attraction of the city is also the Filippo Bentivegna's "Garden of Enchantements" the Sicily's famous outsider sculpture garden.
Distance to major landmarks: Palermo (~ 90 km), Temple of Segesta (~ 85 km), Temples of Selinunte (~ 30 km), Eraclea Minoa (~ 30 km), Valley of the Temples in Agrigento (~ 60 Km), Trapani (~ 100 Km), Erice (~ 95 km) nature reserve of Zingaro (~ 85 km), beaches of San Vito Lo Capo (~ 90 km), Piazza Armerina with the fabulous Roman mosaics the "Villa del Casale" (200km), Mount Etna (300 km).
Ancient building (800) completely restructured and equipped. With private parking, air conditioning, and barbeque garden.