Weekend in Petralia Soprana, among the most beautiful villages in Sicily
It all began on a beautiful sunny day, under a clear blue sky, surrounded by luscious green fields and mountains. Along the road to Petralia Soprana, a village located in the heart of Sicily, we quickly noticed pastures dotted with cows and sheeps…and we could not imagine yet that it was something we were about to experience, making a dream of since we were little girls come true, like turning back the clock. One in Petralia, our eyes then became drawn to the little iron balconies made by the skilled local artisans, that were perfectly blending in with the rock facade. There was a magical atmosphere.
We relived the authenticity of times gone by not only with our eyes but also our taste, buds with typical products at Km 0, or better, how the “Supranisi” like to call it, at Mt 0: in this village, nature is consistently gifting the real flavours of the Sicilian earth, from the homemade bread with olive oil to the soups made from lentils and chickpeas grown in the neighbouring lands, and finally to the pasta made from flour worked in artisan stone milling plants with ancient grains.
While strolling through the streets of Petralia Soprana, searching for churches rich with Arab and Madonite Baroque influences, we encounter the Belvedere, which we reached after following a brief trail. It is here that any traveller is offered a stunning view: at sunset, the sun and the moon meet, greeting one another fleetingly; in the distance, we see an illuminated Gangi, one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily. Here our guide, Agostino, narrates the story of “Petra” with a poem that leaves us all fascinated.
Our day comes to an end with the warm hospitality of a house in the village that has been transformed into a welcoming B&B. In the morning we are gently awoken by the aroma of coffee prepared with the Moka like they used to do it, with freshly baked tarts, homemade orange and blackberry jams, fresh ricotta, cinnamon biscuits and brioche dusted with sugar that has just come out of the town baker’s oven. The second day begins with an adventure into an underground world “ The Salt Mine”: a guided visit to and active rock salt deposit formed millions of years ago where one can find a gallery filled with contemporary art sculptures made only of rock salt…Entering these caves is like entering another dimension. Your eyes and ears transport you to the daily life of the miners that till nowadays, work swiftly to produce, amongst other things, table salt.
We return to the open air to enjoy the rest of the day at one with nature. Our hosts guide us to a local farm where we are introduced to the farmers, who happily tell us about their day to day chores like tending to the pastures, the milking and the productions of the various cheeses, some of which we were lucky enough to taste since they were made fresh just for us…caglio, ricotta, tuma…an array of flavours!! At this point, Roberta requested to try to milk a cow and drink the milk, and once approval was given, she was able to live her childhood dream: wearing the appropriate outfit and boots, off she went to milk a cow known as Maria, to feed the sheep, to hold a little lamb born only the day before, all unique sensations and experiences filled with joy and above all, laced with tradition.
However, Petralia Soprana is also permaculture and regenerative agriculture: as a matter of fact, we were hosted in an old country house where every element of nature is being reused or transformed, and where warm hospitality and kindness from a group of special people, made us feel like we were at home, just like the series “add a place at the table as we have an extra friend”…
We left our new found friends and with a wealth of experiences to share with our fellow travellers, we returned home delighted with the adventures that were able to take our senses on, even more, aware that Sicily does not refrain from offering its visitors amazing discoveries.
We are ready for a new experience…and you?