Sciacca and its people, guardians of ancient traditions

Sciacca and its people, guardians of ancient traditions

Sciacca and its people, guardians of ancient traditions

Not everyone knows its origins, but some studies seem to be very ancient; it is thought, in fact, that Sciacca has been inhabited since the Neolithic era.

And it is from here that, after a long period of inactivity, we restart going around to discover new hidden gems. Like every trip, this one also has several stops and Aragona is among them: respectively Rosario and Maurizio await us, for a short but intense stop, during which they tell us the latest news, an excellent opportunity to strengthen the bonds already created in our previous stay.

After a quick lunch, we continue to Naro, a center of primary importance during the Arab period, declared a very shining city by Frederick II of Swabia. It is a small village full of baroque churches and history. Walking through the alleys we arrive at the Castle, the fortress of the village. And as in every Castle, this too contains a legend that its keeper tells us about: on a night of the full moon, the page named Beltrando, with his lute sang of his love for Giselda. However, he was surprised by his jealous husband, at the time lord of Naro. Thus, it is said that the page was killed and thrown off the tower and Madonna Giselda locked up in a dark cell until her death. It would seem that her ghost, on autumn nights, still wanders around the terrace of the castle. Enchanted by this story, we too become true castles for a few hours (obviously without a tragic end) and we experience the thrill of a breathtaking view that can be enjoyed from the top of the tower, from which you can see all the surrounding area: from the artificial lake of San Giovanni, where rowing competitions are often held at European and international level, to Caltanissetta, up to our beloved Etna.

We get lost in the empty, silent alleys where, from time to time, we hear the chime of the clock in one of the many churches. But this too has its charm and we can only enjoy a splendid and warm February day, capturing with a few shots what our eyes can admire. In the late afternoon, we continue towards Sciacca where we find Giovanna, a woman full of energy and beautiful smiles, to welcome us. We chat for a while but, being quite tired, after dinner we go to sleep, to recharge our energy since upon waking up we will have many experiences of good food and contact with nature.

Early in the morning, we are pampered by an excellent breakfast, which gives us the right sprint to start our day … off to go! Let’s take a ride in the center of Sciacca, the clear sky of a spectacular blue. Finally, the warmth of our Sicilian sun also returns. And it’s really true, you never really know the destination of a journey and this time too we see characteristic corners, we make special encounters: some elderly people, intent on playing cards sitting in a public garden, begin to tell anecdotes as we pass, they enjoy being photographed and smile with us from the heart, proud of their beloved Sciacca. But our day has just begun and lunch at the port awaits us with Giovanna and Angela, at a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the sea, where in addition to the excellent fish dishes, you can enjoy a splendid view and the scents and noises of the sea: our senses are completely satisfied!

In the afternoon we reach Giovanna’s Baglio ready for a new experience to try with chef Giovanni. You cannot imagine what and especially where! We are in the open countryside, surrounded by olive and lemon trees. What are we doing here? Around a well, fully set up, we are going to prepare the Sicilian granita as it used to be. We start by picking the lemons directly from the trees, squeezing them and the chef shows us the ancient process of preparing the granita, replacing the sugar with honey, and using the cooling method inside the basket. All this among jokes, laughter, photos … and it’s immediately a party! After about an hour of preparation, we can finally enjoy an excellent lemon granita accompanied by sesame breadsticks and brioche: what goodness!

Almost dusk, and after our tasting, we move inside the Baglio and sit in front of the woodstove to warm up and let us be pampered by Giovanna who offers us excellent homemade cookies. But that’s not all! Because now we are ready for the crochet workshop: we have gone back in time, Sicilian women who around the fire, between a chat and another, knit and create small masterpieces to take home! Tired but satisfied we go to rest. Also tomorrow many new experiences await us to try.

After breakfast, we return to the Baglio where, before putting our hands in the dough, we dedicate ourselves to a healthy walk in the midst of nature and a yoga lesson with the instructor Agata! Relaxed we reach our station, where we find an apron and rolling pin well positioned, we roll up our sleeves and here we are ready to knead … flour, water, and elbow grease!

Chef Gianluca guides us in the preparation of an excellent lunch: homemade bread, pasta of different shapes (busiate, orecchiette, and tagliatelle), which we will taste with a sauce of anchovies, fennel, tomato, almonds, and some secret ingredients that are revealed, but which of course we will keep for us: if you want to discover them, you just have to try them for yourself! To finish on a sweet note, we prepare ravioli with ricotta and chocolate chips, in other areas of Sicily called “cassatelle”. We can’t wait to taste all these delicacies! During the preparation, Gianluca tells the story of food, the origin, and properties of each ingredient, some little curiosities, and also gives us some excellent tips for cooking at our best.

Once the preparation is complete, we enjoy our lunch outdoors, keeping the necessary distance, breathing pure, joyful air, and, once again, we feel at home! So much so that at the end of the lunch, Giovanna tells us a story of other times: in that beam once lived a large family of farmers and the children, who up to eighteen had never left that place, thought that it represented the ends of the world! History of other times, history made of simplicity and authenticity!

Although once again, Sciacca and its people have given us beautiful days, it is time to go home. With a heart full of joy we greet our new friends, with whom we will certainly carry on many activities and exciting experiences.

We are ready for a new experience … and you?

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My tour of Sicily on a bike at no cost

This is the story of Cristian, 36 years old, originally from Fano, who calls himself a citizen of the world with the ambition to find out everything, not as a tourist, but as a traveler.
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