Sicily is famous for its enological tradition: the wine areas of the region are among the most productive in Italy and, between the end of summer and the beginning of fall, it’s time for the grape harvest.
Organizing a trip in this period of the year allows you to enjoy the beauties of the island without the scorching heat you would find in July and August, lose yourself in the nature and look at the chromatic changes and join a tasting tour around the most important Sicilian wine companies. The grape harvest is a tradition, but where should you go to totally live this experience?
Here 5 destinations you can’t miss, are you ready to go?
The first stop of our journey is in the province of Trapani, in Marsala. It’s the area with the highest quantity of grape production in Italy and that’s not all. Thanks to the celebrated Marsala, for sure the most known wine, it excels throughout Europe. Once you arrive in the city, in the port Garibaldi landed in, in 1860, you can’t miss the archeological site of the Roman age around Capo Boeo and of course the charming Salt Road that will lead you toward the saltworks and the lagoon known as Stagnone. It’s a natural reserve with great historical value, Mothya is the jewel that will surprise you.
AGRIGENTO AND THE SURROUNDING AREA
One of the gems of the Sicilian grape harvest is the province of Agrigento. In terms of quantity of wine, it finishes behind the area of Trapani: Menfi, Sambuca di Sicilia, Sciacca and Santa Margherita di Belice are the feather in the cap thanks to DOC productions known all around Italy. After a tour around the wine cellars of this region, you can’t miss a stop in the main city. Agrigento seduces the tourists with the Valley of Temples, a stated World Heritage Site, where it’s possible to admire the astonishing Temple of Concordia and to be enchanted by the suggestive atmospheres of a distant age that is still alive in the present.
PANTELLERIA AND LIPARI
The charm of Sicily goes beyond the borders of the island and makes landfall on the other islands, they’re smaller but with many incomparable panoramic attractions. And for the wine lovers, is there any better season to visit them? Pantelleria, pearl of the Mediterranean, is famous for the traditional agricultural practice of cultivating the ‘vite ad alberello’ (head-trained bush vines) inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2014. The area offers a nature reserve with a huge volcanic lake (Venus’ mirror) and an archeological site with the remnants of its prehistoric age.
Lipari, on the contrary, is located in front of the northern coast of Sicily, belongs to the Aeolian archipelago and is renowned for malvasia, a wine obtained from withered grapes and is considered a Sicilian masterpiece, as well as one of the most ancient ones. Once you arrive there, in addition to the Castle and the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, it’s ideal to rent a boat and explore the other Aeolian wonders: Panarea, Stromboli, Salina, Vulcano and the wild Alicudi and Filicudi.
NOT ONLY PALERMO
It’s the main city of the region, a break in Palermo at the time of the grape harvest will allow you to discover not only the precious corners of the city but even the wine areas on the hills where you can taste fresh and fruity wines. The treasures in Palermo are innumerable, from the Arab-Norman Cathedral to the Royal Palace and the Palatine Chapel. And then the baroque churches, the theaters and the beach in Mondello. How can you forget about the Duomo in Monreale, paired with its splendid cloister, makes it the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Southern Sicily, especially the area between Siracusa and Ragusa, is famous for its high-quality wine: nero d’avola, moscato di Siracusa and frappato just to mention some of them, and the unforgettable Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Unmissable during the months of the grape harvest! This part of the island deserves to be lived through the historical evidence that describes it: from Siracusa and its Greek Theater, to the Archeological Site (Neapolis) and Ortigia. And then even Noto, with its Baroque style that decorates local architecture and gives this city the nickname of garden of stone. Ragusa, in the end, is characterized by a strong baroque influence too that, especially thanks to the area of Ibla, blossoms like a flower in the most southern corner of the Sicily.