Exploring Sicily by driving around the island is a perfect experience to plan during the summer. Where to go. Dimensione Sicilia offers a series of self-drive itineraries to travel the most iconic places in the area, including the tour The Florios of Sicily: Discovering Their Places. On board a rental car, you will drive through smaller towns and cities, visit monuments and do activities related to a family that marked Sicilian history.
It was 1799 when the Florios reached Palermo arriving from Bagnara Calabra. They, with ambitions and aspirations for wealth managed to become powerful and wealthy. Not noble but enterprising, able to contribute to an unprecedented economic momentum. Yet, “Palermo observes the Florios’ expansion with amazement, but pride is diluted into envy and contempt: those successful men still remain ‘foreigners,’ ‘porters’ whose blood stinks of sweat”. (The Florios of Sicily, Stefania Auci – 2019).
The self-drive tour The Florios of Sicily: Discovering Their Places is an 8-day tale that starts in Palermo where a guide will lead visitors through the neighborhoods where, upon their arrival, the Florio family settled. It starts from the Quartiere della Loggia, continuing on to the Vucciria and through the narrow streets of the historic center to the famous Villino Florio, a masterpiece of Palermo’s Art Nouveau style. There will also be no shortage of stops at classic monuments such as the Cathedral and the Palatine Chapel with a treat for the palate, namely a gastronomic break at the Antica Focacceria San Francesco.
One of the most striking stops before leaving Palermo? The Palazzina dei Quattro Pizzi, the brainchild of architect Giachery, is characterized by a neo-Gothic style as well as housing legendary relics belonging to the family.
…to Trapani and beyond…
Having turned on the car engine, it’s back on the road in the direction of Trapani. It is in this province that we head into the heart of the tour The Florios of Sicily: Discovering Their Places. Loaded after a hearty breakfast, one will discover the history of the Phoenicians on the island of Mothia (owned by the Whitaker Foundation of Palermo) and then cheer the spirit with the delicious wine of the Cantine Florio among cooperages and tastings, and finally venture toward Marsala, there where Garibaldi landed in May 1860. What will strike the traveler’s eye? The mélange of shades of sea and land, the blue, the fiery sunset and the green vineyards.
…diving in Favignana!
One of the most indelible memories of this tour will be the magic of Favignana; falling in love with this Egadi jewel will not be difficult. If you are wondering why it is part of the itinerary, the answer is simple: this is where the Florios spent their vacation for years. There will be no shortage of opportunities to delve into the beauty of the Palazzo Florio, located near the port and once the living room where Ignazio Florio Jr. and Donna Franca received friends during the slaughter period, as well as inside the Tonnara, officially named Ex Stabilimento Florio and a splendid example of industrial archaeology complete with an interactive museum.
And yes, don’t worry…there will be time to dive into Favignana’s crystal clear waters, take a boat ride and take advantage of a pleasant evening downtown.
Time to head back…
Before heading back to Palermo, the tour The Florios of Sicily: Discovering Their Places includes a stop in Scopello, one of Sicily’s top attractions, where you can take a swim in the Faraglioni beach and sample traditional pane cunzato bread. It begins to get time to head home, not before seeing Castellammare del Golfo. This town retains an ancient heart where white houses and a castle with an Aragonese tower dominate the landscape.