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Sicily in Photos

La Dolce Vita

While we were in Sicily, my dad and I spent a lot of time talking about La Dolce Vita, the Italian way of life that’s more laid back, indulgent, and generally beautiful. Although we’re Italian by blood (Fun fact: My maiden name is Argenti), we are certainly not living la dolce vita every day of the year. We save it for vacations and holidays.

Although we wanted to visit the ruins of Agrigento and Selinunte (Pictured below) and take the funicolare up to the mountaintop town of Erice, we also wanted to make sure that we took time for us, with a full day and a few more mornings at our pool, and multiple afternoons at the beach. As a family, we created the perfect trip with a mix of site seeing, relaxing, and living la dolce vita. There is so much I could say but I divided it up below into some of the highlights.

Selinute

Getting There

Our trip started out rough when our connecting flight from Rome to Palermo was overbooked and we ended up on the waitlist. After a 6 hour flight with a total of 0 hours of sleep, we already felt pretty horrible so that was just the icing on the cake. After some serious praying and a miracle, we made it on the flight and landed in beautiful Sicily where my family was waiting for us with a van pointed towards the beach.

We had an hour drive to a beach club/restaurant on the Western Coast of the island.

Sicily Beach

When we finally arrived after what seemed like a week of travel and even more time without sleep, I almost cried of happiness. The ocean surrounding the restaurant was turquoise blue, with a sea breeze. Heaven, pretty much. Before we even noticed the beautiful fresh buffet of Sicilian antipasti, we saw a familiar face sitting at a table in the corner, a surprising and comforting feeling when you’re on the other side of the world!

Sciacca

As I mentioned last week, fate, synchronicity, or whatever you want to call it brought us to the island at the same time as a friend of ours who we hadn’t seen in over 10 years. Eleanor, an amazing force of nature, left New Hampshire years ago to start a new life, a “dolce vita”, in Italy. She lives by the sea, travels all over the country, meeting people, seeing the sites, learning the history, and most importantly, drinking the wine. She chronicles her adventures on her blog, Uncorked in Italy. If you’re traveling to Italy anytime soon, check out her site first for insider tips on where to eat, drink, and stay.

The Villa

Sicilian Villa

We rented a villa on the Western side of the island, a conscious choice to avoid touristy areas and crowds of people. Western Sicily is a bit off the beaten path, and we only ran into a handful of Americans while we were there. We found the villa through The Thinking Traveller, an awesome service that will not only rent you a house but has a concierge service that provided us with everything from a chef to a pre-stocked fridge with our requests, to arranging bike rentals, to sending us boxes of our favorite Sicilian wine.

Pool

The house we stayed in was beautiful, very Italian, and quite. There was a gorgeous pool which was the highlight of my little brother Jackson’s trip (as he told us many times), and enough space where we all felt like we could have a little privacy. House goals, you guys. House. Goals.

The Beaches

Life Goals

The beaches in Sicily were beautiful but there were two in particular that we fell in love with. The first was Lido Scala dei Turchi which I wrote about in detail here. If you ever travel to Sicily, this is a must. It was one of the highlights of our trip!

Blue Umbrella
The second beach where we spent more time was La Pineta, a beach near our villa with an open air restaurant and beach club. It was over 90 degrees most days so eating spaghetti a la vongole, prosciutto e melone, and lemon granitas in the breezy restaurant followed by an afternoon of swimming and reading was something we ended up doing more than once!

The Food

Italian Breakfast

As you can imagine there was quite a lot of fish. I joked that we didn’t even need to take our Omega-3 (fish oil) supplements because we were eating so much of it! From marinated white anchovies to grilled branzino to swordfish pasta, I’d estimate that we ate 4-5 fish dishes per day and that isn’t even close to an exaggeration given that we had antipasti (appetizers), primi (pasta course), and secondi (fish/meat course) at every lunch and dinner. All I could think about as we flew home was green juice… No joke.

Gelato at the beach
The bad news for me is that because I can’t eat dairy, I had to skip out on the gelato. The good news is that Sicilians sell lemon granitas (like a slushie but 100x better) at every coffee shop, gelateria, and restaurant. Score!

We also drank a lot of amazing wine… Perhaps too much but it was vacation! Read more about my all time favorite sustainable Sicilian wine here.

Striped Cover Up

Blue Floral Dress

Summer Nights

Eliza J. dress, c/o Mark and Graham clutch, Design Darling tassel earrings, c/o Asha ring, Karen Walker sunnies

The main reason for our trip to Sicily was to celebrate my 30th birthday. My dad and his wife told me to pick anywhere in the world (within reason, Antarctica probs wasn’t an option) and we would go as a family for a true summer vacation. Although we’re Italian and have spent a lot of time and many a summer in Italy, I’d never been to the island of Sicily so that is what I chose. Our week there was pretty amazing (see more photos on Instagram) and I’ll give you a big recap of the highlights of our trip later this week.

On one of our last nights on the island, we dressed up for dinner at Da Vittorio, a traditional Sicilian restaurant with spectacular views as my formal birthday celebration. Per most of our meals, we indulged on antipasti, followed by pasta, followed by fresh fish, followed by lemon granitas. With copious amounts of wine, of course (I literally cannot button a pair of shorts that I wore a week before we left!).

Between courses, we headed to the beach to take some photos and my little brother Jackson wanted in on the fun yet again so we made it a bit of a group shoot!

I love this floral dress for summer nights because it’s forgiving, flattering, and colorful. I plan to wear it to a summer wedding we’re going to in August as well.

Monogrammed Clutch

Blue Floral Dress

Sister on the beach

Sicily Beach at Sunset

Boys on the beach

Floral Cocktail Dress

Sicily Beach

This month’s wellness tip:

Have 5 free minutes? Complete 10 sun salutations. This always makes me fell 100% better physically and emotionally in very little time!

View all wellness posts >>

The Turkish Steps

Bathing at Turkish Steps

Mara Hoffman swimsuit, c/o Eric Javits hat

Sicily is a beautiful island, but nothing so far has compared to the beauty of the Turkish Steps (Scala dei Turchi).  The steps are sparkling white rocks, jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea. From afar, it looks like stairs, hence the name. Back in the day, Arab pirates (referred to as Turks) anchored their boats here to protect them from the wind while they robbed and pillaged surrounding towns. Today, it’s a tourist attraction different from anything I’ve ever seen in my life.

I originally saw photos of the Scala dei Turchi in one of Gray Malin’s photos and was hoping that on this trip, we’d be close enough for a visit. Sure enough, they’re only 30 minutes away from our villa.

The amazing thing about the steps is that they’re beautiful from every angle. From far away they are majestic and from up close, the stark white rock against the turquoise water below makes a beautiful contrast.

We approached the steps from the beach and walked towards them with our feet in the warm water of the cove. When we finally arrived, we were so hot that we jumped off the lowest point into the incredibly salty water. We had a big laugh because I got stuck and couldn’t climb back out. I made it eventually… Then we climbed the chalky rock as high as we could without getting scared. I could have stayed there forever and am dying to go back to watch the sunset one day.

It’s hard to capture them in photos but my amazing husband Anel did an incredible job with these! I especially love the image below of all the sunbathers in different colors.

The Turkish Steps in Sicily

Sun Bathing

Dog on the Steps

Turkish Steps Sisters

Sicilian Beach

Scala dei Turchi

A lone boat

Donna Franca

Floral Maxi Dress

c/o Maggy London dress, Coach bag (similar), Madewell sandals, Ray Ban sunglasses, c/o Asha ring

Ciao from Italia! We arrived in Sicily on Saturday afternoon and have packed in so many amazing experiences and meals that it was really hard to pick which post would come first. On Sunday night, we drove out to the breathtaking Baglio Donna Franca hotel and vineyards for a tour of the winery, a delicious meal, and an unforgettable night.

It was one of those experiences that are so special, magical, and surreal that it’s hard to put into words. I’ve tried to explain it, but words don’t do it justice.

The story starts a few weeks ago when a family friend, Eleanor, who happens to also be an expert on Italian wine (read her incredible adventures here) had read on Lemon Stripes that we were heading to Sicily. She lives in Italy and offered to take us to one of her favorite wineries on the island to meet the owners, try the organic wines, and eat at their restaurant. It sounded too good to be true!

Cactus

We arrived at the Baglio Donna Franca at around 6 and met the husband and wife owners, Giacomo and Paola, who bought the place 10 years ago, completely renovated it, and have dedicated their lives to studying and creating organic, natural wines. We got a tour of the grounds including a peek into the basement where they keep their “vino perpetuo”, a very rare and special wine that I literally cannot explain but part of it is that they add more wine to it every year to mix with the year before. This process has been going on for over 50 years!

Floral Dress

For dinner, we started with Giacomo’s white variety paired with a platter of seafood antipasti. We ate sardines wrapped with breadcrumbs and lemon rinds (sounds weird but it was out of this world), tuna marinated in a sweet sauce, fish cakes, and octopus. The secondi (pasta course) was hand made pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil with local fish caught earlier that day. We then moved on to branzino followed by a lemon semifreddo cake and dessert wine.

Vineyards of Sicily

While we ate, Giacomo and Paola explained to us that their restaurant isn’t just a restaurant, instead it’s “their kitchen that they share with people they love.” Their hotel isn’t just a hotel, it’s “a home for family near and far”, and they don’t make wine for money or prestige, they “make wine for their hearts and souls.”  Seriously could these people have a better attitude?

Cocktails at Sunset

After dinner, we retired to the lobby of the hotel where Paola played the piano for us. Then, of course, my little brother Jackson jumped on for his lovely rendition of Twinkle Twinkle.

Maggy London Maxi Dress

The night ended with baci, hugs, and promises to return. I will never in my life forget this night and hope to take just a small piece of the lessons we learned from Giacomo back to reality with me.

Champagne

Quotable:

“Cambiare tutto perché niente cambi. (If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.)”

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

Red Stripes

Red Stripes

J.Crew striped shirt and neon shorts, Madewell Panama hat, c/o Asha ring, Jack Rogers sandals, Ray Ban aviators

Bongiorno from Italia, amici! It’s already been a crazy amazing whirlwind of blue waters and red wines. Whenever I’m in Italy, my heart and soul are their happiest selves and I can say that this time is no different. I feel so lucky to be ringing in my 30s with my incredible family in my favorite country.

I have so many amazing posts that I’m creating for you guys later this week and next but also trying to savor my vacation and not work too hard.

I AM, however, keeping up on social, so I hope you’re following all of the fun on Instagram and Snapchat (Username: @lemonstripes).

We shot these photos upon arrival in Bermuda last week on the adorable front porch of the Rosedon Hotel. I love the contrast of my classic red striped shirt with the blue and white background.

Con tanto amore, xoxo!

Red on Red

Summer Travel Look

Panama Hat

Parisian Summer

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