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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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.