experience - people

“Leoni di Sicilia”

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A journey started in Trapani, carried on through the amazing atmosphere of Sicily and its extraordinary and welcoming people.

This journey begins with the purchase of a book, “Leoni Sicilia” by Stefania Auci, which tells the saga of the Florio family. For some time I hadn’t read such a pleasant novel, where great history and great literature culminate in simplicity. Subsequence of happenings and human feelings emerging from the narration accompany me since the first steps of my journey starting in Trapani.

Welcomed by an asphyxiating heat, I reach the airport of Trapani in the early afternoon. To me, it seems to be landed in Libya. A very hot wind leaves me breathless. I immediately take a taxi. I can’t wait to retreat myself with air conditioning of the hotel room. After a 20 minutes travel I get to Relais Antiche Saline.

The hotel is located exactly in the heart of the Trapani’s salt pans, with a breathtaking view just in front of my room. Backlit, the island of Favignana stands out solemnly; I already begin to foretaste the sunset that awaits me. I am kindly welcomed, and without thinking about it twice, I reach my room enjoying a snack with a delicious fruit salad and a coffee. During the hottest hours of the day, I take profit of the air conditioning. The view from my room offers me a wonderful sea panorama. I take an afternoon nap dreaming that when waking up I will be in Sicily.

The sunset reflects on the salt pans while a few steps from the hotel there is an old mill once used for salt-processing. I take a walk and after a while I get hungry, as usual.
Baldo, a taxi driver, takes me to Trapani. Baldo is young, even if not too young; he talks a lot and I enjoy listening to him. I get off a few steps away from the pedestrian area of the historic center. Trapani is a city that appear to be left behind in time. It seems that everything stands firm in the 70’s.

It’s sunset time, a few families are having a little walk on the seafront, someone eats lupins and sips a Peroni beer.

The seafront is decadent as well as the old town, it gives the impression of being in a land abandoned by the state. Even the faces of the people from the city are decadent, I look for a restaurant, I eat and I go to bed.

Today I am going to Favignana. I greet the Salt Pans while Baldo, my wearisome driver, takes me to the port of Trapani, which this morning seems more beautiful to me. Seen through the first lights of the morning, the city is already very active, and the area of the port is in great ferment for the departures and arrivals of the ferries to the Egadi. In the bars on the opposite side of the port, tourists devour granitas, bomboloni and arancini, I am having  a coffee.

Before embarking, I take a picture of the commander of the hydrofoil who smiles warmly at me without hinting that on his boat I would freeze due to the exaggerated temperature of the air conditioner.

Once arrived in Favignana, an intense island atmosphere welcomes me. I finally feel the smell of the sea instead of  the sodium nauseating one typical Trapani’s salt pans.
The first night I am a guest of the Resort called I Pretti, located in a strategic position only a short walk from the centre of the village; right in front of the port overlooking the beautiful tuna fishing net once belonging to the above mentioned family Florio.
The director, welcoming, shows me the beautiful terrace of the hotel from which you can admire the island with a 360-degree view. Then I go to my room, fruit salad and nap. I am a man who appreciates routine.

Pretti Resort’s director gives me a recommendation for dinner: L’Alencio holiday farm. As a place, it’s a good on to admire the sunset tasting typical local dishes. I eat an oven-baked ombrina with potatoes accompanied by a glass of sublime cataract white wine. The sun rests on the sea.

The second day in Favignana is surely less hot. I take the opportunity of the proximity to the port and I rent a scooter with which going around the island. I leave in search of a beach where to swim. The island is very dry and flat, in fact I meet many cyclists mostly turning it with electric bikes. I reach the beach of Lido Burrone, a very convenient one, on the contrary of to the most famous Bue Marino and Cala Rossa. I take a bath making Commissioner Montalbano (Andrea Camilleri) envy and when lunch time comes, I randomly stop in a bar on the beach of Cala Trono called La Costa. 
Unexpectedly, I eat a couscous and a spectacular pane cunzato. This bar, subsequently becomes my reference Favignanese’s lunch, making mecoming back to eat for two days in a row. Low prices and great food with a very high product quality.

I change hotel. I greet I Pretti Resort heading to the center of the island moving towards to the countryside, always a stone’s throw from the sea. There, another hotel will host me for the next two days.
I nimbly move with my scooter and after a few kilometers I reach Il Baglio sull’acqua, an enchanting oasis in the middle of the barren island countryside.

I am welcomed by the owner, Blasco, a very elegant man from Palermo. Among his thousand commitments, he finds the time to give me a few tips and inviting me for a dinner. I reach my room, I fall asleep and when I wake up I drink a mint tea. The atmosphere of this beam surrounded by nature inspires me. The architecture reminds me vaguely of Morocco and the red stones of Marrakech. A Moroccan kind waiter, whose name I can’t remember, will serve me a mint tea every afternoon at five o’clock, accompanied by homemade biscuits. What more could I ask for? I leave my room and reach the pool.

Il Baglio sull’acqua is an ideal place to relax, there is an almost mystical respect for silence and guests.

The swimming pool overlooks the sea, I swim a bit waiting for the sunset while I watch the seagulls coming to drink in the fountain of the patio. Magically the evening falls.

Of course, I accept the invitation to dinner of Blasco and at 20:30 I meet him at the restaurant of the hotel called Aziza. Since the appetizer, I recognize an octopus cooked at low temperature, and I figure out to be in a place where there is ambition in the kitchen. Then I get a simple spaghetti with tomato sauce that confirms that I’m in the hands of a chef who knows a lot about it. After the dessert I go directly to the kitchen and I take a picture of him and his brigade. Very very good.