Letizia Calcamo, the delicate and elegant press officer at Maison Margiela, takes us on a 24h trip along the east coast of her paradise island : Sicily.
It is truly difficult to be a guide of all of Sicily, hence I choose to focus specifically on the region where I come from, the place where I spent a lot of my summers. This happens to be the east coast of Sicily and the Taormina region, along with a few exceptions for the stuff we can’t possibly ignore !
First off, an insider’s tip: avoid Sicily in August ! All of Italy is on vacation during this month and everyone travels to the beaches in the south, including Sicily. So do avoid this time if you are looking for an authentic vacation.
9am – The best place for a typical Sicilian breakfast in Taormina is the Bam Bar. They serve traditional artisanal granita, that is eaten with a spoon. For breakfast, I recommend the granita caffee e mandorla (coffee and almond ) . For the day, Sicilians prefer a granita with Sicilian lemons. This is THE region of Italy where you should taste this, it is truly unique.
10am – Visit the Teatro Greco and its breathtaking view of Mount Etna and Naxos Bay. The theater regularly hosts concerts, operas and even a film festival in June where you can meet celebrities like Robert de Niro or John Torturro.
11am – Time to enjoy some Sicilian cannoli (Sicilian specialty made with ricotta ) in Catania at Savia , a famous traditional pastry shop since 1897. This is also the perfect opportunity to buy fake fruits made out of marzipan, very kitsch but really good. If you prefer salty stuff, this is also one of the best places in Sicily to try an arancini or a pizzetta.
1pm : Lunch at Pizzichella, a seafood restaurant on the Isola Bella beach. The restaurant has a stunning view on the small peninsula of Isola Bella and proposes a menu with Sicilian specialties made from regional products such as gnocchi with pistachio , swordfish involtinis or pasta with tuna and capers. Do not hesitate to ask for the daily specials, the chef creates them based on catch of the day!
2.30pm – The restaurant also offers a boat trip service in the Bay of Taormina and the Aeolian Islands. I highly recommend discovering the Aeolian Islands which pretty much deserve a guide to themselves. Do not miss the romantic dinner on a boat facing the Stromboli and it’s volcano in constant eruption. It is magical !
4pm – It’s time to treat yourself. There is nothing better than a visit to the Verdura Resort Hotel Spa in the province of Agrigento. We are no longer in Taormina but this hotel and spa are truly worth the trip. This is one of the finest hotels in Sicily. The spa uses organic products made from local produce, almonds, lemons, olives and oranges.
7pm – To admire the sunset with a Spritz in hand, I recommend the terrace of the Grand Hotel Timeo and its exceptional views over the bay of Taormina. Not to be missed!
9pm – Taormina has several excellent gourmet restaurants but to have a more authentic experience, I recommend the pizzeria Il Tocco in Acireale. They have amazing wood baked pizza in a beautiful setting overlooking the golf of Catania. Ask for a table on the terrace of the first or second floor, these spots are nicer than the last floor.
12am – I like to have a drink at Ibiscus Garden in Taormina. This is the terrace of the Morgana cocktail bar, decorated in Sicilian style with orange trees and mosaics characteristic of Caltagirone . One can also dance there in the summer.
2am – The Sicilian nights are very different from other European capitals ! The DJs speak through the microphones (a lot) and do not hesitate to put the worst classic Italian music which makes Sicilians sing and dance like you have never seen. The ideal is to go dancing in bars or beach restaurants that turn into clubs. I recommend the Meridien, a friend organizes parties there which always end up on the beach!
5am – The tradition when spending the night out in Sicily, is to knock on the door of a bakery to taste the cornetti that have freshly come out of the oven ! It is a kind of croissant stuffed with chocolate or cream , and it is absolutely delicious.
Via Giovanni di Giovanni, 45, 98039 Taormina ME
Via del Teatro Greco, 1, 98039 Taormina ME
Via Etnea, 302/304, 95131 Catania CT
Via Spiaggia Isola Bella, Taormina, Me 98039
S.S. 115, Km 131, 92019 AG
Grand Hotel Timeo
Via Teatro Greco, 59, 98039 Taormina ME
Via dello Ionio, 38, 95024 Acireale CT
Scesa Morgana, 4, 98039 Taormina ME
Meridien Beach Lounge
Via Nazionale Spisone,Taormina Me