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Western Sicily: what to see in 3 days

Visiting Western Sicily in 3 days is a tour de force and, as always, at the end of each trip, I think back to what was the most important and interesting experience to tell.

There were many discoveries, emotions felt, people met and new things learned, what I am telling you is a summary with the underlining of some of the most interesting points of this trip.

A business trip, during which I was able to dedicate a few hours to the activities I prefer: the discovery of new tourist destinations, local traditions, food and wine, stories and culture of the place visited.

Western Sicily: what to see – Day 1

I left Bologna with arrival at Birgi airport (province of Trapani) and then by car to Castelvetrano but, thanks to my host, with a small detour I discovered Gibellina, or rather, Gibellina Nuova.
Founded after the Belìce earthquake of 1968 that completely destroyed the old Gibellina. It is a "New Town" dotted with works of art and installations created by famous architects, artists and intellectuals who have given them to this ideal city.
Arriving on the state road that connects the town with the motorway, I am greeted by Pietro Consagra's star, entitled "entrance to Belìce". A steel sculpture/installation that you cross in a literal sense because it was made on the road that leads to Gibellina Nuova and is the first of the works of art that you can meet and admire.
There are over 2000 works in this small country and it is impossible to name them all without having to make a long list of names of famous artists.
Unfortunately, due to lack of time, I was unable to visit the old Gibellina where the artist Alberto Burri created the famous "cretto di Gibellina": a sort of sarcophagus in which the imprint of the city, its streets and the space of its buildings was crystallized, covering all the rubble with a layer of white concrete.

Western Sicily: what to see – Day 2

Western Sicily: what to see? Definitely Castelvetrano: a small town famous for the olives of Nocellara del Belice and for the archaeological area of Selinunte, but also for the beautiful Marinella di Salinunte, a hamlet overlooking the sea about 10 kilometers from the center of Castelvetrano.
On a sunny afternoon I went down to Marinella for a solo visit and I appreciated the very long pier that allows you to see the village of Marinella as the fishermen see it coming from the sea.
An ideal place to relax and take some time for yourself, perhaps enjoying a nice lemon granita.
In the evening we moved to Mazzara del Vallo, where I walked along the Giuseppe Mazzini promenade and at the height of the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour, on which stands the sculpture of Count Ruggero defeating the Saracen Mokarda, we entered the Kasbah, the beating heart of this city, characterized by narrow streets with a strong reference to the Arab medinas; a centre that was once surrounded by Norman walls.
I had dinner at Trattoria Kasbah and, true to its name, I also found a strong Arabic influence in the kitchen: the inevitable fish couscous, the stuffed brik, but also the tasty panelle and busiate with red prawns.
The wine was a fresh surprise, a white wine from the Ferreri winery, an IGP "Catarratto" vine cultivated since 1600 in these lands.
A wooden ramp, which seemed to be fixed on the step, allowed a quick and comfortable entrance to the restaurant.

Western Sicily: what to see – Day 3

On the last evening I was in Memphis where I had dinner in a place of enchantment (as the name of Arabic derivation suggests) at Maharia.
It is located inside the Palazzo Planeta, a palace of the second half of the eighteenth century, where in the inner courtyard I discovered a hundred-year-old bougainvillea (it seems to be more than 200 years old and that it is the oldest in Europe) which, starting from one side of the inner courtyard, climbs up to the top of the building, protecting with its branches, leaves and beautiful flowers, the entire inner courtyard.
In this Palace, home to the Enoteca which is part of the "Terre Sicane" Wine Roads circuit, you can have guided tastings of over 200 labels, to discover the wines of the whole island.
We sat in the inner garden and had a tasting of local gastronomic specialties such as fried and grilled meats, where there is never a shortage of black pig sausage from Nebrodi rigorously cut with a knife, without forgetting a selection of local cheeses and cold cuts.
The wine that accompanied our meal was Ti Vitti from the Barbera farm. An Inzolia doc from Menfi, which owes its name to a famous card game that all Sicilian children know and have practiced since childhood, and not only.

Accessibility and holidays: Resuming flying after two years

It was the first trip by plane, after more than two years of various isolations.
I thought that the check-in and boarding procedures had become more complicated, but to my surprise, everything turned out to be simple and the only indication still in force is the obligation to wear a mask during the flight.
Bologna airport is now an international and super efficient airport, while at Birgi airport, despite being small, I found punctual services and the availability of all the staff.
I would like to point out that in Birgi the most interesting shops are located after the security check, on the upper floor, but if you need assistance you will have to stay on the ground floor :-(.
You can always ask, as I did, for the possibility of going to the first floor with the elevator to make some purchases before returning; I'm sure if there's not too much confusion, it won't be a problem!
In general, I found good accessibility everywhere in the venues I visited.
Where to stay in Sicily

Unfortunately we don't know how many facilities can offer accessible holidays in Sicily, we point out the only structure we are sure of, Casa Damma, you can find all the information at this link

I recommend a book

A special thanks to my host Alessandro La Grassa who guided me to discover these excellences of the Sicilian island. Not only did he escort me and act as a guide in these 3 days to discover Western Sicily, but he also gave me a book that tells the story of the Belìce earthquake and a season of struggles, political reflections of civil disobedience.

The ministers from heaven, the peasants of Belìce tell their stories, by Lorenzo Barbera with texts by Goffredo Fofi and Alessandro La Grassa.

Book cover The Ministers from Heaven in the photo the Belice earthquake with donkeys passing on the street between the destroyed houses - sicilia-occidentale-cosa-vedere
The Ministers from Heaven – The Peasants of Belìce Tell Their Stories by Lorenzo Barbera with texts by Goffredo Fofi and Alessandro La Grassa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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