Finally I can find time to share with you the photos we shot this summer during a trip to the mountains in Ghigo di Prali. I already wrote a long post about Prali click here
Ever since I was born I have spent part of my summer in that delicious village of Val Germanasca, best known for its “Thirteen lakes” reachable by a chair lift that from the 1450 metres at the base rises to 2460, on which, for I don’t know what reason I had personally never been. Clicking on this link you will find a post on Prali written when I had time to dedicate to the blog, rich with information on this delicious Alpine locality.
This summer we decided to take a brief holiday also to escape from the Milanese heat and we finally reached my beloved Prali choosing the August bank Holiday when there is the Great Market that attracts hundreds of visitors from everywhere, who joined with the tourists to create a good amount of confusion to have their chair lift baptism..
Lunch at the restaurant “La Capannina”, a brief break on the terrace of the same from where you can enjoy a breathtaking spectacle with mountains all-round and then on to discovering the “thirteen lakes”.
The splendid day and the enchanting walk lead us, to shoot our photos, to choose unusual places and situations (check out the goats) that lead us, unbeknownst to us, far from the chair lift that at a certain time, now quite near, will end its course.
Panic! The idea of finding ourselves in an unknown place, high in the mountains, with the perspective of having to go down through pine trees and stones without knowing the way at all covering a drop of one thousand metres terrorized us more than just a little. Luckily all ended well. At the last moment we were able to identify the direction to follow to reach the station in time for the return.
I hope that you liked the posted photos. We left part of our heart in those magic places. Sami
Verdura Resort, Sciacca, a happy oasis where you can eat, relax and enjoy sport.
If you are looking for a resort in Sicily you need to go in Verdura Resort, a real heaven on earth. If you choose this resort, you’ll not stay in a room but in a full comfort extra luxury home with two kilometers of sea coast. Being at this resort is like living in the Maldives: it’s one of the most prestigious resorts in all the isle.
Verdura resort is located in Sciacca, a beautiful area near Agrigento, and whoever decides to visit Sciacca dreams of being in this extra luxurious place. Many VIPs go to this resort too. Inside the structure you’ll find so many restaurants where you’ll taste traditional Sicilian foods like fresh seafoods cooked with the olive oil of the Verdura Agricultural Society. They make a very scrupulous check of the quality of the products before selling them to consumers. Besides, the Verdura Resort Society also produces some fruits and vegetables like Sicilian almonds, herbs, lemons, oranges and vegetables.
And that’s not all. The attractions you will find in this wonderful place are uncountable. Your journey will be ended before you realize it is beginning, it was what happened to me. For example, let’s talk about the SPA: I think it’s something supreme; inside it has everything … even hairdressers! You probably will not be able to try all the comforts and services of relax area with a full day at the SPA. The Width of this area is 4000 square meters and eleven rooms are reserved for couples sauna and massages. It’s not a dream, everything is true!
The structure has a golf course too and it’s really ample. Opening a very qualified golf course was one of the main dreams of Sir. Rocco Forte, one of the founders of Verdura Resort, and he did it with the help of the Californian architect Kyle Phillips who made a state-of-the-art resort. And this one is not only among the best golf resorts in Sicily: it’s one of the best and award-winning golf resorts in Italy! The European Tour Sicilian Open 2012 took place here too.
If you don’t like golf, or only like to watch it on tv, you can do some fitness and swimming activities. Verdura resort has a 170 square meter gym and all around this area there are swimming pools and watercourses.
When you have done all these activities your day is certainly ended and your main desire is to go back into your room. Room? Like I said, it’s not a simple room but a villa! I stayed for my 5 days of Verdura Resort in a really priviledged house called “Presidential Suite”. It was the top: a 165 square meter home with everything a girl can dream of inside. My dream became real for those 5 days and I wish it will do for you too.
The traditions of Ortigia amogst the Hellenic columns and everyday life
Ortigia: you can feel the history of Ortigia, an area of Syracuse, in the everyday life, walking through streets, eating foods, looking at buildings and the columned structures. Many witnesses demonstrate that this history is closely linked with the Hellenic colonization: also the Greek historian known as Tucidide talked about that. A very suggestive testimony is represented by columns of tempio di Apollo. You can see this temple by walking through Ponte Umbertino, at the beginning of Ortigia: in this way you’ll see two very beautiful things together, Umbertino bridge and Tempio di Apollo. Umbertino bridge is in fact a very romantic place: my advice, you have to see it after sunset, when everything will be more folkloristic and dreamier then ever.
I had my vacation in Ortigia some months ago and I discovered that this place is the most ancient area of Siracuse; it was the heart of the city for political and religious activities in the Hellenic age.
What to visit in Ortigia
Here we are, I’m talking about Ortigia and I feel like I’m there again, losing myself in the streets and traditions. Life of the city revolves around piazza Duomo, where there’s the most important cathedral in town, il Duomo. Piazza Duomo is located at the highest point of Ortigia and its architectural structure is like a jewel made 2400 years ago.
All the historical attractions of the town are not so far from this square: Ortigia’s area is extended over less than two square kilometers. For example, not so far from Piazza Duomo you will find Tempio di Apollo, located in Piazza Pancali. It’s the most ancient temple in town and it has undergone many changes over the years.
You have to visit Castello di Maniace too, it was built in the Swabian age in Syracuse, and Fonte Aretusa, a very beautiful reflected pool where the legend of Aretusa and Alfeo was set.
But now let’s talk about one of the most folkloristic things in the city: Ortigia Market in Syracuse. In this place, you’ll feel the real soul of the town and purchase fresh fish and fruit. If you are hungry, along the way you’ll find some street fast food where you can buy some typical foods like cartocci fritti, ostriche and ricci marini. My advice, you have to taste citrus fruits too: they are fantastic!
Noto is a wonderful area of Siracusa, in Sicily. The link between Noto and the birth of Baroque is really prominent and you can admire it everywhere. That’s because in 1693 there was an earthquake which destroyed all the town, so politicians had a completely new downtown built in Baroque style. They chose the most qualified architects and artists of the time.
The signs of Baroque’s that you can find in that area are much more colorful and fancy than ones you see in other places of Italy.
Where to have breakfast in Noto
Having breakfast at Noto is a great idea! You can have it walking through Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the most popular street of the city, where you will find some beautiful confectionery. There are many typical products that you must taste. Some confectionery’s names that you have to ask for: mandorla, pasta reale, frutta martorana, torrone, mustazzuoli, facciuna, biscotti, cannoli siciliani, cassata, brioche alla ricotta, granita alla mandorla e schiumone.
A place where you can go to have breakfast at Noto is “Caffè Sicilia”. The most important Italian newspaper of gourmet criticism, “Gambero Rosso”, compares this cafe with some of most beautiful historical buildings of the city to explain the supreme quality of foods it makes.
Dining in Noto
Dining in Noto is a wonderful idea too! If you want my advice, the best choice you can make for dining there is caponata with local tomatoes, but before eating that you must to taste a very special Sicilian appetizer: arancini. Another typical food is ricci (sea urchins): at Noto, the seafood is totally fresh and you can also eat it without dressing.
I will list below some of my favorite restaurants to dine out in Noto. All of these are not so far from downtown.
If you are looking for an elegant location to eat, you have to go to “Manna”. It’s a not expensive restaurant and the quality of menus is superlative. Here you can eat sea snails, lampshades and anchovy burgers. Pasta is tasty too.
If you want to dine in a cheap typical fast food, the right thing to do is to drop by “Arancina Planet”: there you will taste some exquisite arancini with pistachio and speck, good sandwiches and fried products.
If you are visiting monuments in via Cavour and you don’t want to wait even a minute for your dinner, a special place to go is “Bedda Matri”. There you will eat perfect handmade pasta: you must ask for gnocchi al pesto. If you don’t want pasta, you need to try veggie dishes such as parmigiana alla siciliana or ricotta, with a good wine. The best dessert is in my opinion semifreddo alle olive.
If you want to eat some land and sea appetizers or pasta with seafood, the good place is “Mood Ristorante”, located in via Ducezio. This restaurant is really cheap and you will eat much more than you are expecting to. The top fish dish is pesce spada in crosta di pistacchio, that is to say sword fish in pistachio crust.