All good things come to an end one day or another and obviously so did our trip to the beautiful island of Sicily. As we described in our first, second and third parts of our diary blog on Sicily, we’ve been enjoying ourselves going round from one village to another. Overall we managed to clock over 1,800km in just 10 days.
After we spent the first 5 days going around most of the east coast of Sicily we decided to take it easier over the next 5 days and rest for a while. Although we took it easier, we still managed to do some sightseeing and visiting some random places.
One of the villages which we enjoyed walking around was the village in which we were staying, Chiaramonte Gulfi. High in the hills of south-central Sicily, Chiaramonte Gulfi is called a “balcony” for its sweeping views of the valleys, mountains and sea. Mt. Etna looms large in the distance. Ragusa is only fifteen kilometers away, and Modica is nearby, too. Siracusa is to the east on the coast, a must see for its incredible Greek remains. Chiaramonte Gulfi is a small village with the characteristics of on older town. You could easily see that this village was built quite a few decades ago, however than again, its really well kept and you will never see any rubbish on the streets.
Something rather odd that we noticed was that in this small town there’s a total of twelve churches which mostly are in Baroque. San Giovanni Battisti is the protector of the town, and the church dedicated to him was built in the 14th century by the Knights of Malta. There is a big festa in his honor on June 24. There are many palazzi and pretty buildings around the historic center. There are also several museums, impressive for a town this size. The Pinacoteca De Vita is an art gallery dedicated to the local master, Giovanni De Vita, whose paintings are insightful and lovely. The History-Military museum puts the focus on WWI, while the Museo dell’Olio is dedicated to the area’s fine olive oil production from 1600 to the post-war period. There is a Museum of Sacred Art, a Lace and Needlework Museum, and the Liberty House Museum, with interesting art and furnishings on display. Chiaramonte Gulfi.
Right in the middle of Chiaramonte Gulfi we encountered a small restaurant, just in a short alley off the main road called Cortile Chiaramonte. This restaurant specialises in Pizza and trust me, it’s one of the best pizza’s I ever ate. First of all the setting of the restaurant is like it’s set up in a court yard, hence its name Cortile. The alley is lit up with low emitting yellowish bulbs to give it a sort of early 1900’s feel and one strange thing we noticed was that they don’t provide you with a knife. It’s just a fork and a pizza cutter.
This restaurant was definitely one of our favourites in Chiaramonte Gulfi and we urge everyone that is in the vicinity to stop there and sample their mouthwatering pizza. I can still taste that delicious crust 🙂
Another memorable mention in our last blog regarding our lovely trip to Sicily must be to the olive oil industry in Chiaramonte Gulfi. As soon as you reach this village the first thing you’ll notice is that there’s a lot of of olive trees all over the village. In fact we had a 15 minute drive to get from our guesthouse to the centre of the village, along these 15 minutes all you’ll see is olive trees. In fact Chiaramonte Gulfi produces a highly rated olive oil, accredited with the Denominazione d’Origine Protetta (DOP). The olive oil industry is one of Chiaramonte Gulfi’s most important exports as it generates a lot of income for this village.
In order to end this blog I must post some other pictures that we took while driving around the east coast of Sicily. It’s so peaceful driving around for hours without any traffic! Definitely something that we can’t do in our home country of Malta! Until we meet again, thank you dear Sicilia. You’ve been amazing!