Sicily is certainly the ideal place to get , through aromas and flavors, the millenarian mixture of races and traditions that have influenced its history and to understand the many faces of an island that has been able to enhance the differences also in the eating habits. All peoples, who have marked its history, have attempted to reproduce the value system belonging to the cultural background, and among them the traditional cuisine, considered as a identity and distinguishing feature.
Through this route the worlds of fishing, agriculture, breeding and local productions meet with that of the haute cuisine through productions of high quality which use and elaborate, even in a modern way, products related to ancient civilizations and that are based on the Mediterranean diet, heritage in the Unesco Intangible list. Their landscapes have never been seen as single attractors, but always as a support to other heritages . With this route we want to exalt their admirable attractiveness, their allure to support the wide appeal that taste has always created , especially in Sicily, which, for some aspects, is the essence and synthesis of the Mediterranean diet.
1) POLLINA (PA) –The Manna Museum
Inside the Madonie Park, the Museum offers a fascinating journey in order to discover the history of manna from the historical, economic, mystical and also naturalistic point of view. The landscape of Manna flows through the amenities of the Madonie, a treasure chest to be explored and tasted.
2) MARSALA-The road of the Marsala wine Western Lands
A route that seals the indissoluble bond between wine and its territory, a bong which strongly characterizes the city of Marsala. An integrated system that unfolds in a series of itineraries and paths, along which are visitable places as wineries, wine cellars, vineyards. Not to forget the connections with other routes, with Motya and with the salt pans.
3) CASTELVETRANO -The Quarries
A picturesque scenery, of ancient olive trees and lush citrus groves, lies between the ancient’ Latomie ‘ (quarries where the Selinuntines drew large blocks of tufa limestone for the construction of the ancient town and visible still today). All around wonderful rows of ancient Nocellara del Belice olive trees and related products. As the grain of tumminia, with which the black bread of Castelvetrano is made , or the capers from the Cusa Quarry, another impressive limestone quarry used to build Selinunte.
4) PANTELLERIA – Grapevine grown as small tree UNESCO heritage
The vineyards of Pantelleria (as well as the caper fields) are arranged on the typical terraces delimited by walls of lava rock, which require a large maintenance work and which today, from the landscape point of view, represent one of the most distinctive feature of the island. The Zibibbo grapes obtained from these vineyards are unique in the world and are used for the production of the prized Passito di Pantelleria, which received important awards from the international wine critics.
5) MENFI – Wine route Terre Sicane ( Lands of the Sicans)
Terre Sicane is the golden triangle of the Sicilian viticulture: the landscape moves on the waves of the vineyards that depict a rural scenery of past times offering the visitors the possibility of a journey of discovery of a territory where the culture of vine and wine is as old as mankind. The vineyards reach the sea and the landscapes enchant the traveller.
6) Sicilian Citrus groves
Val di Catania
In Sicily, the landscape of the citrus fruits is typically widespread on the flat zones near the coastal areas, where there is a greater availability of water and the climate conditions are more favourable, but citrus groves are found even in flatter environments of fluvial areas and torrents , on lands that go up from the coast towards the inland and in the most modern plants of considerable surface that stretch in the plain of Catania, in the area of Syracuse and in the central southern part of the island , especially concerning the cultivation of orange trees.
A wide plateau with gentle slopes that descend to the sea. Today, these soils are populated by citrus groves, but once there was produced everything from rice to cotton, from wheat to almonds, then olives, grapes, fruit and vegetables. Since the 16th century, the inhabitants of Caltabellotta came down from the hills on foot, with mules and carts to work the fields on the banks of the river Verdura. The name Ribera has Spanish origins and means Riviera: indeed this coast is really a Riviera of lush gardens overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
7) AGRIGENTO – Living Museum of the Almond tree
Inside the Archaeological and Landscape Park of the Valley of the temples in Agrigento there was founded the living museum of the almond tree: a real ‘gene bank’ of the different Sicilian almond varieties. The Almond Blossom landscape is celebrated by the famous Festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. But the almond is also one of the products that best identify Sicily and its flavours among desserts and savoury.
8) VAL DI NOTO – Almond groves
An ancient land with a strong agricultural characteristic, cited in the Eclogues of Virgil, Val di Noto identifies the southeastern Sicily. The wild vegetation represented by the Mediterranean scrub, interspersed by crops, especially by almond cultivations, have given the Valley its great scenic beauty which it is renowned for. The varieties of almonds grown are the ‘ Roman ‘,the ‘ Pizzuta d’Avola ‘ and the ‘ Fascionello ‘.
9) ETNA – Chestnuts
The Etna, the volcano symbol of Catania and surroundings, is the secret of the delight of so many products of Sicily, such as wine and pistachios. Perhaps not everyone knows that even the chestnut trees benefit from a so rich land and chestnuts abound here. Crossed by evocative paths, the volcano becomes an ideal place for those who want to go and harvest these delicious fruits; in addition , in this area there is the thousands of years old Chestnut tree called “of the one hundred horses”, the oldest tree in Europe. The scenery of Etna is a wonderful synthesis of Mediterranean diet but also an opportunity to discover a rich and fascinating land. (www.parcoetna.ct.it)
10) BRONTE – Pistachio groves
The landscape of the Pistachio groves extends into the foothills of Etna. The significance of the landscape is tied to the historical persistence of the pistachio cultivation introduced in Sicily by the Arabs. Pistachio trees are grown on terraces of irregular shape that adapt themselves to the uneven and articulated morphology of the slope of the volcano . The landscape of pistachio groves is still intact thanks to the work of over 1000 producers. The pistachio from Bronte is one of the most important ambassadors of Sicily’s imagine in the world.