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The idea of traveling internationally — especially to Italy — might seem unimaginable right now, but the Italian island of Sicily is asking you to consider planning a vacation for the end of 2020.
And to make the idea more appealing, the Sicilian government is offering to cover half the cost of visitors’ plane tickets and one in every three nights of a hotel stay. Once visitors have made it overseas and settled in, they’ll also enjoy free tickets to Sicily’s museums and archaeological sites.
The Italian island shut its doors on March 10 and has lost approximately 1 billion Euros ($1.09 billion) in tourism-related revenue since then. According to The Times, the regional government will use a 50-million-Euro war chest to pay for this tourism revival initiative.
Italy was hit hard by the coronavirus, with the pandemic claiming many lives and requiring strict lockdown measures to curb the spread of the virus. In addition to the medical crisis, the pandemic brought most business to a standstill — including the crucial business of tourism.
According to The Times, 13% of Italy’s gross domestic product comes from tourism, so many Italian businesses are anxious to draw visitors back to the boot-shaped country as soon as travel restrictions are lifted and adventurers are given the green light to once again trot the globe.
Like many parts of the Mediterranean region, Sicily boasts gorgeous beaches along turquoise waters, and fascinating historical sites — including ornate churches, ruins and castles — that offer a peek into the region’s rich past.
One lovely slice of Sicilian life can be glimpsed in this photo by Instagram user Giuseppe Flavio Pagano. The picturesque image captures a serene moment on the streets of Sambuca.
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Stranizza d'amuri . . . #sambucadisicilia #borgodeiborghi #borghipiubelliditalia #borghiitaliani #borghisuperscatti #borghi_photogroup #borghidascoprire #clickfor_sicilia #sicilia_super_pics #sicilia_bestphoto_ #sicilia_photogroup #scattandolasicilia #kings_sicilia #charmingItaly #BeautifulVillages #sicilia #sicily #volgosicilia #amepiaceilsud #sicilypictures #ig_sicily #king_sicilia #lovesicily #igerssicilia #ilikeitaly #ig_italia #beniculturali30 #passionpassport #BBCTravel #baroque
While the summer and autumn are lovely times to visit Sicily, there are plenty of reasons to plan a trip in the wintertime, when pandemic travel restrictions will have lifted and you might feel safer taking an international vacation. December brings Christmas-related festivities along with the Feast of Santa Lucia in mid-December.
Foodies will also find much to enjoy in Sicily’s cafes, restaurants and bakeries. Fried rice balls — or arancini — filled with sauce, cheese and meat are a deliciously savory Sicilian dish, and morning pastries are decadent ways to start the day.
The Sicilian town of Noto even boasts a famous chef: Corrado Assenza, owner of Caffé Sicilia, who was featured on Netflix’s foodie-baiting series “Chef’s Table.” The cafe offers a wide array of baked goods and sweets, though the eatery’s crown jewel might be the morning-time delight of icy Italian granita served with a freshly baked brioche bun.
This photo shows a mouth-watering variety of granita flavors enjoyed by Instagram user @ladolcevigna at Caffé Sicilia.
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What does 3 x 3 equal? Answer: Not enough. 🍨 #granita ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made of water, sugar and a flavoring ingredient (lemon, blood orange, almond, and coffee being the most traditional granita flavors) that hails from #Sicily. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The history of granita begins back around 900 AC. The story goes that when the Arabs conquered Sicily, they brought with them a recipe for “sherbeth”, an iced drink flavored with fruit juice and rosewater. In Sicily, the recipe was updated by taking the snow from Mount Etna, storing it in nivieri—literally “snoweries”—and in the summer, scraping the ice blocks that had formed and serving the ice with local fruit juices and spices. In the 16th century, the Sicilians invented the pozzetto, basically a hand-cranked mixer, where the snow was used not as a final ingredient but was mixed with marine salt and churned around an internal chamber that housed the other ingredients, thereby freezing and crystallizing them—the birth of gelato as well! 🍦 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ To this day, Sicily is famous for its granitas. The east side of the island prepares them with a smooth consistency, almost like a sorbet, whereas the granitas from the west are more coarse. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Shown here is the granita from @caffe_sicilia_noto in Noto, featured on Chef’s Table: Pastry. Almond is my absolute favorite, but lemon is a close second! 🍋 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Favorite accompaniments to granita are a brioche and/ or a dollop of fresh whipped cream. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #caffesicilia #noto #dessert #sicilia #sicula #sicilyessence #sicilymood #ladolcevigna #ladolcevita #forthecurious #gelato #frozendessert #italiancuisine #italyfood #solocosebuone #ciboitaliano #official_italian_food #italianfoodbloggers #italyfoodporn #giallozafferano #deliciousitaly #eatitaly #feedfeed #foodie #granitasiciliana #sicilyinfood #winetour
Yum! Who’s ready to travel (and eat) their way through Sicily later this year?