Trip to Sicily: What to look for when travelling to Sicily

Earlier in May, our team took a trip to Sicily to visit some Sicilian winemakers. This island, situated on the southern tip of Italy, is renowned for its volcanic landscape, popular vacation destinations, as well as its rich culinary and wine offerings. Not to mention, Sicily enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and short, mild winters, receiving about 350 days of sunshine per year. What a blast!

Our top tips when planning a trip to Sicily

Here,¬†we’ve¬†gathered some top tips from our recent travel experiences for you!

Best time to travel
Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, Sicily receives a mild and sunny climate all year round. Yet, locals suggest visiting in May or June, to avoid the crowded summer.

Plan your travel wisely: Avoid moving from south to north, then to west and east as this will result in a lot of time wasted in transit. The roads and infrastructure in Sicily are significantly different from the regions on the mainland of Italy, so getting from one point to another, whether you are driving or relying on public transport, takes time.

Eat local and seasonal
You will always find yourself eating local produce (like a few miles from where you are sitting!) The freshest fish on the coast, the tastiest meats and cheeses in the inland. Look for pasta alla norma, pasta con le sarde, arancine, caponata, cous cous, graffe, cannoli and so on at a local¬†“trattoria” if you opt for traditional fare!¬†

Things to do in Sicily

The best way to explore Sicily is to plan a few days on each side of the island, mainly to save time on travelling and to experience the specialities in different sub-regions! 

Western Sicily

In Western Sicily, immerse yourself in the local market culture at Ballarò Mercato, the oldest street market in Palermo, where you can find seasonal and local produce. After sundown, experience the vibrant street food, restaurants, music and nightlife at La Vucciria.

La Vucciria
La Vucciria

There are numerous wineries where you can visit in the area, one of them being Fondo Antico, a family estate dedicated to sustainable winemaking with indigenous varieties. Plan a visit to enjoy a tasting session or a vineyard tour. For a complete experience, book a stay at Giardini Mon Plaisir, a boutique hotel in Trapani also run by Fondo Antico. This charming hotel, housed in a historic Sicilian mansion, offers just six rooms and features a swimming pool. Plan your visit in advance for a truly memorable stay!

For visit and tasting at Fondo Antico, email visit@fondoantico.it for more information.

Fondo Antico Vineyard
Fondo Antico vineyard

Eastern Sicily

When visiting the east side of Sicily,¬†don’t¬†miss Mercato di Ortigia in Syracuse, a charming¬†farmers’¬†market by the sea where you can find the¬†region’s¬†finest produce, cheeses, meats, and street food. For an adventurous experience, visiting Mount Etna is a must, one of¬†Europe’s¬†highest active volcanoes. Hike through Mount Etna¬†Park’s¬†nature trails, passing woods, verdant orchards, centuries-old lava flows, and steam vents, or opt for mountain biking or horse riding tours.

As a wine lover, you¬†can’t¬†miss visiting some wineries in Etna.¬†We have been working with Girolamo Russo since 2021¬†and¬†this¬†is one not to miss.¬†Renowned for making vibrant and pure Etna wines, known for its freshness, complexity, and ageing potential. Book a wine-tasting tour to experience their exceptional wines.

Etna DOC
Etna wine region

Wines from Sicily

Let’s¬†talk about something we all love¬†WINE! As the largest island in the Mediterranean, Sicily is home to¬†more than¬†65 indigenous varieties and over 2500 years of winemaking history. When in Sicily,¬†be sure to¬†try wines made with their native grape varieties.¬†

White varietals 

  • Grillo – Crisp, fresh and mouth-watering white, your Pinot Grigio alternative.
  • Carricante – Juicy yet saline and flinty, a textured white wine, best with spicy and aromatic dishes!

White and sometimes orange! 

  • Catarratto¬†– Intense wines, sometimes slightly¬†tannic¬†given extended skin contact (hence the orange hue!)

Red varietals

  • Nerello Mascalese¬†– High in acidity, elegant, age-worthy red. Almost exclusively grown on Mount Etna,¬†a lot of¬†people compare it with Pinot Noir¬†but¬†the noticeable tannis marks its identity.¬†
  • Nero¬†d‚ÄôAvola¬†– A lot find similarities with Cabernet Sauvignon. Your¬†big¬†bold take on Sicilian red. Deep in colour, bold tannins and full-body.¬†¬†
  • Perricone¬†– ¬†A lesser-known varietal that used to¬†be used¬†in blends, but now more and more winemakers are producing it on its own. It¬†is often described¬†as quite similar to Barbera, with high acidity and characteristics of red berries, earth, and herbs.

Tips: Look for single-varietal wines to experience the difference between these native grapes from Sicily. 

Perricone, Sicilian native varietal
Perricone, Sicilian native varietal

If you¬†don’t have a trip to Sicily planned yet or are new to Sicilian wines, the good news is that you don’t¬†have to travel¬†all the way¬†there to try them. At Wanderlust, you can find wines from Girolamo Russo in the East (Etna DOC) and Fondo Antico in the West (Trapani) to get a taste and perhaps find inspiration for your next vacation on the island!

This Blog post is written by Sharon Wong
Consumer Sales and Marketing Manager of Wanderlust Wine 

Sharon is the the driving force behind our website, wine club, marketing activities, and Wanderlust Wine events. 

5 Great Reasons to Join the Wanderlust Wine Club

A great way to discover even more about the wines you love.

River Wine Regions: How rivers shape the world’s wine regions?

Shaping the world’s wine regions along rivers.

Wine Pairing Tips For Your Easter Feast

Top tips for picking the perfect wines to complement your feasts in Easter!

Raising a Glass to Women in Wine – Part Two

Shading spotlight to wines made by women from Bordeaux to California.

Raising a Glass to Women in Wine – Part One

Shading spotlight to wines made by women from Champagne to Australia.

Trip to Bordeaux: A Journey Through Amphoras, Biodynamics, and Family-Owned Ch√Ęteaux

Off to Bordeaux with Wanderlust Wine.