Taormina and Catania, two main tourist destinations situated along the Ionic coast blessed with mild climate, fishing ports and delicious food can be part of a gourmet itinerary for foodies.
Spaghetti ai ricci di mare in Taormina
Taormina, this jewel by the Ionian Sea, is situated on a promontory from where you can enjoy wonderful views of the coast and the tip of Mount Etna dominating the landscape. This place rich in history on the hill, offers pebbled beaches, sparkling waters and the naturalistic site of Isola Bella at its feet. So you can combine an inspiring cultural tour in the city centre – to visit the Roman Greek Theatre, San Nicola Cathedral, the Public Gardens, Palazzo Corvaja – and summer vacations aiming at its beaches.
If you love to have a nice stroll, meet locals, buy souvenirs or have a tasty granita for breakfast, do a tour in Corso Umberto and Piazza del Duomo. Gourmet travellers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to taste authentic Sicilian food in one of the many typical restaurants.
Spaghetti ai ricci di mare is the signature dish of this area that you should definitely taste it before leaving Sicily. This mouthwatering first course is based on sea urchins which give to the dish an incredible flavour. You can taste Spaghetti ai ricci di mare and other great seafood recipes – such as Zuppa di Pesce and Fritto Misto – in the downtown but also in the nice restaurants located along the beach, so to hear the gentle sound of the waves splashing by the Isola Bella’s cliff.
Pasta con le sarde in Catania
If you’re ready to leave the touristy site of Taormina – favourite summer getaway – plunge into the crowded city of Catania for another taste of Sicily.
While it’s not hard to meet locals in Taormina, in Catania it’s unavoidable! The fish market, in particular, is the ideal place to get a glimpse of what happens in the early mornings of this town at the feet of the majestic Etna Volcano. Soon after the first morning lights, people and traders’ shouts flood the lava stone streets and so does the strong fish flavour. The Pescheria – famous Catania daily fish market – is the right place to buy sardines, tuna, anchovies, swordfish and seafood. You can access to the Pescheria from Via Garibaldi or Via Pacini, just off the wonderful Cathedral of Saint Agata.
If you have an appetite for fish, stop by a typical restaurant near Piazza Duomo and order Pasta con le Sarde (“pasta chi sardi” in Sicilian dialect) as first course. The main ingredient are pasta and the European pilchard (sarde in Italian), caught in the Mediterranean Sea from March to September. The pasta is enriched with the unique aroma of Florence fennel.
After lunch, visit the great Baroque monuments of Catania – characterized by details made of lava stone – and the downtown, which are a World Heritage Site.
During your trip to Sicily enjoy nightlife both in Catania and in Taormina. For example, you can join exclusive night clubs in Catania or take part to the important theatrical season in the Theatre of Taormina.
At the end of your holiday in Sicily, you won’t forget the lemon scent surrounding the countryside and the warmth of people saying “Buongiorno” with a smile!