Italy has long been one of my favourite travel destinations. The landscapes, the architecture, the history, the food – it’s just an incredibly diverse and beautiful country. After several trips over the years to the north of Italy, I decided to explore the very south of the country and learn the language at the same time! Sicily had always had a very mysterious ring to it, so in 2007 I set off on a three-week language learning adventure in Sicily. I started in the gorgeous mountain town of Taormina, with its stunningly preserved ancient amphitheatre and its gorgeous views of Mount Etna. With the local language school I went on several excursions – a hike to Castelmola, a driving tour to Siracusa – a city that was already settled in ancient times, and a hike on the flanks of Mount Etna that had just erupted a couple of days earlier. I even partook of a pottery lesson and a Sicilian cooking lesson with local culinary expert Aurelia Ferrari, and I learned about the Mafia! With one of my co-students I also embarked on a drive around the famous volcano where I got to know the Sicilian mountains with their gorgeous villages where time seems to have stood still.
Then I relocated to Milazzo on the northern tip of Sicily where I joined another Italian language school. A small group of us headed off on a week-long sailing trip around the Eolian Islands where we were going to study Italian (on the boat or in a restaurant patio, no less!), and we had a chance to do explore these gorgeous islands at the same time. We explored five of the seven Eolian islands: Lipari, Salina, Stromboli, Panarea and Vulcano where we hiked up to the crater of this active volcano. And on our way back we even saw a group of dolphins that playfully escorted our sailboat!
Back on the main island of Sicily I also went on an excursion to the Nebrodi Mountains, checked out the gorgeous medieval town of Cefalu and explored Catania. Sicily is a gorgeous place, and I definitely want to return there. Maybe next time it’s going to be Palermo and the western side of the island…
Sicily – the name alone conjures up images of an exotic island, a mysterious and fascinating past. I have wanted to explore Italy for some time now since I had not been there for a… Read more.
So my latest travel adventure has just begun: three weeks in Sicily to get to know this beautiful historic island and to learn Italian in another cultural immersion experiment. My regular readers will know that… Read more.
I really enjoyed my location at Hotel Villa Nettuno, this 13-room family run hotel on the north side of Taormina. Since it was a rainy day today anyway, I decided to find out a bit… Read more.
A rainy morning had provided a great opportunity to get the owners of my hotel a bit better. After my interview with the Sciglio family I took a leisurely stroll through Taormina and headed back… Read more.
Finally, my first day of beautiful weather in Sicily, a perfect day for an out-of-town excursion. I started my day with a nourishing breakfast on the terrace of Hotel Villa Nettuno and I have to… Read more.
Language study travel is not at all new to me. Two years ago I went to the University of Havana to study Spanish, and last year I studied Spanish at two different language schools in… Read more.
Today was Italian Labour Day, a big national holiday that presented the perfect opportunity to do a little out of town excursion: a drive around Mount Etna. So together with Jill, a co-student of mine… Read more.
With the images from my beautiful excursion around Mount Etna still etched freshly in my mind, I got ready for another day of Italian studies at the Babilonia Language School. After a relaxing breakfast on… Read more.
I had thoroughly enjoyed my personal Sicilian history lesson provided by Alessandro Adorno, the Founder and Director of the Babilonia Language School. In addition he suggested that I attend one of the cooking classes organized… Read more.
On a gorgeous morning following a good sleep after last night’s cooking lesson I woke up at about 6 am and stepped out on the balcony of my hotel room. The sun was just coming… Read more.
My last day in Taormina had started: I woke up at daybreak to pack my suitcase since later today I would be relocating from Taormina to the city of Milazzo. I enjoyed my final breakfast… Read more.
Following my last day in Taormina and my arrival last night in Milazzo I caught a good rest to get up early today to repack my suitcase and remove a number of items that I… Read more.
My first afternoon and night on a sailboat had gone surprisingly well. After our little late night excursion into the town of Lipari I had slept like a stone, only to awake this morning at… Read more.
After our explorations of Lipari and Salina yesterday the weather was going to keep us on the island of Salina today. I woke up early at about 6 am and stuck my head out of… Read more.
Due to bad weather yesterday we spent the entire day docked at Santa Marina di Salina but we had nevertheless a great experience during our driving tour of the island, with expert guidance provided by… Read more.
I had definitely overcome my little bout of seasickness last night on our way from Stromboli to Panarea. A good rest had cured all my symptoms and I was ready to tackle the world again…. Read more.
Our beautiful dinner in the old town of Lipari last night was another opportunity to get to know Sicilian cuisine. A light-hearted evening was followed by a night of deep sleep and by 8 am… Read more.
The days on this sailing trip are so compressed and amazingly full of diverse experiences: waking yesterday in beautiful Lipari, followed by a driving tour of this, the largest Eolian island. Then our journey continued… Read more.
Well, my week on the Solitaire II, studying Italian and sailing through the Eolian Islands, had come to an end. Last night our sailing group officially said goodbye, and my departure date from Sicily was… Read more.
An early morning was in store for me: I decided to accompany my newly found friend and sailing buddy Claudia to her bus which would take her to the airport in Catania to return back… Read more.
Sicily’s scenic beauty continues to amaze me. Yesterday’s excursion by train to the medieval town of Cefalu was just one more example of the stunning urban and rural beauty that this Mediterranean island has to… Read more.