Florio Winery & Selinunte
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Sicily wine making by the Florio family goes back to 1833. Through time and financial hardship, the family business was sold to the Duca di Salaparuta group, which continues producing a great line of Sicilian wines and the famous Marsala fortified wine. Check http://www.duca.it. The vast property is well guarded and you need a reservation to go on a tour. We joined three other couples and the 8 of us followed our host for a very interesting walk through some huge rooms with huge barrels, all the way to the wine paring room, where we sampled a few wines, each with their perfect food paring. Take the tour if you can. The place is full of history and part of the Sicilian heritage.
When eating in Sicily, stay away from areas where you can smell “tourist” traps offering fixed menus. The food is usually quickly prepared and mediocre. Rather, check out where locals go or ask your host for recommendations.
“I am not spending 6 euros to see old rocks!”. These are the first words we heard from a tourist when we entered the Archeological Site of Selinunte, further South on the West coast. These “old rocks”, however, kept us going for several hours and have a wonderful story to tell on the Greek and Carthaginian Civilization.
Note to fellow travellers: When you enter the Selinunte site, you can decide to walk or spend an extra 12 euros per person to be driven through the whole site on a golf cart. There is a cheaper and better alternative (meaning 0 extra euros…) if you prefer to discover the ruins at your leisure. Instead of heading directly for the Hera temple, look for the “Acropolis” sign and follow the road up to the parking lot. You will be able to walk back in time through roads that were built more than 2,000 years ago. Amazing! You can then come back to the tickets entrance and walk to the Hera temple and surroundings.
Second note to travellers: If you visit from North America, you will be very disappointed by the lack of information provided to tourists. The Visitor Centres and the abundance of information pamphlets we are used to are practically non existent here, and the few informations/directions provided on site are often poor. To compensate, we are making a point in getting an information book on every town and site we visit, sold at newspapers kiosks or in tourist stores. Editors TCE (Tiziana Casano Editore) do a good job with these type of books, and they cost between 7 and 10 euros each.
We had planned to stop for dinner in the centre of Mazara del Vallo, but were fairly tired by then, and headed back to Marsala for a relaxed evening.
We made our last evening memorable: dinner at RISTORANTINO, Via Vaccari (www.risorantinoviavaccari.it). The owner was super attentive and shared his passion for Sicilian food. We had some dishes off the menu and they were to die for. An incredible experience in a very small street near Piazza dell’Indipendenza.