Year after year, travellers from far and wide travel to Italy for a luxury vacation full of culture, decadent cuisine and panoramas straight from the movies. But one coastal town tucked away in Sicily is unscathed by tourism and the ideal place for a lavish and relaxing vacation this season.
Leave Venice to the tourists, Florence to the study abroad students and Rome to the culture vultures. While they’re still something to see in this lifetime, a truly relaxing Italian vacation with the authentic experience starts somewhere off the beaten path. This summer travel to Scopello, a remote town on the island of Sicily that is full of history set against the backdrop of translucent waters.
From a name that comes from the Greek word “skopelos,” which means cliff, the name is quite fitting for this sanctuary, which is perched atop a hill and overlooks the stunning sea. Built around a 16thcentury “baglio,” this small courtyard has now become the center of this village, virtually untouched by tourism, even in its peak summer months. The seaside of Scopello offers something more than just crystalline waters, however. Here in Sicily you can find the “Faraglioni,” dramatic rocks that emerge from the sea, making quite the impression. For magnificent beaches in this area, the sandy stretch near the faraglioni called Cala mazzo di Sciacca won’t disappoint. For your lavish white-rocks beach, however, make your way to the stunning Guidaloca Bay for a summer swim under the toasty Sicilian sun.
For those travellers who wish to spend all day from sunrise to sunset in and out of museums and traversing every inch of a bustling city, your vacation may take you elsewhere this summer. But Scopello, while tranquil and the ultimate destination for relaxation, is packed with hidden historical treasures. One of its biggest attractions is the old tuna fishery, or the “tonnara di scopello.” The setting of what used to be one of the main local activities of Scopello, much of the establishment and equipment still remains there untouched for a truly mystical tour. There is also Santa Margherita cave, which, although it is difficult to reach even by water, features inside pictures of sacred images.
At some point lounging on the beach may give way to more activities, which Scopello promises no shortage of. The area is a veritable paradise for divers and its location next to the Zingaro Nature Reserve makes it quite special. Looking over the Tyrrhenian Sea, the nature reserve is composed of small paths and little cliffs all leading to a breathtaking sea that is ideal for scuba-divers with its myriad of rare algae, red sponges and sea turtles. For those who prefer to stay on land, a captivating variety of 650 plant species and protected animals sweep the area for a perfect day in paradise.
Then there is of course the one thing that pulls it all together: the food. Travelling to a place like Scopello you will avoid the chance of getting caught in those tourist traps where you eat mediocre food at exorbitant prices. In Sicily, the food is rich in flavor and extremely affordable. The Scopello cuisine takes part in the food traditions of Trapani, which also draw some Arabic influence. Be sure to enjoy Busiate al tonno, busiate being the fresh pasta from Trapani, enjoyed with fresh tuna, or pasta with the Trapense pesto sauce. Here you will also find cous cous quite a bit on the menu, dressed with spices and almonds. In Scopello there is a variety of restaurants to choose from, each one more authentic than the last. Or as most holiday goers choose to do in this area, seek out professionals to rent a cosy summer home with a pool area overlooking the sea. By renting a villa, you can have access to your own kitchen and try your hand at some of these traditional dishes yourself. Another great activity to partake in is a private cooking class to learn the ins and outs of Italian cuisine. You will find the Italian cuisine is based on fresh ingredients that need very little spices and dressing to maximize the taste. Live like a true Italian and shop for dinner at the local open air markets.
In Scopello, travellers will find a way to combine a relaxing vacation with that typical Italian experience they’ve always dreamed of. It is possible to rent a lavish villa with a swimming pool and a view to die for, while also enjoying a hearty, traditional meal and rubbing elbows with the locals. The Sicilian dream awaits…
For more information about Scopello accommodations visit http://www.scopello-villas.com/.
About the author:
MY NAME IS HEATHER, I’M A FELLOW AMERICAN LIVING IN ITALY, TRAVELLING AND WRITING