Scopello, you had us at hello! We found a gem of a HomeAway home west of Palermo on the outskirts of Scopello, Sicily. We landed fairly easily, passed through customs and grabbed our new rental car for the next few days, the CACTUS. We had our vague directions and headed towards Visicari. The road skirted a mountain and had a few switchbacks on the way up with a water stop along the way. When we reached the top we found the small village and our hosts greeted us at the driveway. They were there waiting for the water truck to fill up their cisterns for the week. They explained that it was necessary to have it delivered as there were no local wells to provide it. We took advantage of the local watering hole ( literally ) half way down the mountain where a spring was tapped and water was available to the locals to fill up water bottles, etc during the week. In any case, we greeted them and dropped off our bags and headed for the closest restaurant and called in a night.
The next day we decided to keep it nice and easy with a trip to the grocery store and stay at home pool, grill and chill day. The kids took advantage of the amazing yard, gardens and solarium, playground and pool and we took advantage of catching up with work and unwinding for a minute. We also had a chance to sit down with our hosts and chat with them about a few places to check out. Our next adventure was Segesta!
Today was the day we ventured out to see the famed Segesta. We could not help ourselves, after all, we are history geeks. We set out early to Segesta which was only about 35 minutes away. We arrived and were pleased to find that the throngs of uber tourists like ourselves were not yet there…..Anyways, we bought our tickets and hiked up to the temple. It was pretty amazing and we took our time walking around it and admiring it. I have been looking at photos of this place for years and it was so surreal to actual be there in person. It was much more intimate and relaxed than in Athens at the Acropolis. We paid the $1.50 to take the bus to the top of the mini mountain which had the amphitheater, church, castle remnants, etc. as opposed to hiking it. There was NO way I would put our family through that kind of torture. The bus dropped us off at the top of the hill/mountain and you have a short hike up to the amphitheater. The view is incredible and the kids started running around up and down the steps while Mike and I played uber tourists and snapped away. We had lunch at the car park below and headed back to the house to call it a pool day for the rest of the day. It was HOT and our energy was zapped.
Tonnara di Scopello
Once a medieval tuna fishing port, this local swimming hole is now privately owned and for about $5 per person you can access it and if you get there early enough, you will access to the chairs they have available, otherwise bring a towel. There is not a beach but more like a few old boat ramps that angle downwards towards the pristine blue green waters. There are rocks to jump off, shallow waters to wade in, grottos to crawl through, caves to explore, and fish to chase after. There are a few snack machines but other than that you are on your own. AND, no umbrellas are allowed so be prepared for extreme heat! Other than that it is great. Try to get there before 9 that way you can get a few hours in before it gets insanely crowded…and hot. We left and went to the small town of Scopello for lunch and it was AH-MAY-ZING! We tried out the local village watering hole by refilling our water bottles and headed back to the house for the rest of the day.
After discussing with our hosts about where to go next we decided to visit the medieval town of Erice. It sits on top of a mountain and can be reached by car or funicular. Well, with kids we ALL know that it is much more fun to visit by going up in a cable car and so that is exactly what we did. The town was beautiful with views of San Vito Lo Capo and crowned with a cliff side castle. We spent a few hours walking around and headed back to Scopello for more POOL TIME! The kids can NEVER get enough of this and it was so hot that we really didn’t object.
SIDE BAR: According to our hosts who know the most, Erice is known for having the BEST cannoli in all of Sicily! Don’t make the mistake like we did and miss out!
Back to Back Beach Days: Guidaloca Beach
Luckily there was a local beach a little closer than Tonnara with more of a rocky beach and chairs to rent with umbrellas. You cannot beat paying $5 for a chair and an umbrella PLUS you have a little restaurant just steps away. The kids eyed the paddle boats with the different colored slides and were begging us to rent one. We did not do it our first day but the second day back we rented one for an hour and it was only $10. They got to play and mom and dad got a bit of a leg workout.
SECRET SCOPELLO BEACH: Cala Mazzo di Sciacca
Our amazing HomeAway hosts told us about their favorite beach. I must say I had to agree with them! It was past the town but before the Zingaro natural reserve on the right. If you did not know what to look for you would pass it. You literally drive almost all the way down to the beach and park. There are a few rocky coves with a little restaurant and chairs to rent if you wish. The water was crystal clear and the kids LOVED it! I kept them busy by tasking them with finding sea glass haha! The perfect last day before we leave beautiful Sicily. That evening we had dinner at the first place we went to when we arrived up in the mountains and packed up for our next journey.
But first, we need a cappucino! The kids got to have their last Sicilian pastry before heading the the airport and flying out to ROMA! Ciao Sicily! You were beautiful in every way!