GIUSEPPE TORNATORE, OF THE ETNA WINERY TORNATORE, SHARES HIS INSIDER GUIDE TO SICILY
You have to visit Taormina, the hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily near Mount Etna. I would also recommend the Aeolian Islands; the seven islands are unique — even the beaches are completely different from one another. They also produce wines so it is perfect for wine tourism.
In the south, you should go to the historic town of Noto and then drive to Marzamemi, which is spectacular, then onto one of my favorite places, Portopalo di Capo Passero, on the southern tip, where Mick Jagger has just bought a place… And, if possible, you should climb Etna (preferably with a guide).
Top eating spots
I prefer authentic places with real food, rather than Michelin-starred restaurants. There is a small restaurant called Da Nino in Letojanni, a coastal resort near Taormina, where we used to spend our summers when I was growing up since we had a small house as my mother was a teacher there. Then, Letojanni was a fisherman’s village. At Da Nino they still serve the finest fish and have a surprisingly interesting wine list, which includes Tornatore.
Close to Taormina is Sea Sound, which is practically on the beach so you can eat with your feet in the sea! The name is English, but the owner speaks only Italian. They make the best spaghetti with sea urchins I have tasted anywhere in the world. It is my father and mother’s favorite restaurant.
In Taormina Vineria Modi serves modern Sicilian food. The owners are really young and have the most amazing wine and champagne collection.
There is also a lovely restaurant at the Four Seasons hotel in Taormina, which is in a converted 4th-century convent with incredible views of Etna.
A spot of aperitivo
Sicily doesn’t have a specific drink but there may be a local take on the Italian spritzers using Sicilian Amari.
How to unwind
I love kitesurfing, I’m crazy about it. The best beaches are in the south of Sicily: Stagnone, close to the Marsala village in western Sicily. Puzziteddum near Mazzara del Vallo in the western part of Sicily is called the ‘Sicilian Hawaii’ for its perfect waves; it’s a really wild place and one of my favorites. Pozzallo is in the extreme south of Sicily, not far from Catania, which I can consider my home. It is great for families with its huge sandy beaches, which are reminiscent of Africa and Brazil. Then there is Tremestieri in the strait of Messina, very close to our vineyards and a unique place for the strong wind and sea life where you can spot dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, swordfish and even whales.
Photography ©VOICES, @The Thinking Traveller, all other images ©the establishments