Braving the Summer Heat in Sicily

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Today our intrepid Sicilian guide Sara is joining us for a second time to talk about how to enjoy the beauty of Sicily in the midst of a summer heat wave. Don’t let August scare you away from one of southern Europe’s most interesting destinations!

Most travelers don't dare to visit Sicily in Summer, because they’re afraid of its high temperatures. But should you be but so bold as to travel here between July and September, Sicily will have a few cool surprises reserved for you.

1) First of all you will find that most Sicilian cities are in summer hot but ventilated: just avoid staying in the biggest cities or inland, and prefer the coast. If you are a lover of kitesurfing, you will love to learn that the shoreline between Trapani and Ragusa is among the windiest in the Mediterranean: the windiest beach in Sicily is Torre di Gaffe, in the province of Agrigento, on the way to Licata. This beach is the place where on 10th July 1943 the armies of The Allied Forces landed to occupy Italy, accomplishing the biggest amphibious operation (Husky Operation) in the Second World War.

2) Visit the Valley of Temples by night. There is a great view! You don't have to walk sweating in the sun to see Greek temples: you can visit them in the silence and freshness of night. The darkness makes it all the more enchanting and of course cooler. Yes, the site is open to visitors until 11 pm during the Summer. Paths are lit for your safety, Temples stand out against a midnight blue sky thanks to masterful lighting, all the scents of the Sicilian countryside will surround you in the night... You can be sure that this night-time walk will be the highlight in your summer journey!

3) Have an early morning Sicilian breakfast! Italian breakfast is not like every where else’s cappuccino and brioche. Sicilians do it better: Granita and brioche. What's better than awaking your senses in the morning with an icy granita? There are a hundred different flavours, all made with real local fruits: lemons, mulberries, oranges, almonds, peaches, pistachios... It's the perfect breakfast in the hot season or it suits even as a light lunch.

4) When in Agrigento take a drive of just 15 minutes along the western coast to Scala dei Turchi. It's an enchanting white cliff on the deep blue water of the Mediterranean. Erosion has modelled this pure white stone in the shape of a staircase. That's why we call this place The Stair of Turks. Popular legends tell of Turkish pirates landing in the small bay nearby, to make incursions in the near villages. Choose an early morning to go there and take the time to climb up to the top of the cliff. You will be walking in absolute beauty, between the deep blue of sea and the pure blue of sky. And if you lie for half an hour on the white rock you will get your most lasting tan.

5) Are you a reader of Sicilian crime novelist Andrea Camilleri? Well I'm not proposing you to read one of them, but to put yourself actually on the traces of his famous Inspector Montalbano. The writer was born in Porto Empedocle (8 Km away from Agrigento) and the places described in his novels are actually to be found in Agrigento and Porto Empedocle (in the novels known as Montelusa and Vigata). Many spots are recognizable even if the author describes places he attended in his childhood. So you can really eat in one of Montalbano’s favourite Trattorias near the port, or eat a sweet cannolo sitting in the Caffè Castiglione. A tasty literary experience.

Thanks Sara, for your great ideas on keeping cool in the heat of a Sicilian summer! If any travelers are interested in reading what else Sara has to say about Agrigento, you can find her earlier blog entry here: Five Must-Sees near Agrigento.
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