Wednesday, October 15, 2008

THIS is Sicily! The lemon grove coast

The other day I convinced my husband to go out for lunch some place new. We ended up on his motorbike, bambino at home with babysitter, driving north out of Acicastello. As we passed through Acitrezza, one town away from home, we almost stopped at our regular seafood restaurant there, Da Federico. But (yay!) my desire for 'new' won out.

We continued north towards Acireale and made the turn off the SS114 (strada statale, state highway), and began the curvy descent towards the lovely little village of Santa Maria la Scala. I have always loved this road and this town. The road is lined by old walls which contain old houses and terraced citrus groves, and zig zags crazily downwards to the small fishing village.

Almost at the bottom we reached a fork in the road, and spontaneity won yet again: rather than continuing to the town we know well, we followed the sign to the next town up, Santa Tecla, with eyes set on the view of the large fishing port town we could see in the distance, Riposto. Apparently, I had been there once before some years ago, but it was for an evening concert and I hardly remembered it.

Here the excitment and 'newness' began. We passed by lemon grove estates, one after another, and through a number of amazing little villages. It all felt wild and untouched by modernity. A little enclave of time standing still. No better way to experience this environment than on the back of a motorbike, wind in hair, sun on face. I couldn't help but think, 'why have I never been to this beautiful place before?'.

Always in search of a restaurant, we found one or two that looked good in each of the small fishing villages we drove through, but being Tuesday, were closed. We continued north, trusting my husband's good sense of direction and still feeling semi-lost. We passed several agriturismos and finally stopped at one. From here we got a restaurant recommendation in the town of Fondachello, located just north of Riposto.

As we drove towards this destination, we found that the lemon grove paradise does end, right at Riposto. On to Fondachello, nothing compared to where we had just been (but with a wonderful view of Taormina in the distance), we found that the recommended place was closed too, so we ended up at the somewhat divey trattoria on the beach, just across the street. Nothing like the seafood you get at our regular places, but fun all the same. And anyway, the whole point of this excursion was the journey, the sense of discovery, and the much needed dose of free-spiritism it gave me, not the actual destination. It did wonders for my soul. So thank you hubby for a great afternoon journey, just the two of us.

By the way, I did do a little bit of research on google map to figure out where the heck we were. So check out this map and get lost here, on the winding roads between Santa Maria la Scala and Riposto. You can't go wrong! Some of the towns to see: Santa Tecla, Stazzo, Scillichenti, Pozzillo, Torre Archirafi, Carruba....and the list goes on....


  1. What a lively description, I felt I was there on the bike with you! What a beautiful landscape that must be... Very Montalbano-like sort of view...!
    Thank you for leaving a message on my blog!

  2. Sounds lovely! It's so nice to take a ride on a sunny day in beautiful countryside!

  3. We love this street... Antonello always takes me on the bike here also! Our wedding pics were taken in Santa Tecla, at the watchtower...
    By the way, "Al Pescatore" is a great fish restaurant in Fondachello. (Via Spiaggia, 81) If you ever plan a drive again, let me know and I can help you with a place to dine. You'll be in my neck of the woods!

  4. Thank you for recording this experience with such beautiful words. Ultimate romantic drive....


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