La Bottega del Mare

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Sailing Sicily: discovering the beauty of its history

Category: Boats in the world - Tag: Italy

It is said that Sicily is Europe's most historically cosmopolitan region, having been ruled by Asians, Africans and Europeans. You can see the strong influence of all that have come before in the arts, architecture, language and , of course cuisine, which is as rich and varied as its history.
La Bottega del Mare has five primary bases in Sicily: Palermo, Sant' Agata di Militello, Marsala, Portorosa and Siracusa. Starting your cruise from Palermo, the capital of Sicily and a city of numerous monuments, you can sail East to Cefalu, a bustling tourist resort built about the original picturesque fishing village. Sant'Agata and Portorosa are situated almost right in front of the Aeolian Islands, the most direct route to visit this most magical area. From Marsala you can sail among the Egadi Islands. It is also a popular stopping-off point for yachts heading SW to Tunisia or the Island of Pantelleria. You can also start your sailing cruise from Siracusa harbour. From here you sail along the beautiful south-easthern coast of Sicily, stopping over Marzamemi, Porto Palo, Capo Passero Island and the Island of the Currents.

Sailing the Aeolian Islands means navigating seven little volcanic islands surrounded by a warm and deep sea in an 'out-of-time' atmosphere recalling a history of sea-adventures going back 5000 years. A sailing holiday in the Aeolian Islands offers the chance of an extraordinary range of ideas in a natural and largely untouched environment: the main island Lipari, the green landscapes of Salina, the wild nature of Alicudi and Filicudi, the sophisticated Panarea, Stromboli and the 'active' Vulcano.

Favignana, or La Farfalla as it is often referred to thanks to its butterfly shape, is the largest and most important of the islands. It is a popular holiday destination in the summer months largely thanks to its crystalline azure waters in bays such as Cala Rossa. What most people come here for are the crystalline waters offering excellent swimming and good scuba-diving possibilities, especially in the sea caves such as Grotta Azzurra, Grotta dei Sospiri (sospiri means "sighs" - it is said that the cave moans during the winter), and Grotta degli Innamorati (the Lovers' Grotto).

Levanzo is the smallest of the Egadis but no less inviting for that. Much of the coastline is made up of dramatic rocky cliffs, though there are a few lovely beaches. Everything is minimal: there is 1 village (Cala Dogana), 1 road, 2 shops, 2 hotels and 2 restaurants. Peace and quiet are ensured and stressful city life soon becomes a distant memory.

Marettimo is the most isolated of the Egadi Islands, lying a full 15 miles off the coast of Trapani. The small village of Marettimo houses a couple of restaurants serving sublimely fresh fish though little else. Sailing around the island you will see the numerous caves one of which, the Grotta del Cammello, hosts a pebbly beach and the remains of a Roman settlement.

Sicily is sometimes nicknamed God's Kitchen because of its full, vibrant cuisine. The island has had a variety of culinary influences because of its location, with each ruling culture bringing with it a range of tastes and dishes. The influence of the Greeks can be found here: Dionysus has been said to have introduced wine to the region. The Romans later conquered the island, introducing lavish dishes based upon goose. The Byzantines introduced sweet and sour flavours while during the 10th and 11th centuries the Arabs brought apricots, sugar, citrus, sweet melons, rice, saffron, raisins, nutmeg, clove, pepper, and cinnamon which are all still seen in the cuisine today. The Normans and Hohenstaufen introduced a fondness for meat dishes. The Spanish introduced numerous items from the New World including cocoa, maize, turkey, tomatoes and other produce items. Tuna, sea bream, sea bass, cuttlefish, swordfish and other seafood available off the coastline is an integral part of the modern cuisine.

Winds and Weather
During summer the winds and weather on the Northern and western side of Sicily is typically Mediterranean. The prevailing winds are north-west with an average wind speed of 3-4 Beaufort (8-12 knots). During summer you should expect dry conditions with temperatures in the 30s in peak and mid 20s during the start and end of season.

La Bottega del Mare offers you relaxing gulet cruises in the Aeolian Islands and bare boat charter from Palermo, Marsala, Portorosa, Siracusa, Trapani. You can also decide for a comfortable sailing catamaran for your sailing holidays.
For a quote please contact us via our information request form.






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