May 29, 2019
After a year of living in Sicily, Jordan and I had our first visitor. My best friend, Ashley, flew all the way across the Atlantic to visit and see this crazy beautiful island on which we live. I couldn’t have been more excited to see her again or to show her my home.
One thing about visiting Sicily is that you really NEED a car. There are so many places in Europe that have incredibly efficient public transportation. Unfortunately, Sicily is not one of them. So, for her first full day here, we did a little day trip to three classically Sicilian towns: Caltagirone, Piazza Armerina, and Enna. This was one of my favorite island road trips, so I wanted to make sure to share it.
This town was NOT on Ashley’s “to see” list, but I knew it should be. Caltagirone is in the middle of nowhere Sicily, but many people travel there each year for the infamous Sicilian ceramics. The town itself has no shortage of ceramics shops. Some shops have working studios and artists in them, others are just a store front for sales. Most buildings in the old town are decorated with ceramic tiles, so it is vibrant and colorful!
One of the highlights is the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte, a 142 step staircase that connects the lower to the older upper town. Each stair is decorated with its own unique design on handcrafted ceramic tiles.
We visited a multitude of shops (most of which do not permit photos). At one shop, we were able to visit the workshop and learn about the history of Sicilian ceramics. It was very interesting!
While we were there, we decided to grab lunch before moving on to our next location. Being the planner I am (not), I randomly picked a restaurant (Coria) with good reviews on Google. As we entered through the doors, I noticed a bright red sign by the entrance indicating it was a Michelin Star restaurant. Whoops! We were not dressed for the occasion, nevertheless, we were already there. Of course, the food and drinks were absolutely amazing and we really enjoyed ourselves.
Prior to this trip with Ashley, neither Jordan nor I had ever been to Piazza Armerina before. The main attraction here is Villa Romana del Casale, a fancy Roman villa that dates back to the 4th Century A.D. Villa Romana del Casale has the best preserved Roman mosaics in the world. The villa was the property of a powerful Roman family and is quite expansive (either a senator or as part of an “imperial function” of the emperor [Maximian] himself).
We spent some time walking the grounds and pretending to be back in Roman times for a moment.
Jordan and I have been to Enna many times before and you just CAN’T beat the views. Enna is one of Sicily’s classic “hilltop towns” and is located in the center-ish of the island. Thus, it doesn’t see many tourists (unless it’s Easter).
Our plan was to visit Castello di Lombardia,followed by Rocca di Cerere. Unfortunately, the castle closed early that day, so we just visited the super majestic overlook featured in the photos below. Since it was also cold and extremely windy, we only visited Enna Cathedral before heading back home.