Sicily, Battipaglia and Salerno. Three destinations located in southern Italy, which I have spent the vast majority of my summer at respectively.
My family and I opted for Sicily for our annual summer holiday as we adore Italy; the culture, food, weather and wine and we hadn’t actually ever been before. We flew into Catania and then traveled further south to Avola. Our choice of the south-east side of the island was purely due to it’s near location in relation to Mount Etna, something my brother was very keen to explore. Whilst we were there the temperatures were quite high, if my memory serves me correctly it ranged from between 30-38 Degrees Celsius throughout the duration of our two week stay. Due to the heat, we spent our days glued to our deck chairs (Mum and I more so than the boys, but that’s by the by) and our evenings exploring little villages, towns and small cities for our evening meals.
Among those that we visited were; Noto, Ortygia, Ragusa and Marzamemi. Marzamemi, a small fisherman’s village was our agreed favourite evening destination. This was due to it’s colourful character, little street market stools and a particular restaurant we discovered, which after craving some sort of protein (instead of constant carbs) was a dream come true. The restaurant is called Il Borgo and serves the most divine burgers. Having been to Italy a few times previously I knew how difficult it had been to find somewhere which actually served burgers, let alone served gorgeous tasting ones. In addition to this, the bread which is almost always served right at the beginning of the meal in Italy was the best we tasted during our stay. As we arrived a local baker came and delivered the bread, which was almost instantly served to us warm, with olive oil and Himalayan sea salt. Simply divine!
Although agreeably we did spend most of our time lounging around and stuffing our faces, we visited Mount Etna and one of Sicily’s many national parks, La Riserva naturale orientata Oasi Faunistica di Vendicari (just a little bit of a mouth full) in addition to our evening excursions. We decided to explore Mount Etna via a Land rover, which we were all extremely appreciative of due to the heat. In our explorations we were told about how the lava and volcanic rocks had formed, including discussing the differing types internationally. In addition to this we also tasted local produce from Mount Etna including honey, oils and pesto. We were unfortunately not allowed to venture any further than 1,900m, due to the high amount of water vapor which was being expelled (apparently were expecting another eruption very soon).
A mere week after arriving home from Sicilia, I set off again for Italy. This time to Battipaglia with one of my university girlfriends, Lucy Hurwood. Battipaglia is a small city located in the south west of Italy, littered with locals rather than tourists. Lucy and I headed here in order to visit some of my family. We stayed together in the heart of Battipaglia, spending most of our days at Lido Samoa with my family attempting to top up.. or in Lucy’s case get a tan! On a couple of days during our week long stay however, we did venture to Salerno and the Amalfi coast, each for a day. We popped to Salerno one day as we had seen rain was forecast (which the Italians were seemingly overjoyed about since it hadn’t rained there for months) and to explore what would soon be my new home town for a couple of weeks. Lucy had also never been to the Amalfi coast, so we packed up our beach bags and headed there for a change of scenery. We spent most of our evenings either in a café/bar in Battipaglia called Dolce Vita or with my family in Eboli or even Battipaglia too. Our week was soon over, before it had seemed it’d even begun and I found myself tearful at the prospect of my personal translator (a.k.a Lucy) returning home without me.
Something which I did find interesting though, if you ever do find yourself in Battipaglia is that the locals do not seem to be great active participants in sport. Thus, if you do find yourself running around be prepared for some very strange looks… or even if you’re lucky like me, some coaching advice.
Once Lucy had departed for the airport, I headed to Salerno which is only roughly a thirty minute train journey from Battipaglia. I have currently been here for two weeks, with only one more week remaining. I decided to stay in Salerno on my own to partake in an Italian course and hopefully advance my learning further at Accademia Italiana. I opted for a three week intensive course, consisting of morning lessons and an afternoon private lesson everyday. Here, I have already met some amazing people, of whom I hope to remain in contact with for a long time to come. I’ll soon post something else on my time spent here and my experiences.
If you’d like to know my personal opinion or experience of any of the places I’ve mentioned please just leave a comment below. KW