The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure part II
ALCAMO – ERICE – MARSALA – VAL DI MAZARA
Proceeding west from Palermo, you’ll reach the Alcamo D.O.C. trail, which includes Erice D.O.C. as well as the world-renowned Marsala (Lands of the West and Val di Mazara). Meals enjoyed along the Sicilian west coast, whether procured in one of the area’s award winning slow food establishments, a local trattoria, or, better yet. a welcoming Sicilian home, will undoubtedly allow you the opportunity to experience the famous “Nocellara del Belice” and “Biancolilla” extra virgin olive oils.
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TRAPANI and AEGADIAN ISLANDS, MAZARA DEL VALLO
A bit tangential to this road, but not too far out of the way, beyond the town of Castellammare Del Golfo, and after enjoying some fabulous hot “cassatelle di ricotta“, a local specialty (one is never enough), you arrive at San Vito Lo Capo, voted the world’s most beautiful beach of 2012, by users of Tripadvisor.com. Each year, San Vito Lo Capo celebrates the Couscous Fest, the international festival of this ancient dish that also represents an important appointment for the cultural integration, involving chefs and musicians from all parts of the euro-Mediterranean area and beyond in it’s festive celebration of historical foods and local wines. The next edition of the event is to be held in San Vito Lo Capo between the 24th and 29th of September 2013.
The area of Trapani is the most extensive contiguous vineyard territory in Italy, and truly an area to savor mile by mile, from the beautiful medieval city of Erice (do not forget to taste the their special and authentic marzipan), to the salt marshes (first developed by the Phoenicians) of
Trapani, the Museum of Salt, and the antique windmills and wild bird population of the area. Mothia Island (with its famous “Young Auriga”,or best know as the“Mozia Charioteer,” the only remaining clothed Greek statue, attributed to the famous sculptor, Fidia) faces Trapani from its position in the Stagnone Lagoon. Marsala, with its eponymous wine, picturesque lungomare (coastline promenade) and unique specimen, the “Punic Ship” (la Nave Punica) of Museum Baglio Anselmi, is a “must”.
If have additional time to spend in the area, we highly suggest a visit to the Aegadian Islands, a small archipelago where fishing and the cultivation of wines and grains take center stage.
Moving toward the southwest direction toward the peaceful coastal city of Mazara del Vallo, one arrives at the home of Europe’s largest fishing fleet as well as the Dancing Satyr of Mazara, a Roman sculpture fished out of the Mediterranean Sea and recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of New York.
Last but not least, in the same area, the unique modern city of Gibellina Nuova, conceived in 1968 after the terrible earthquake that struck the Belice Valley on the night of January 15, 1968 and affected 10 townships.
Gibellina Nuova: from natural disaster to the “Dream in Progress” and a ruthless fate
Senator Ludovico Corrao, then-Mayor of Gibellina, at the wanted to keep the tight knit community together and set out to build a new town 20 km away at Salinella on a plane in the Belice Valley. The plan for Gibellina Nuova was complete with freeway and railway access. Prestigious city planners, architects and top international artists were called in to contribute to the “Dream in Progress”. They created a town with wide streets, single two-story dwellings surrounded by gardens, piazzas, public gardens, and buildings of postmodern architecture. Modern sculptures, adorn every piazza and road junction, were gifted by artists. Their generous contributions filled a Modern Art Museum befitting a metropolis. Unfortunately, the so-called “living museum” has been nearly abandoned by the authorities for lack of proper funding. The willingness of local employees to keep it running and available to the international community of artists, art scholars and historians who travel thousands of miles around the world to visit is testament to just how precious it is Alberto Burri’s Cretto: the largest sculpture in the world.
MORE ABOUT GIBELLINA >>> www.Gibellina.Siciliana.it
Prominent artist Alberto Burri traveled to Gibellina, Sicily from his native Umbria at the invitation of Ludovico Corrao, and this visit culminated in a most incredible sculpture. Burri, who worked as a medic during WWII and was eventually captured and held in USA, became an artist during his imprisonment. His signature methods of incorporating non-traditional materials such as wood and plastics in his sculptures and paintings, as well as his “cracked” style, laid the foundation for what was to become his most well-known creation: The Cretto of Old Gibellina spreads over 29 acres and covers the ruins of the abandoned city with a smooth white concrete, turning an area of devastation into a new and unique work of topographic land art, believed to be the largest sculpture in the world. (Thank you to Dr. Judy Rozner for her expert contribution on Alberto Burri’s Cretto).
The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure
by Salvatore Cottone New York, July 2013
CottoneTranslation and editing by www.OnpointTranslation
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