The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure part V

trinacria bella how sicily was born


 The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure  part V



Etna_DOC_TerritoryMessina DOClogo_faro










To complete our tour through “Culture and Arts of Pleasure” of Sicily , drive from south-east toward the “Mongibeddu ”, in Sicilian, the Beautiful Mountain,  entering the Etna DOC Wine Route ,which extends along the entire the foot of the the biggest active volcano of Europe.

Etna in Spingtime copy



The World Heritage Committee has inscribed Mount Etna natural sites from Sicily on the World Heritage List (Jun 21, 2013)

Mount Etna (SICILY)

This year 2013  the Etna Park  has been included by UNESCO among its Patrimony : In addition to wine, and food delicatessen,  the beauty of an unspoiled corner of nature really.

  • 19,237 uninhabited hectares on the highest part of Mount Etna
  • Mount Etna is the most active stratovolcano in the world
  •  The eruptive history of the volcano can be traced back 500,000 years
  • 2,700 years of this activity has been documented
  • Etna supports important terrestrial ecosystems including endemic flora and fauna
  • Its activity makes it a natural laboratory for the study of ecological and biological processes.  see also


Funghi di Ferla - togliere data

Bronte Castle  garden copyPistacchio di Bronte by Vanvakys copytagliatelle al pistacchio di Bronte by VRC 








Vineyard Etna _2 copy 2With its particular climate, and microclimates has a very fertile soil  lava for unique varieties such as Carricante, indigenous white grape , Nerello Mascalese, according to Homer  “Ulysses’s wine”, Nerello Cappuccio/Mantellato and Minnella, all grapes variety part of the Etna Rosso DOC . 




Sant'Alfio Etna CT  The church photo by Valeria Casale copyWe suggest to go up and visit  Sant’Alfio, the little village with it’s lava church, and all take a walk around the chestnut forest, home of  the oldest tree in Europe (3000 years). Many vineyards around this huge area, including Passopisciaro.






CASTIGLIONE Castello di Lauria foto di httpradiostereosantagata.blogspot.itEtna  the tree of the hundrend knights1 copyPalmento pressa small_2jpg Bronte Castle copy X Web









 The Castle of Castiglione di Sicilia, and proceeding toward north-east go directly to  ”Bronte” The city of pistachios” is a must: along with hundreds of dishes based on this delicious fruit, you can also visit the Norman Church, incorporated inside the Bronte’s Castle and the beautiful Simeto Valley and the  Nebrodi Park.


  From the sharp volcanic land with gentle slopes of the Aeolian Islands to finish the wine tour with the wine route in the province of Messina, from the city of the strait to the seven sisters of the Mediterranean. The DOC of the Faro and  Mamertino, cultivated along the hills of the “Nebrodi Mountains“, accompany offshore until the unmistakable taste of Malvasia Delle Lipari off the north-east coast, the seven Aeolian Islands  friendly and passionate just like Sicily.



Ulysses and Polifemo mosaic copy 2


 “The wine that came forth was strong and generous, and took well to transport, as compared to much of the must that came from other provinces“, a fact well-known to Odysseus (referred to as Ulysses in Latin).

Ulysses, the principal protagonist of Homer’s Odyssey (book IX), disembarks at Sicily, where his hunger for knowledge, and food, leads him and his companions to battle with Polyphemus. According to Greek and Roman mythology, Polyphemus was a cyclopes: a giant man with just one eye. The cyclopes were blacksmiths, and helpers of “Efesto” or Vulcan, who most likely lived in widely dispersed caves in the vicinity of Etna Volcano (Mount Etna has been enlisted as World Heritage Site (July 2013) comprises the most strictly protected and scientifically important area of Mount Etna, and forms part of theParco dell’Etna” The Regional Nature Park).

Etna in Spingtime copy Ulysses and his men, weary from their journey at sea, came upon this territory and took refuge in one of the caves, where they feasted on all the food they could find, and rested until the monster, and cannibal, Polyphemus, returns home.Upon discovering the trespassers, Polyphemus imprisons them in the cave, making no secret of his plan to eat them for dinner.


ner_masUlysses knew that the terrible monster would not be beaten by force, but by wit.Ulysses sent his men to collect the grapes of a most potent wine, probably Nerello Mascalese, a native grape which grows plentifully in those parts, and convinced Polyphemus to drink their juice, offering him the nectar of the gods, that is, wine.Polyphemus, unknowing of the consequence, drank as much of the delicious nectar as they could extract. He adored this new-found pleasure, and, between mouthfuls of bread and cheese, he gulped the wine until he was quite intoxicated, and feel asleep without securing his prisoners.





Andrea BacciIn 1500, an abstract on wines attributed to a certain Andrea Bacci, (Sant’Elpidio a Mare, 1524 – Rome, October 1600)  De Naturali Vinorum Historia, was written.Largely dedicated to Sicilian wines, the writing refers to I rossi dell’Etna (The Reds of Etna) and the wines of Val di Noto as being of high quality.



Enta by Vanvakys

On the wines 0f  the  PalermoCammarata and Agrigento regions, he wrote: “ Cammarata the vines grow prolifically, and as tall as men, so rich in grapes that ten plants are enough to render a bottle of must… The red wine is very strong, rich in fragrance and flavor, it is optimal for long-term
preservation…The great wines of “Mongibello” (Etna) are good due to the natural warmth that springs from below ground… (while) the wines of Palermo are clear and light…”

Antico palmento _2


Even Pope Paul IV, during the XI century loved Sicilian wines, and was known to recommend Bianco d’Alcamo most of all.





K43692CARAVAG 1 Michelangelo Merisi or Amerighi da Caravaggio  or simply the Caravaggio, is in exile in Sicily, around 1608 : he’s one of my favorite painter of all time!… “Caravaggio’s novelty was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of “chiaroscuro” like a black and white photographer…Caravaggio made his way to Sicily where he met his old friend Mario Minniti, who was now married and living in Syracuse. Together they set off on what amounted to a triumphal tour from Syracuse to Messina and, maybe, on to the island capital, Palermo. In Syracuse and Messina, Caravaggio continued to win prestigious and well-paid commissions. Among other works from this period are Burial of St. Lucy, The Raising of Lazarus, and Adoration of the Shepherds. His style continued to evolve, showing now friezes of figures isolated against vast empty backgrounds. “His great Sicilian altarpieces isolate their shadowy, pitifully poor figures in vast areas of darkness; they suggest the desperate fears and frailty of man, and at the same time convey, with a new yet desolate tenderness, the beauty of humility and of the meek, who shall inherit the earth.





vino bianco Alcamo edited Sicilian wines became so famous that they made for extremely profitable commerce for the VenetiansGenovesePisansFlorentines, and Jews. It was the beginning of a cultural period that lasted until “modern” times. The “cultural backlog” in Sicily, particularly among the agricultural sector, had kept the society attached to a somewhat feudal system, whereas the rest of Italy, and most of Europe, had developed into Republics and municipalities.





araldo medievale Caccamo  copy smallAs a consequence, Sicilian wine was commercialized by and for foreigners, therefore even nowadays used mostly as an additive for French, Spanish, and Northern Italian wines, leaving a legacy of wine culture limited merely to a handful of passionate barons, counts, and local croppers.
The business of wine did not adhere to many standards of quality at that time. Negligence, ignorance, and apathy accompanied Sicilian wine toward oblivion and mediocrity, with respect to other aspects of culture that were considered more important.





The-Merchant-of-VeniceIn fact, the business of Sicilian wine and produce in the North was managed almost entirely by those from Lombardy, a traffic pattern which led to the formation of La Maestranza dei Tavernieri or “The Majesty of the Public House Keepers”, in 1545.







Etna vineyard _1 copy x webBecause of this one can speak of the various cultures of wine from the deep roots that are expressed today, above all else, in those who interpret, through their culture, their knowledge of grapes and their transformation.“In an era where the value of wine is strictly attached to its added value – according to Attilio Scienza of the University of Milano -


Piazza Armerina mosaics copySicily entrusts its hope to individual companies, to their men, helped in this, paradoxically, by the success of the wines of the New World (America and Australia)… However, it is not only the climactic landscape, but also the cultural and mental ones, which shape diversity. There is no other vineyard in Italy where one recognizes the man behind the wine as in Sicily.”




Etna in Springtime copy by VanvakysAlso here a short  excerpt by Eric Asimov,the wine expert of the “New York Times” on Sicilian Wines: “…Now Sicily is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world. That goes particularly for the reds, which are not heavy at all but fresh and lively. Whites, too, are emerging, especially those made from the savory carricante grape on Mount Etna.and  more..



Antico palmento _2by VanvakysWhat accounts for this explosion? Partly, it’s a result of a new, energetic generation of wine producers who embraced the island’s indigenous grapes at a time when many regions were looking past their heritages to capitalize on the world’s taste for international grapes like chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. As a result, Sicily’s new-wave wines immediately stood out as distinctive cultural emblems...Perhaps equally important has been a slight shift in taste in the United States, the proverbial pendulum swing, from heavy wines of power to lighter wines of greater finesse. In many ways this played to the strength of these Sicilian producers, who specialized in agile reds with invigorating acidity, particularly those producers around Mount Etna on the eastern part of the island and those around the town of Vittoria to the southeast.”




“The future of Sicilian wine must, therefore, depend upon modern communication that succeeds in profoundly encouraging the true appreciation for its myriad flavors and fragrances”The future is here today, and so we invite all of you who love Sicily, Sicilian wine, and its products, to participate in our project here on the internet – the most modern and efficient vehicle for global communication that exists.The cultural phase must be accompanied by the tasting of wine and other typical Sicilian products until all of the senses participate in the complete experience. To this end, we invite you, with much pleasure, to take part in our events. For the latest information on the subject, as well as the technical characteristics of Sicilian wines, please allow us to direct you to the title, See also OUR MISSION

English translation and Language Consulting : ON POINT TRANSLATION, LLC (except for THE FLORIO FAMILY)
Graphics and Web-design: AKSHU PURI (India), CARMEN MOLINELLI (Sicily) SALVATORE COTTONE (USA)

Web Programming: Akshu Puri (India)
First picture painted by: FRANCESCA OBERBECK,

Photos by VALERIA R. CASALE and 


stock-photo-copyright-symbol-as-a-wax-seal-80699464“Sicily Wine Stories and Legend from the Kitchen to the Cellar” by Salvatore Cottone is registered and copyrighted. December 5th 2006. see  COPYRIGHT OFFICE 



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