The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure part I
by Salvatore Cottone aka Sotiris Vanvakys
edited by www.OnpointTranslation.com
There are 12 Wine Trails of Sicily, and most have names related to local D.O.C. wines (see the related map).
Between toasts (Salute!) these extraordinary paths will lead you to the discovery of a land blessed by the sun, the gods, and the ancient Trinacria: a civilization with more than three thousand years of history. According to Greek legend, Dionysius himself, the god of spirits, brought the young roots from the Magna Greciae to this fertile soil, created with the intention of growing excellent produce and, above all, the “divine nectar“.
PALERMO, CONTESSA ENTELLINA, MONREALE
We present these trails starting from the county of Palermo and follow the road to Monreale D.O.C., with more than 16,000 hectares of vineyards, of which Cataratto is certainly the king. The D.O.C. wines from these hills pertain to the counties of Sclafani, Contessa Entellina and Monreale, a name that brings to mind the beautiful Norman town with its famous cathedral-considered a virtual wonder of the world for the rich assortment of golden Byzantine mosaics that gild the cathedral’s interior. Curiously, the Cattedrale di Monreale contains the first holy image dedicated to Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket, commissioned by his friend, Margaret of Navarre, wife of William I and mother of William II King of Sicily. She is buried in magnificent marble sarcophagus along with her two sons, Roger and Henry, together with an urn containing the viscera of Saint Louis of France, who died in 1270.
Construction of the church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, was begun in 1174 by William II and was officially promoted to the designation of Cathedral in 1182. A distinct combination of three architectural styles- Norman French, Byzantine and Arab- the impressive and painstakingly detailed interior is a sight to behold. Be sure
visit the cloister of the abbey, an outdoor marvel of Norman and Romanesque styles consisting of a perfect square of ornately carved arches in stone and limestone, depicting all manner of mythical, legendary and historical icons, including biblical figures, Norman knights and Arab warriors. The famous Arab Fountain in the southwest corner of the courtyard is exquisite.
The territory within Monreale is vast. It is, in fact, the largest geographical province in all of Italy and incorporates the following municipalities:
Piana degli Albanesi to the north, arguably the home of the most famous cannoli, throughout Corleone and its forestal district of Ficuzza, and extending south to Prizzi, one of the capitals of Sicilian cheese, such as “pecorino cannestrato” and “caciocavallo”.
The Wine Trails of Sicily Through Culture and the Arts of Pleasure
by Salvatore Cottone New York, July 2013 Translation and editing by www.OnpointTranslation