About Erica F
Lives in Rome, Italy
Since Sep 2007
I am a travel and food writer based in Rome. For the past ten years, I have traveled up and down the Italian peninsula in search of great street art and even better food. I've traveled on my own, with my dog, with friends, with a boyfriend, and with a baby who is now a crazy six-year-old. Each time I see Italy differently. I keep returning to Sicily-- can't get enough of that island!
Geologic Formations, Volcanoes, Mountains
Ancient Ruins, Sacred & Religious Sites
Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites
Gift & Speciality Shops
Nicolosi is a quiet town at the base of Mount Etna, and a great base for a day of exploring. It is tiny and friendly, with excellent restaurants and cafes.
Etna is Europe's largest active volcano and is in a constant state of flux. Hiking along its peaks (or visiting via luxury SUV) is an excellent way to get a feel for southern Sicily and just enjoy a few moments of relaxation. This is an all-day affair, so plan to come in the morning, and bring layers and extra endurance with you!
This is a great local spot for a much-needed evening chow-down. Its traditional Sicilian menu features plenty of seasonal surprises, like trofie ai porcini and panzotti alle noci. Plus, keep your eyes open for the caponata, a deepfried, chopped eggplant salad. Each town makes its own version and Nicolosi's is divine.
An amazing example of Greater Grecian art and architecture, national monument and UNESCO Heritage Site, the Valley of the Temples is the ultimate Sicilian must-see.
Head to Siracusa for more Greek civilization. Siracusa's Greek Theatre is a great site to walk through for its spectacular size, amazing setting and the fact that it is still in use as a theatre. It is part of a larger archaeological park complex which includes a Roman arena and a quarry known as Caravaggio's ear.
Legend has it that Fonte Aretusa is where nymph Arthusa was turned into a stream by Artemis in order to help her escape from her over-excited suitor, Alphaeus. This ancient spring water site still exists, and runs under Ortigia, the small island off of Siracusa.
Clandestino is a local enoteca with a waitstaff that knows everything about the huge variety of beer and wine offered on its voluminous list. Sicilian wines are, of course, by far in favor, and Clandestino also has excellent, locally sourced fish on the menu, plus makes its own granita (Italian ice).
South-eastern Sicily is the home of Sicilian Baroque architecture, meaning beautiful curves and a propensity for decorative elements. Starting off with a walk around Ragusa, you'll soon get a feel for the wealth of the 17th century Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Michelin-starred Duomo was the first restaurant in Sicily to be awarded a Michelin star, and keeps rising. It is not pretentious, but rather faithful to the Sicilian vibe, even with its creative haute cuisine.
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is Modica's historic chocolate and pastry shop. In the 16th century, chocolate (invented by the Aztecs from Mexico's Oaxaca region) was first brought to Europe, and its recipe perfected in Modica. In 1880, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto was founded, and the owners began making chocolate using the very same method: Heated, ground cocoa seeds, granulated sugar, and ingredients like salt, cinnamon and vanilla.
Quiet Noto is part of the south-eastern Sicily trifecta Ragusa-Modica-Noto. Another amazing example of Sicilian Baroque architecture, Noto looks like something out of a fairytale and is a great place for an afternoon walk.