My Sicily and Arianna Occhipinti

For many years I wanted to visit Sicily and finally made it happen this August.
That island always seemed a bit mysterious with interesting volcanic wines.
There are two main airports – one in Palermo, another in Catania.

A week in Catania (second largest city after Palermo) showed the east coast of Sicily how beautiful, busy, filthy, hot city it can be.
Downtown is listed in World Heritage Sites along with city Noto.

What to visit:

Fishmarket

It’s next to centre – Piazza del Duomo! Don’t go there with your new white trainers or heels! Slippers which you can wash later at your airbnb will do just fine.
Amazing fish heaven!!! If your place where are you staying has a kitchen is a perfect place to stock up seafood. Good advise: go around, ask prices and BARG! You have no idea how high ‘tourist prices’ can be.

Alternative nightlife:

Macondo

Remotely located ‘Wine and Book Cafe’ in East Catania. I guess one of the coolest places to visit. Opens every night 10 pm until early morning hours. Pictures talk more:

Where to eat:

Razmataz

Middle of Cataniaś city centre, Via Montesano. One of the most popular wine places in town.
Fantastic selection of wines, especially by the glass!

Highlights of east coast of Sicily:

Taormina

A bit further north from Catania, about an hour drive by train. Tourist destination! Ancient small town up in the hills, ca 200-300 m above sea level. Also famous for its beaches on coast of Ionian Sea, including the famous Isola Bella.

It’s a small island very close to the coast. Has interesting linking to UK. Until 1990 it was owned by Florence Trevelyan (Baronet descendant lady born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK). She was English gardener and a pioneering conservationist. Around 1870 she moved to Sicily, acquired Isola Bella and never returned back to the UK.

Anywhere in Italy aswell in Catania one can find many hemp stores .. it’s ”light cannabis” Law 242/16 allows to plants cannabis seeds with levels of THC below 0,2%.

Best inspiring & aspiring lady in Sicily:

Arianna Occhipinti of Azienda Occhipinti

Arianna Occhipinti’s winery is located in the southern part of Sicily, Vittoria. She is considered one of the most upcoming and leading figures a among new generation of winemakers. Arianna is 36-year-old winemaker/owner.
Her 1st vintage was in 2006 (ha! a year I graduated my high school). She is the niece of Giusto Occhipinti – well established known creator of COS Winery.

Her true calling began when she was 16-year-old and was asked to help her uncle at Vinitaly. Over the years, she has progressively expanded the estate by replanting 10 hectares of the regions indigenous Frappato and Nero d’Avola in selection massale. A few years later, she was able to start renting 50-year-old Frappato and 45-year-old Nero d’Avola vines, both independently bottled as single varietal / vineyard cuvées. In 2012, an additional 7 hectares of 19-year-old vines were acquired, which for the time being will be used to produce more SP-68.

In 2014 she built new cellar facilities / connected with the house she actually lives. Very cool and stylish, nothing extravagant.

I am genuinely delighted and honoured finally to meet her. What made it more special, was the fact I met her at her home …
Not lot of people (regardless of sex) shake hands properly, but she did. I will remember that strong ‘vine’ working handshake for the rest of my life!

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